The Masters, The Knuckle Ball and Writing It Down and Out

The last few days have been filled with marvelous metaphors. But then I love most metaphors. They help me see, really see what is unfolding and stirring around me in the days of breathing in and out. And after the metaphor has come and gone, I am left to  linger longer. I wrestle with thought. For I am a processor and  a bone-picker of words. I savor the salt, eat the marrow and the gristle. Hoping to find a  nutrient fiber for my soul. Pulling it off the bone piece by piece. Picking it clean.

I jumped on my bike yesterday. Took a fast ride and then a slow one on my turquoise and yellow cruiser. The child in me was peddling down the streets of this fishing village. My hair blew crazy as I rode through the puddles and dodged one or two cars. The town is small, the traffic barely exists. When you ride a bike on a cool spring day your mind gathers speed like a train leaving a small town. The all clear is given and suddenly you pick up some steam.

I caught a thought like I caught that purple wisteria fragrance, sweet and strong. Writers write the past to help with healing. And they write the now to process living. Before I picked up the pen, I was a volcano left for inactive. No one saw it coming. Least of all me. Until the words came, erupted even. And they were hot, flowing, and alive.

After I parked the bike I felt the wind and the blood. My heart beat faster. There was enough fresh air in my body to infuse a soul with green spring life. It was Sunday and that’s a good day for recounting a week and picking it apart. Checking back on the highs and lows like the game we played at dinner with our kids. We aren’t that original. The idea came from a movie about a marriage in crisis. We have been there too. We like the game and it works well to help five souls process a life.

Last week a woman I admire served me up some words that I digested for days. They tasted like the  bittersweet variety. And though I don’t know caster oil personally on my tongue, I know it’s good for you. It is good for you but tastes like the devil. And her words were a balm, a healing tonic. I needed to hear the gentle tough served up with a sugar cube chaser. The spoon hit the teeth and the tangy metal tasted pungent, but the truth was in the tonic.

She said, “I want to push you as a writer.” I blinked back hot and felt the investment of a talented writer cool me down. And I sat on this phrase for days.

He has a story that will break your heart in two if you have one. I sat frozen like a slab of red meat from the freezer hanging on his ebb and flow of words. Riding wave on wave of his life story being told, as it waxed and waned, crested and fell. Amazed by his life story. But the knuckle ball part left the biggest mark on my tender places. Bruising me with its strength.

After his struggles in baseball, he needed a game changer. So he upped his game and mastered the knuckle ball. And he has it perfected. No one can touch it or barely catch it. He stuck with his passion, stayed with it and pressed on and forward into the living of his dreams and love of the game. So I am looking for my knuckle ball, inspired by R.A. Dickey .

I want to hold the pen in my hand and release details, descriptions and a style of writing that screams it’s me, it’s me, its no one else. That throw, that grip, that certain way of sending the ball over the plate, its how I want to send my words out into the world.

And if Dickey’s story wasn’t enough to set the pen in my hand on fire, the story of The Masters this year and the sweet victory of an Australian propelled me out of my funk and into the fire.

The story is out there and I don’t need to tell a story that’s not my own, but winning in sports after dry spells and hard work are a perfect storm of inspiration. And so I hold these stories of victory, passion and accomplishment in my soft insides and let them knead the dough of my writing life. Press it, shape it, pound it and roll it out.

And I thank my friend who gave me a few words that could be life changing. She said some more that I am having a hard time chewing on. Sometimes good is hard to swallow. I am humbled by them mightly and I can’t stop chewing on the potential in them.

I want to go hop back on my turquoise bike and ride off into the wet April day and dream of where to go and how to get there. I want to go back to the healing and processing parts of writing. The place where I vowed to see it all, to not miss a speck of dust or dirt in the day. To see so clearly the dots and dashes of the days that I could count the webbing in a spider’s home and taste the tinny metal in a bronze statue.

To pick up details and fine points like scattered laundry across a house full of messy living. It is all to be picked up most of it used. The raw, the real, the rich details of the everyday. The simple, the comlex. The every last piece. Nothing left for dead. It all beats red with living.

And I need to count the folds, count the hairs and count the cost of dulled senses. Of the bland and milk-toast words on a page. I have to pump the crimson blood back into the veins on the page, the lines that thread through my words and give them life.

Thank you my friend. I feel the push. I am off to pedal slow on my turqouise bike with yellow flowers, rusty rims, and a Hershey chocolate brown-leather seat. I have a metal wire basket on the front. Some days it is the seat for my Papillon. And we are two butterflies flitting down the back roads. I am going to pick up life and put it there too. In a notebook.

Thanks for the push. I feel the hands of encouragement on my back. There is muscle on that hand and it is wrapped in tender flesh of love of work, hard,  Authentic. Rich. I feel the pulsing love of words, carried through the veins. There is fire in the belly. There is fire in the words. The knuckle ball is coming over the plate. Duck.



joining Laura at Laura Boggess dot com for her Playdates At The Wellspring, Heather for Just Write and Jennifer for SDG

Horse, of Course


Days 26, 27, 28, 29. This writer’s creative license to catch up on the series. The collective may be found here. Or by clicking the 31 Days 2012 tab at the top of this home page.

Joining Amber and others for her abstract writing on a concrete word. She is here, at
The Run a Muck. Today is HORSE.

It is like a full head on train wreck of the senses.

Down in the deep it lays dormant but when it is given some air, water, fertilizer and freedom it bursts on the scene like a herd of wild horses.

There is power in a word. And we don’t always know how much.

Or we don’t know how much to give it, or allow it. Or release to it.

There is power in words and there is memory there too. You can let it out to graze and give it roaming privileges in the pasture, unharness the power, unleash it.

Let it rip, unbridled.

Loosen the girth. Loosen the grip.

I am young and leaning in the saddle, feeling the first passion of my youth. The challenges there in the ring, on the trail, in the stirrups, over the jumps.

Brushing the back and combing the mane, smelling the hay.

Learning to post and blistering up, bearing the pain on the boney knee, as a dancer on pointe feels it on the toes, and on balls, and in the ballet slipper. The pain of struggle. The passion mixed with pleasure.

The smells mingle in the air and they say that it is  the longest memory or is it the strongest memory. The smells , they linger in the heart.

The smells of childhood and all the senses’ memories, mixed in a toxic remembering of joy and loss. Blended in a batch of story, the narrative of your living. Rooted in early youth. A launching pointing, a jumping off.

The dirt and dust and leather. The blends of animal and barn. The grasses and hays and helmet, black velvet hard a smell like no other with sweat of brow blended in and staying.

We take all the pieces of a life. Don’t we.

And ride off into the grasses greener, grasses leaner and carry them in the saddle with us. The horse that was an elusive dream. The one I never owned. A longing of my childhood. Spending  hours at the barn. Longing for ownership. To name an animal, train it up. Call it mine.

And when my knight in shining armor rode in and swept me up, they came back again, the horses.

And later too, in a mid-stream season of intersecting with the hooved loves of my life.

And even just a few nights ago, they came racing back, trotting back in.

A blaze of happy memory. The wild ponies on the coast of my youth. The stories. A thread between the life of an old salty captain who crossed my path and smiled his toothless grin as he shared with me a co-mingling of memory. Captain Froggy, the Shrimp Boat Captain and I. And the horses.

(Captain Froggy and his guitar)

The wild ponies of the banks were a piece of me and a piece of him.

And these threads that run through a life, they can keep running if you watch carefully.

This thread of memory, the horse, of course.

The earliest memory of passion for getting on the back and being free, happy, brave and scared all together. Of breathing smells and waving manes. Of feeling strong and feeling the hearts beating in tandem, human and horse. Horse and human. Rocking in the leather, galloping through at break neck speed, taking a jump.

The rocking in the saddle, like a baby in the sea of uterine waves. Rocking. Like the baby in the cradle lulled to sleep by the slow pitch to and fro.

The holding on, steering the bit, to the left to the right in the ring and beyond. Guiding in love. And it was always the eyes. The deep piercing orbs that pierce the heart and poke into the soul.

A word can wield a lot of power.

And we take all the parts and pieces and they are living metaphors. Or are they life itself. Following the thread, woven and weaved. Seeing the messy and the missed, the beauty and the treasure. In the all.

And the horse is not through with me yet.

Joining Laura for Play Dates at The Wellspring