WRITING SHORT: 31/50

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[Come summer heat, much of my blogging momentum melts away. Hence an experiment until Labor Day: fifty minimalist posts about whatever.]

Whenever presented with a question more complicated than what the weather’s like outside or should a friend send back the weird new shoes she’s bought – in other words, something that requires what could be called thinking — I often hedge. That’s because I don’t really know what I think till I see what I say.

I may think I know what I think. But once I begin talking or writing about it, what I thought I think changes. Sometimes the result is simply a more dense and complex version of my instinctive response. At other times, what I see is not so simple to parse.

When I began this series of short takes on “whatever,” not knowing where “whatever” might lead, I anticipated lightness and whimsy – fifty breezy trifles fit for summer days. I’ve just reread the first thirty, one after the other. How dark so many are. Beneath their surface froth, they’re colored by shimmers of loss – lost youth, lost opportunity, lost loved ones, lost life, the slow, relentless approach of death. Even the butterflies of which I was so proud not long ago: they’re both gone now, having lived out their miniscule three-week lifespans, as I knew even then that they would.

I do make conscious efforts to evade such thoughts. Judging by my summer output thus far, it’s been a losing battle.

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16 thoughts on “WRITING SHORT: 31/50

    • Yes John, sooner or later it (the subconscious) always does surface. In these matters, though, there’s no “bad” or “good.” All I meant was that where I thought I was writing mainly one kind of thing, I discovered, as a reader, there was something else there too.

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    • That last line of yours, Gerard, is the best thing anyone’s ever said to me (about my writing). Thank you so much. It does seem, doesn’t it, that even when much else is lost, we can still go on writing about it!

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  1. You should have the thoughts about loss. BE with them. But then BE with other thoughts too; of learnings, achievements, challenges overcome; the lives you’ve created, the lives you’ve changed, and more. Most of us ‘out here’ don’t know you, other than through what you’ve chosen to share through your blog. But even in your posts, it’s clear to see there is much in this vein, to think on.

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    • Ah dear kind Julie! There speaks a fifty-five year old who’s not here yet. I’m not at all depressed. And am certainly not insensible of the vein of thoughts you mention. (Although lives I’ve changed? Really?) But notice, you’ve used the past tense. That’s the bitch about getting old — there’s less and less of the present to savor. At least those of us who are lucky enough to retain our minds and some facility with language can go on (and on and on) writing about it!

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  2. Actually Nina, I think you have made a winning battle. ..the breezy trifles we humans play with are to distract ourselves from the darkness. I applaud you for your honesty and believe that you connect to all your “fans”…the world is a harsh place….and good connections make it tolerable. So I look forward to your next blog eagerly.

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    • It’s true, Van, there’s no escaping them. However, I was surprised, as a reader, to find them still bubbling under the surface of pieces not written as downers. As John (Editor, Retired) remarked: the subconscious will surface, do what you will.

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  3. Nina, thinking about it, your short summer posts were anything but light and breezy. Introspective with an impact. Could be you have more milage with loss, more to say about it. Fleeting thoughts, then forgotten. You wrote about them well! Christine

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    • More mileage with loss? What you say may be true, Christine. Even if I weren’t me, it’s very hard to write about happy. Only one novelist managed to do it with any consistency. I can’t remember her name just now, but her first book was called “Happy All The Time.” (Unfortunately, she died far too young, of cancer. Macabre irony.) Thanks for the kind words.

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  4. I find the second-to-last paragraph beautiful and fascinating–good for you for following the thoughts and for not holding too tightly to the lightness of summer days. I also find myself thinking of the paths not taken and of loss–and trying to make it all make sense.

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    • Thanks so much, Cynthia. Words such as yours from another writer are particularly appreciated. But trying to make sense of paths not taken and of loss? I’m afraid that’s a losing battle.

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