Well, it’s been a quiet week-end in my house. If this sounds a bit like the beginning of a Garrison Keillor monologue, perhaps its because I just finished reading his latest Lake Wobegon novel The Lake Wobegon Virus. And reading Garrison’s writing, with its simple storylines and understated humor, always inspires my own writing.
As the leaves sprinkled the still-green lawn, I spent time submitting three short stories, two to one magazine, called Kaleidoscope, and the third to another, called Soul Fountain. I tweaked my query letters, neatened up the manuscripts, and pressed “Send” three times. It’s a good feeling! (Even if I didn’t rake one leaf to the curb.)
It’s the first day of the week or the last day of the weekend depending upon your point of view. Most Sundays, I wake up and think of all the things I didn’t finish in the last six days. Today, it rained in Toledo, a light steady rain, enough to keep the lawn green and the plants in bloom. The sun came out in the afternoon, in a clear blue sky sprinkled with wispy clouds. After church, I made a list. But the list changed and shifted during the day. First, we tore out the floors in most of the house, (to be replaced with tile). Not a difficult job but messy. Next, Sunday dinner: chicken, tater tot casserole, a salad. Then, writing. But that shifted as well. I decided at seven p.m. that writing would have to wait until another day. I will write the stories I have to tell. Yet not today, a pleasant first Sunday in October.
Alone, I’m standing on the banks of a trout stream pre-dawn. Perfect stillness surrounds me. I cross one of numerous footbridges onto an island, waiting and watching the water. A slap and a ripple tells me something is watching me back. On the farm across the road, a rooster calls out its cock-a-doodle-doo to its family. I have never fished for trout, as we were raised fishing in Lake Erie and occasionally the other Great Lakes. I wish I could stay here and observe a fly-fisherman, but my day calls me to other things.
I turn and cross the footbridge, walking up the dewy hill slowly. As I head back into my room, I wait and watch for a moment longer, imagining what it is like to fly-fish. Maybe one day I’ll know. For now, I’ll just savor the pre-dawn memory. https://www.rockwellspringstroutclub.com
So I had a meeting in person, (yes in person), at Sip, a coffee shop near my house. Sip is frequented by those who are natives of West Toledo, those who call the University of Toledo their alma mater (one day and presently), and anyone else who discovers SIP in their travels. I’m not native and not a UT alum, but Toledo has been my home for the past 28 years. I call it home for a lot of reasons; right now it’s a pretty good place to be. There are no natural disasters, the cost of living is low, and it’s a great place to raise kids, as the cliché goes.
My supervisor was giving me my 20 year award for service at work, which in my career (social work) does not make my net worth go up. Suffice it to say, after the meeting, I thought about where I’ve been in life these past 2 decades. A few failed relationships, and finally, a right and good relationship, three kids and two grands, and of course my day career.
And then there’s the writing. Twenty years ago, I barely had time to think about freelancing, although writing fiction has been in the back of my mind since I was twelve. Ten years ago, I started working on a chapter for a book which was published by the UT Press. Three years ago I got serious about freelance fiction, which meant giving up some other activities for the time being, and buckling down and doing the hard work even when other things pulled me away.
Today, I’m feeling pretty good about all of it. Even in the midst of the crazy/wonderful free time world we call the pandemic, I’m feeling good. Here’s to 20 years in 2020.
I’m actually doing this! Being new to this whole blogging thing, of course I’m a bit nervous. My friend Rich who is also a free lance writer blogged for years. Do you think I ever read a single post? Nope, and I should have, being that Rich has read every word of what I’ve sent him by way of critique. Now that I’ve taken my own free lance writing to a new level (writing at least an hour a day, more on weekends, attending a lot of webinars and online events for writers, joining a critique group and submitting, submitting, submitting, and getting more rejections than I’d like to admit), I finally buckled down and began this blog. Starting somewhere feels pretty darn good!