May 9, 2002 spout

For the Love of the Story

It’s only happened a few times in my entire life, but I want it to happen more. It’s that feeling you get when you’re telling a story, trying to describe a scene or a technology or a something and, suddenly, without warning, it starts to tell you. It happened twice in college in a creative writing assignment: one of those times it actually gripped me from the moment I started writing my life story on a 3x5 card (I remember it started I was an accident.” : ). It happened once while writing ATL Internals: Chapter 7, Collections and Enumerations. And it just happened again while finishing up a writer’s journal entry I started yesterday:

Whack-thump-thump. Whack-thump-thump. The sound filled the first floor. Whack-thump-thump. Tom knew he wasnt supposed to play ball in the house. Whack-thump-thump. His father, watching from the kitchen, had laid down that law several times when things had gotten out of hand. Whack-thump-thump. The ball continued hitting his hand, the floor and the door in the never-never land between the kitchen and the front entry. Whack-thump-thump. Tom, at 6, seemed to be using the mesmeric sounds to enter another place, somewhere regular, somewhere safe, somewhere comfortable. He had always been able to enter that place, whether he was playing with action figures, with clay or even with ordinary items like pencils or popsicle sticks, using them in the theater taking place in his head. Whack-thump-thump. Whack-thump-thump. His father was a much more literal thinker. He was creative, but creative in an engineering/problem-solving way and he envied his sons ability to enter this world seemingly effortlessly, never getting bored when the ordinary world around him failed to offer what was safe and regular and comfortable. Whack-thump-thump. Whack-thump-thump.

I started writing this to describe what my son Tom was doing yesterday morning just before school and it turned into a look into how much I loved and admired my 6-year-old son. He’s so much different than me, but just like his mother and looking at him makes me realize just how much I love my wife. That’s what writing is supposed to do. It’s supposed to help you reach into your self and share what you’ve got with others. That’s what this blog is all about and I appreciate you being here to listen.