Monday, March 28, 2011

On Living

As a writer, I feel it is my job to tell the story that hasn't been told yet. Which is a strange thought in and of itself as every story has been told. The tricky part is telling them in a new way... with a voice that has to be heard. Because if it is worth reading, it is the voice that really speaks to you. How many different spins have recently been put on the age old story of Little Red Riding Hood and how diversified these stories have been from the traditional little girl who doesn't follow directions and ends up gobbled up by a wolf? From Hoodwinked to Red Riding Hood, the movies have shown different spins on this one plotline. Then you have Sisters Red which has sisters fighting darkness... in red hooded cloaks. So many different ways to tell one story...

But the story that most writers never tell, the one that actually directs the story, is their own.

Outside influences change the tone and pace and even the genre that we feel most comfortable in. Look at the eminently popular and epically famous Stephen King. He went from writing that which horrified him, his own nightmares, to writing The Eyes of the Dragon... high fantasy/fairytale. He then moved back into the realm of the scary with Duma Key... but it was a different scary than that which he created in younger days.

What influences me? Life comes at you with guns blazing and we are left in its wake like ships bobbing in a turbulent sea of change.

I read something trivial, something everyday, the newspaper, the other day. In a Dear Abby style column there was an article about a grandfather... I should have kept it but I didn't. It was something to the effect of Grandpa turned 79 today...

Grandpa brushed his hair... He waited... He had so many kids and grandkids and greatgrandkids. But none of them came. He waited to cut the cake while he ate his dinner so that they could do it together. He waited to nap so he would be awake when they came...

No one came. This had me bawling like a loon at work. How many times do the things that really matter get lost in the tidal flow of what we HAVE to do... what is required of us? There was a tv series, Dead Like Me that HBO aired in three seasons and one movie but was sadly canceled that touched on the absolute triviality of life and how we squander it... missing those who matter the most and the moments that we should have or could have had.

My son has been sick. They haven't told us why. My health has sucked for years. But sadder... my dad has been sick. My dad is old, 80, and used to be active. He used to be busy. Now he is resigned to live out the rest of his days in a chair.

So I took him out after work the other day. Usually he or my mom aren't up to it. But they were willing and I was off work. So we got in the car and drove. I bought him a strawberry shake. We wandered around. I took him and showed him the park that me and the kids camp at. We talked about going fishing when the weather turns. We just drove and looked around and it was good.

But so soon life catches up and we are forced back into the should dos and could dos. We are blasted daily with what we need to be considered by others successful or 'comfortable' but what would really make me comfortable? More days 'doing nothing' with my kids. Doing nothing with my parents while they are here. Seeing my friends and making memories.

Life won't allow me that luxury. But it should. Because at the end of the day we are all just blood and bones and the things that matter are not marked by a designer label or fancy car. They are marked by the moments we take to change someone else. To be there with those we love and live on in their hearts...

Today, readers, Make a difference. Be someones light. Do the little things that people will stand around your casket and laugh through their tears about...

I know I will. People may think I am weird. They may giggle at stories of me... Like when I got pissed at the deer that hit my car and chased it with a crowbar or when I left on a smoke break and ran away to Canada. But I know this... they will remember.


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