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Waves of Jellybeans

Posted by Rick · June 16th, 2004 · No Comments

As any regular reader here knows, I periodically receive missives from some of you. Well, okay, maybe — especially if you look at the historical development of the word — “missives” is a little strong: I receive suggestions that I might look at this or that and blog about it.

Such was the case last night with an email about Laura’s blog, Peace and jellybeans. And since this week seems to be Ronald Reagan week on my blog, I went to read it.

Turns out I’ve been there before…and enjoyed it. I’m pretty sure I got there via the “Recently Updated” list on MovableType’s website (or maybe by some other blog mentioning it, like I’m doing now) and I’d gotten caught up again in the day-to-day grind of work-school-work-school-sleep-work-work-work-school-sleep and forgotten to go back.

Today was a good “blog-readin'” mornin’ and so I enjoyed it awhile. For various reasons, it inspired — by way of reminder — what I write today.

Laura had mentioned writing in journals and then (gasp!) burning them as each was completed. I left a comment noting that I had sometimes (huh?) considered doing something like that with my own journals, which I’ve kept off and on for years. I actually started blogging because it was an “easy” way to re-start journaling, which I hadn’t done since just past the mid-90’s until I started this blog. But there were times in my life where I blo-…er, journaled, for several hours a day. It was very Thoreau-like, except that instead of Walden, I had Carl’s Jr.

My wife sometimes appears not to believe stories about the kind of person I used to be. Oddly — and I emphatically assure you (and her) this was purely coincidental — I stopped doing a lot of things I used to do almost exactly on the day I met her. She has always been puzzled, for example, that I had (still have) one of the largest culinary collections of anyone outside a restaurant. I even have about fourteen different types and sizes of crepe pans! I was once an avid gardener and very much “into nature.” Tell that to my wife who so-often unsuccessfully begs me to leave my dark, cluttered, cave-like office to join her in the yard. There are two backpacks in the garage (for different types of trips; one for trails, one internal-frame pack for off-trails) which, if the spiders coating them with webs get any bigger, will one day walk off seemingly by themselves. I spent a lot of time backpacking in the Ansel Adams Wilderness by myself. Well, until that fateful day with the bear…but that’s another story. We now refer to those days — actually, she refers to those days — as “B.D.” (Before Denise). She mistakenly believes that because the things I did then seem to her to be more fun than what I do now that these were “happier times.” The fact is that I couldn’t ever have been happier B.D. than I am W.B. (With Bunny — the name Denise inherited by virtue of our mutual appreciation of the story of Big and Little Nut Brown).

Anyway, I left a note at Peace and jellybeans about journaling; now I’ll probably do a trackback as well, but at the time, I wasn’t planning to blog this. I mentioned there that occasionally, I pull one of my old entries from my journals to post here; I do occasionally go back and re-read, after all. It’s nice to remind oneself of where one once was. (It suddenly strikes me that that would make a nice title: Where One Once Was.) And after some languid wading, first through Laura’s writing and then through mine, this old journal entry from July 24, 1989 brought back a few peaceful moments — and about now, this blog could use that! The entry is excerpted from a section where I was lamenting yet another unfinished story (I have tons of them) and how much I’d like to write something that was actually published. (Well, I’ve sort of had that happen now, even if you don’t count this blog.) What I like most about this entry, though, is that it actually does take me back; I can again feel and smell and hear…and relax.

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things this weekend was when I rented a wetsuit and a “boogie board” and was standing up to my chest or neck in the water — looking out to sea for the advance warning it might give of “the good wave” heading my way. There were sometimes many long moments between “good” waves. I stood there looking out, really unable to hear anything save the surf and a few gulls crying now and then. The ocean would rise and fall, the not-yet-waves undulating toward me. And I felt the water tug at my toes, the level fall to my waist, as the ancestors of these not-yet-waves I was watching would — having spent their energy trying, like the sunbathers, to grab another piece of beach — retire to the deep; as they left, their drawing back contributed to the rise of their offspring. I watched all this…generations of waves came, spent themselves, and retired. And they hypnotized me so that I could not even say I thought of anything really, but only watched as each swell grew and became a wave.

Writing about them almost makes the mood return, but the environment here is more distracting.

I would like to write about things — things that could grab others the way those waves grabbed me. I wish I could have just the same effect: I would like to write so that while reading, the reader would actually forget he or she was reading…that would be writing!

But I don’t seem to know how to make all my story ideas grow into stories…they are instead like the match well-struck which flares up, but dies before it reaches the log — no fire is born; it falls stillborn.

There are plenty of matches, I wish just one might make it to the log….

Sometimes, we just need quiet time to reflect, think and not do much of anything else.

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