The Process Of Writing

I probably should have titled this, “My” process of writing because I’m sure that for as many writers as there are in the world, there are as many processes. My process is unique to me although many may be similar. Today, I am inspired to write. That’s how it begins. As with a musician, (something I also claim to be,) some days you are inspired to pick up that guitar and play. Or flute, or drums, or whatever. You just feel like now is the time. What you play depends on the mood you’re in. That’s how it works with writing for me. I am inspired to write, but what shall I write? What kind of mood am I in? Happy or sad, frustrated, angry, joyful, what? Some days, I am so inspired that I sit down at the keyboard and it just flows out like a raging river. The words come fast and furious, filling the screen of my computer. Some days it’s so good I hardly have to do any editing at all.

Not today. Today, I am inspired to write. But what, you ask? Good question, that. I don’t have a clue. Today is one of those days when the words aren’t flowing. They have to be dragged out kicking and screaming their reluctance like a newborn being forcefully shoved into a cold, bright world. So here I sit at the keyboard, ready and willing to fill the page with brilliance and, what? Nothing. (I just spent the last five minutes staring at the word “nothing” on the screen.) Where is my mojo? My muse, if you will? Mojo and Muse are off somewhere sharing a drink and a cigar and laughing hysterically at how they left me behind.

“Look at him,” Mojo says. “Trying to write something without us!” They clink their glasses together and toast my utter inability to come up with anything even remotely interesting to say. They puff their cigars in the sunshine, dig their toes in the sand of some South Seas island, as happy as if they were normal. And I sit here in the midst of a Minnesota Winter trying to force out words, trying to force those word into something you might want to read. Ugh! I am disgusted. (I just spent another five minutes staring at the word “disgusted.”)

So that’s it then, they left me. Fine! I don’t need them! I’ll forge ahead on my own. Let them bask in the sunshine of their imagined brilliance. Who are these two, anyway, Mojo and Muse? A couple of over rated hacks, that’s who. Okay, okay, so now what? So now I write! I write words. And I form sentences with those words. And the sentences make sense. And they are interesting to read. Yeah, that’s it! I’m good. I’m doing this on my own! And, and, hey look! I actually wrote something.

Advertisements

Northfield, Minnesota

From 1998 until 2017 my wife Ann and I lived in the Faribault, Minnesota area, the last six years of which were spent in an old farm house on a lake surrounded by corn fields. In November 2016, Ann got sick and in December we found out she had Endometrial Metastatic Cancer. She died in July, 2017 after a heroic battle. To me she is an example of a very strong and brave woman. Born and raised on a farm near Kilkenny, Minnesota, she had red hair, blue eyes, and she was Irish and German. There were times when she felt hopeless fighting cancer, but for the most part she was brave throughout. She didn’t let it get in the way of family and friends. I think about her every day.

In May of 2017 we bought my mom’s house in Northfield, Minnesota. Only about 18 miles from our lake house, Northfield is a different world. This is the house I grew up in. Built in 1940, my folks bought the house on the G.I. Bill, or Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, in 1956, just two weeks before I was born. It has been added on to and remodeled several times over the years, most of the work being done by my dad. We bought the house in May, Ann went into the hospital in June and never came home. We only had a month to enjoy the house together before she became to0 sick to be home.

The months since Ann died have been kind of foggy but I think I’m finally starting to come out of it. In December I applied for a position on the Northfield Human Rights Commission. The mayor appointed me to the commission but after one meeting I realized that it was too much, too soon. So with the mayors blessing I turned down the appointment and am now concentrating on living one day at a time. It seems to be working. I spend quite a bit of time alone and it’s said that when you’re grieving that’s not a good thing. But for me, it’s alright. I get along with myself just fine. As a kid I was just as happy playing by myself as I was with friends. I spend time with my children and grand children. It’s good for us all to be together, to do things as a family. So that’s the back story. You are now caught up with me.

In 1956 the population of Northfield was about 8000. Today its over 20,000 so there has been steady growth over the years. The town is only about 30 or so miles from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. There are two world class colleges in Northfield. St. Olaf and Carleton. Each September Northfield celebrates the Defeat of Jesse James days. On September 7th, 1876, Jesse James and his gang were prevented from robbing the bank in Northfield, effectively ending their career as outlaws. It’s a huge celebration that attracts thousand to the town. (I hope this isn’t sounding like a tourism site!) Even though the population is over 20,000, Northfield is still a rural community. The entire city is surrounded by farms and fields. The downtown area has been maintained with 1800’s building fronts whenever possible. There are lots of unique shops and every Saturday there is a Riverwalk arts fair and farmers market downtown. Northfield is a community where people get out and do things. I love it here.

So now I’m spending time learning the bass guitar. I’ve been a drummer all my life and for the last twenty years have concentrated on hand percussion. But I’ve recently bought an electronic drum kit so I’m getting my chops back with that. For those of you who’ve read my blog over the years, I still have my insane dog, Sophie. Sophie is half Malamute, half Husky. And as I said, she’s insane. She’s six years old and still as frisky as a puppy. One hundred and ten pounds of frisky! We take a walk everyday along the beautiful pathways of Riverside park in Northfield. There is a lot of noise compared to living on a lake in the country but we’re getting used to it. The thing I miss most about living in the country is the quiet and the stars in the sky. It is such a mystical experience to stand outside at night with the Milky Way shining brightly in the sky and not hear a single sound. Just thinking about that gives me shivers. I want to give a big thanks to my long time readers. Thanks for sticking with me, And maybe I’ll gain some new readers along the way. More to come!