Got your everyday philosophy?
As you may recall, Free Fall writing is when we get a prompt and then we write real fast until the timer goes off. Then we read aloud.
Today’s four pieces, from May-June 2017, make me think of my parents:
-they worked too hard, and saw no movies: not at the cinema, not at home on TV
-they didn’t have any tenacity, a lack in them I only perceive now, looking back
-their Puritan binary black and white thinking probably did them more harm than good
-Like Oliver Wendall Holmes, they did indeed take part in a great issue of their day
prompt- unchained melody
You had to be careful, back on the farm. Singing in church was OK, or singing in the fields, but not in the house or the barns. No, because Matron would scream at us. Why? Because it’s obvious: If we had time to sing then we could be using our time off in the fields weeding or stripping younger-berry. Obvious. And if it was near Planet-fall day, well, look out!
Years later, in the big city factories, I always knew better than to sing or smile when The Man was about. No, the best workers were chained workers, with no more freedom than the union and the tribunes allowed them. Chains are good for economy! OK, nobody said that explicitly, but that’s what they meant. I knew full well, because I knew the farm where all our melodies were chained.
And what of when the farmers retired? Now, at last, would they learn to find meaning in daytime soap operas, an afternoon at the cinema, an evening out to the opera? Nope. The opera glasses gathered dust, along with all the other hopes and glimmers of a glamorous life. Chain it all down; life is real, life is earnest, the devil finds work for idle hands. Yes, but if you can’t even enjoy going to church bingo games with the others, if all games are meaningless, then what? Nature shows? No. Nature walks? No. Not when the chains are set in iron on stone, covered in dust, without any slack allowed.
At night, when I am out of beer, and so all I can do is rock on my veranda in the dark with my briar smoke, that is when I strain my ears. Do I hear an unchained melody? At long, long last? It’s getting darker.
I have a tentacle, it wraps around present time because I don’t want to let go.
I value my tenacity here, in my late of time, because it is of valuable scarcity.
Now I speak with tact, for everyone else is on the same short road.
I look at the world with soft tendrils, trying to take it all in, while I can.
Tender is the day, when I tread tenderly. Let my have all that I have, let me have this moment, now, today.
prompt- any two letters
If Baden-Powell can put his name into Be Prepared, then what could I put Sean Crawford into? Self confidence? Too corny. Self compassion? Better. When I was of the age to be in Boy Scouts, the world was black and white. Hence I would be strict with myself. Not now. Now I have compassion for a world of mixed emotions, mixed reasonings and motivations, mixed results. Of course I want to de-clutter, and I want to go outside. I want to work hard, and I want to drag my heels. After all, who but a chump ever feels energized after cleaning? I just feel down from all the wasted time when I could have been writing. Or else I feel both feelings at once, and that’s OK. Instead of being strict and down, I can be self compassionate. It’s OK. I am fine. Both good and bad. Like all the rest of us normal neurotics.
prompt- lost in two countries
Shall I describe the Pyrenees in words to make you wish you were there? Or among the cultures and quaint natives there? I could. Just like in May when I can make people wish they were part of the world series, or in early summer, when I could write so as to make Canadians wish they were part of the Stanley cup.
Up in the Pyrenees you have snow into summer. Snow that may have been there when the Moors crossed over into France to be smashed by Charles the Hammer, better known as Charlemagne. Snow crossed by gruff sullen smugglers. No, I don’t wish I was there. Not with the wind blowing over barren rocks, a screaming wind, a nice change from the screams of people I left behind. You don’t want to be crossing there in the year of our lord nineteen hundred and— never mind. I could have simply stopped, eked out a living in a rude cabin, subsisting on my small amount of gold, eating bread and cheese until the war was over. I could. But the price would be too high.
My countryman, Oliver Wendall Holmes, who served in the civil war, said that every man must take part in the issues of his age, on pain of—never mind. So I did take part. I lived. I still have both eyes. Now I like to sleep a lot and listen to young people’s songs. I especially like the one about Daniel. I won’t fly again. I won’t risk thrombosis. And besides, I have already seen enough. I have been seeing things again in my dreams. So strange, I thought it was all behind me.
Tomorrow Clara will visit with Donna. I might tell them about the time I was lost in two countries, then on mountains in between, resting in fear, and then how I found myself again. At my age, I can admit to fear. God bless America.
Summers of 2017, 2018
Free Fall writing doesn’t have to be “good.” Good we can do at home: It just has to be “done.” (as a fun exercise) I have been chairing the Free Fall Friday meetings, from 10 to noon, at an old sandstone school, called c-Space, in Marda Loop.
Because I vary the timer, the length of the writing varies. People like it when the first ones are shorter, to get us warmed up. For keeping our momentum, each prompt is drawn from a bowl.
We meet as members of the Alexandra Writers Centre Society. Named after the princess from so long ago. If you are passing through town, or if you live here, come join us as a guest; everyone has a good time.