Friday, August 04, 2006

Heat

It's hot outside, the kind of heat that makes you dream of snow drifts and frost on the windowpanes. The kind of heat that makes you afraid to leave the house for fear of melting, disappearing. The kind of heat that makes it too hot to move, to do anything except wait for it to pass.

A few days ago, I decided to brave it, to go out into the world. I went downtown, where it was hottest, and set about getting lost. I walked around for hours, taking pictures and watching the tourists spend their money. I eavesdropped on their conversations, listened to them complain about the heat, the streets, the distance from here to there. It's really not so far, I wanted to say, not if you know the way.

In the park, I watched a man feeding the ducks, calling to them as if they would answer. I took pictures of oak trees, their branches bent to the ground from the weight. I walked past all the old houses, the ones that had survived war, storms, and worse, getting drunk off the scent of fresh-cut grass. I could smell the sweet scent of the horses as they trundled past, a heavy mix of sweat and fresh hay. I came across some kids playing in a fountain and I wanted to run and jump in with them but I didn't. Too old for that, I thought, and now I wonder what was stopping me. What else I'm getting too old for.

I walked the length of the city, end to end, seeking out those places I'd never noticed before. I felt the soles of my shoes sticking to the pavement, each step more effort than the last, but I kept going. At the end of every street, there was another, and another, and I wanted to walk them all. On the sidewalk, I found a revelation scribbled into the cement. All you need is love. Yes, I thought. This is all.

I walked back to the car, red-faced and sweaty, dizzied from the journey. I drove home with the windows rolled down, the breeze whipping my hair up off my shoulders. When I told a friend what I'd done, they couldn't believe it. Don't you know how hot it is? This weather isn't made for walking around like that.

She was right. This weather is made for stretching out in the sand, watching the motion of the waves as they break against the shore. It's made for lying in bed at two in the afternoon in just your underwear while the air conditioner rattles in the window. It's made for eating ice cream on the back porch at sunset. For running through the sprinklers. For flip-flops and glasses of iced tea and afternoon thunderstorms. And most of all, for love. All you need is love.

39 Comments:

Blogger Scott said...

But how would you have known that unless you went out for that walk? Everything for a reason, right? Consider it a writers journey, the road less travelled.

8/04/2006 7:30 AM  
Blogger Justin Evans said...

Friends are funny that way. They will let you do anything you want, and then after the fact, will tell you it shouldn't have been done.

8/04/2006 8:28 AM  
Anonymous bookfraud said...

what a wonderful post. felt like i was walking around with you. and if you'd just hung out on the beach, we wouldn't have been able to read "getting drunk off the scent of fresh-cut grass." activated all the senses. girl, you got some writing chops. word.

8/04/2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger Lex Ham Rand said...

Hot! Whew! Someone turn on the air conditioner!!

8/04/2006 9:39 AM  
Anonymous Neil said...

Once you find that love, you need to go back to that fountain together and jump in.

8/04/2006 10:31 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Scott, I won't be taking a walk like that again in until December at least.

Justin, friends suck like that don't they?

Bookfraud, coming from you I take that as a compliment and that's something I never do. Word.

Rand, how is it where you are? Still hot or cooling off?

Neil, I'll keep you posted.

8/04/2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger Lex Ham Rand said...

It's back to hot (87 degrees yesterday) but no longer HHHOOOTTT.

I gave your Charleston pictures top billing on my blog today.

8/04/2006 1:39 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

I just saw, I left you a little note to say thanks. It's still way hot here. I don't think I'm going to leave the house again until mid-October at least.

8/04/2006 1:41 PM  
Anonymous bookfraud said...

take the compliment, and put it in the bank.

you should write more, you know?

8/04/2006 3:02 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

That's actually just what I was thinking. I'm sitting here right now wondering when I'm ever going to write this novel I've been talking about for so long, what I'm waiting for. I know I can do it, I just don't think any of my ideas are good enough.

8/04/2006 3:06 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

Writers are the worst judges of their own ideas. Okay, that may not be entirely true, but you'll never know if it's a good idea until you write the novel.

So?

8/04/2006 8:04 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

I don't know, I just don't want to write something that I'll hate. I want to be in love with my idea, with the story and so far, I haven't really found anything I want to devote the next year or so of my life too. We can't all be as good at it as you :).

8/04/2006 9:47 PM  
Blogger Southern Writer said...

Write a damn novel. You have one of the most beautiful writing voices I've ever read. You could probably rewrite the Three Little Pigs or something, and as long as you did it in your voice, I'd still read it. When someone is born with a gift like yours, to waste it seems sacreligious.

Why haven't you come up with something you want to spend a year on? And what are you going to spend the next year on if you're not writing a novel?

8/04/2006 10:01 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

"Write a damn novel."

Well, since you put it that way....

Since you haven't been reading my blog long, I'll tell you the gist: I don't consider myself to be all that great a writer, despite what people tell me. It's a confidence issue on my part and I wish I didn't feel this way but I just can't really take writing seriously because I don't think of it as a gift. It's just something I do sometimes, nothing special.

As far as ideas go, I have tons of ideas. I just can't seem to focus any energy towards one in particular. I want to write something I would want to read, which is why I write the things I do here. I don't know how to translate that into writing fiction. And you have a good point there about what I'm going to do for the next year if I don't write the novel. I'll probably spend it the same way I did last year, wishing I'd just get off my ass already and do it.

8/04/2006 10:11 PM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Great reading - thanks! So many images and sights and sounds brought to life - fantastic descriptions.

8/04/2006 11:09 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Glad you liked it as always.

8/04/2006 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Write a novel, one page a day, and in two years you will have 700 pages. The time you spend answering all of this comments, you could already be well ahead of the game. Just do IT!

You have an excellent voice and know how to write. All great writers write about what they know and from their hearts. You have a big heart - so what are you really afraid of? Being great at it?

Here's a title

Life, live it or loose it!

8/04/2006 11:46 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Thank you, Anonymous. This is good advice. I'm afraid of a lot of things. I'm still trying to sort out if this is one of them.

And we're all friends here in case you want to leave your name next time. :)

Unless you're that pervert who left me a weird anonymous comment. Then I'd rather not know.

8/04/2006 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not a pervert. Just an old person that had dreams, and sees talent in your words.

You write your novel, and then you will have learned a lot.

Your story of sitting in the sidewalk cafe, watching the old couple with nothing to say. Are you going to wind up like that, or are you going to be who you dare to be?

I double dog dare you!

8/05/2006 12:02 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Oooh, throwing down the gauntlet now, are we? No, I don't want to end up like that old couple. I want to talk until my lips fall off, write until my fingers can't hold the pen anymore. I'm just not sure anyone's interested in what I have to say.

Sorry about the pervert thing. I got a really pervie comment the other day on a picture of myself I'd posted. Now I'm leery of anonymous commenters. But you seem very nice, if not a little shy. :)

8/05/2006 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem about the pervert thing. I understand.

You have a passion, an inner fire, a gift, and I believe in you. I know you can do it. It is like painting a canvass. Painting and writing use the same inner fires. The greatest painters started with a blank canvass and a single brushstroke. They could not see what the final picture would be, and neither will you, until you start and allow your inner passion to express itself thru words and the pictures you will paint on the canvass of the mind.

8/05/2006 12:24 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Do you mind if I ask why you comment anonymously? I'm curious to know who's giving me all this great advice.

8/05/2006 12:25 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Maybe the anonymous commenter doesn't have a blog? Of course they could always add their name, but it doesn't happen automatically.
I find it hard to imagine the northern hemisphere heatwave at the moment, we are so far from that here. Although we are now seeing signs of spring - daffodils blooming etc. So at least we are not freezing our asses off in the snow any more

8/05/2006 5:36 AM  
Blogger willowtree said...

Isn't it wonderful that love isn't weather specific?

8/05/2006 8:47 AM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Catherine, it is so HOT! It's really awful right now, you wouldn't believe it.

Willowtree, it is. Even when it's really hot.:)

8/05/2006 9:58 AM  
Blogger Southern Writer said...

Okay, maybe you're not ready to tackle something as large as a novel. What about a collection of short stories? Your voice is fresh and untainted, and your gift for description makes even ordinary things appear extraordinary. You're making me shake my head here. Do you know how many struggling writers would give their typing fingers for the talent God gave YOU? If you don't want it, freaking pass it to me. I'll wear it out. You're like a nightingale that won't sing. Shame on ya, lady. You mentioned an idea for a novel you've been throwing around - can you tell us what it is?

8/05/2006 2:41 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Lesia, you're making me feel bad. Really bad. I'm sorry. I'm not trying to disappoint anyone. That's not what I wanted to do here. This is why I don't like to talk about writing. It always makes me feel like shit.

8/05/2006 3:57 PM  
Blogger Ceebie said...

I think the short story idea is a great one. I think Carol Shields, one of my favorite authors, used to workshop her ideas that way. I remember reading a short story about a woman buying a scarf for her daughter, then lo and behold, it shows up in _Unless_! Have you considered a writers' workshop? I'm sure you have but thought I'd suggest it :)

8/05/2006 5:16 PM  
Blogger Southern Writer said...

Sorry, Rebecca. I don't mean to make you feel like shit. I'm jealous, is all. Someday, you will find something that inspires you, and I hope I will be able to read it. I hope it's something wonderful, and not something sad.

8/05/2006 5:55 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Ceebie, I love Carol Shields too. And I've thought about a workshop but they're few and far between where I live.

Lesia, it's okay. I'm going through some non-writing related stuff right now that's making me want to say fuck it to everything, including writing. Sometimes I think it'd be best if I never wrote another word again.

8/05/2006 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bird sings, because it's gift is to grace the woods with its songs of peace, love, and harmony - a bud opens to a rose to bring joy and beauty to the landscapes and gardens - a caterpiller enters a coccoon to emerge as a colorful living flower in flight, a painter paints because that is their calling/gift and they all live and follow their destiny and share their gifts for all of creation to enjoy. Your gift is to write and bring that joy, beauty, and love to others so they can share in your experience's and journey. The great songwriters, would not be able to write the heart sobbing, gut wretching, or joy of life, if they did not experience it firsthand.

These are just my words of encouragement, and belief that you have a gift others would trace for. But above all listen to your own passion, live your passion, and be your passion if it be writing a novel, or if it be a collection of short stories, romance novel, poems, or to be a teacher. Just be the best you can be.

You stated earlier "I want to talk until my lips fall off, write until my fingers can't hold the pen anymore. I'm just not sure anyone's interested in what I have to say."

I do believe you have many fellow writers here that are interested in what you have to say and respect your talents. They could not say it any better.

anonymous

PS. What really is in a name anyhow? If you must have a name for me, just call me "Bro" - yep - that will work.

8/05/2006 10:42 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Well, Bro it is then. I'm just nosy, that's all.

You seem so certain about this but if I don't know for sure, how can a stranger know? I don't know what my passion is or if I have any kind of gift at all. My main talent seems to be alienating people with negative comments. :)

All this talk is making me question things and I'm not sure if it's in a good way or not. But I appreciate your advice, so thanks.

8/06/2006 10:04 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I'll take the flip-flops, iced tea, and afternoon thunderstorms. :)

8/06/2006 10:24 PM  
Blogger JimmyJames said...

A Buddhist saying is "if you are facing the right direction, all you have to do is keep walking"

Rebbecca, do what you love to do, and accept peoples feedback and praise as an affirmation. I also like your blog, and the writing style, and I am NOT a writer or pretend to be one. Maybe a reporter at best. Take a look at my blog - under the ledge - and you will see a writing attempt of mine. Not good, but then I wrote it for myself. It is just an attempt at something new. As for your blog, do what makes you feel good. That also can be the toughest critic we ever have. Those voices from our childhood that say we are not good enough no matter how hard we try. And that makes it a challenge to accept any praise at all from anyone. For myself, I find it easier to accept critiques and ways to improve, than someone applauding something I may do.

Just my musing
Have fun

And if a person is not willing to leave a name, then I would be curious also as to the motives.

8/06/2006 10:30 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Jeff, if you're ever in Charleston.......

Jimmy, I'm just over it. A couple of the comments that were left have completely turned me off to writing, this blog, everything. I appreciate what the person was trying to do but the way they chose to approach it did not sit well with me. And it wasn't the person who posted anonymously either.

8/06/2006 10:34 PM  
Blogger jillypoet said...

Wow! Everyone has so much to say. Do you love all the help? I, too, love your writing. I'm coming back for more, and can I link your blog to mine? Seriously! Your descriptions are great. Voice, too.

8/06/2006 10:49 PM  
Blogger JimmyJames said...

Well, at least you get visitors to your blog that will comment. I have had 5 comments in 6 months! But, then my main would be tough to comment on. The under the ledge was a challenge initiated from my son to try writing something original! LOL

8/06/2006 10:50 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Jilly (may I call you Jilly?) welcome. I'm always glad to meet new faces. I'd be happy if you linked to me, and I'll return the favor if you like.

Yes, everyone does have a lot to say, don't they? Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.

8/06/2006 10:51 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Jimmy, it took a long time to get people to comment. But then, it took a long time for me to find something to say.

8/06/2006 10:52 PM  

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