Simon thought maybe writing in third person would help him get through it, the block. He could pretend he was talking about someone else. It would at least be an interesting experiment.
He took a sip of black coffee and stared at the screen and the damned blinking cursor.
A pause. He was trying to write about something big. A tectonic shift in his in his weltanschauung. Weltanshauung. Was that Schopenhauer? Neitzsche? The source he couldn’t remember, the word he could. Typical.
He had for the whole of his creative life cast himself as a loner, earnest but misunderstood, brave but self-defeating, smart but dumb. Maybe he actually was that way, or maybe he was making himself up as he went along. These things blur.
Regardless. It was time for something new.
But how to get from there to here? That was the point of the blog after all: to keep a running account of self-understanding. After 20 years of making stuff, he noticed most of his creative pursuits tended to be of a personal nature. So, exploring the nature of the person doing the creating, seemed a good foundation for future efforts.
Simon had to keep reminding himself that the blog was not supposed to be an artful exercise. It was exploratory. He was taking notes, shoving instruments into his guts and fishing around. Tissue samples. It was intended to be a permissive environment. He had enough outlets in which Form bent the content. Songs. Short stories. Teleplays. The blog thing was supposed to be more about mucking around in a bog, seeing if there were any interesting bugs lying around.
“Metaphor much?” he said out loud. He was writing badly. Trying too hard. Take a break, brainheart.
He looked away from the computer, over the screen, at the actual world. His current location: a backyard in Texas. Somewhere in Austin. He didn’t know where. It was warm enough to make the sweater he wore unnecessary, and the late morning light still hit the ground at an angle sufficient to throw long blue shadows across the yard. A faint scent of mesquite teased the air. He took a deep breath and looked around more carefully. No real lawn to speak of. Instead, great drifts of unraked leaves curled lengthwise, dried to a brown crisp, heaped upon themselves like peanut shells. A blanket of small smooth stones flung everywhere like a misplaced riverbed. A large tree – a Hackberry – dominated all, flanked by a faded wooden fence greening with moss.
He read over what he wrote. Huh. He’d grabbed the yard and shoved it into the computer. A miracle, really. Words.
Back to the assignment. From there to here. That was what he was trying to do. Chart it, mark it, live in its new weird skin.
First things first, where was here? Tell it: he had asked her to marry him, and she said yes. He was getting married. Not just to anyone, but to the selfsame girl he met twenty years ago under a low-hanging Alaskan sun. Whose photo he snapped moments after seeing her for the first time, without permission, and which for ten years he tucked away in sun visors and journals, to be drawn out and examined and wondered at. Her simple effortless beauty. The girl who was in the car with him when he arrived in Nashville a dozen years ago, starting over. Who then disappeared, save for timely birthday cards, semi-annual care packages of biscotti or unicorn socks, and who suddenly surfaced once again, years later, uncertain of anything, starting over herself.
The girl with whom he had already shared a potent handful of milestones, happy and sad.
Despite his willful efforts to defy his heart, she was, in every sense of the word, his soulmate. There was no longer any point in trying to pretend otherwise. He loved her. He knew it in his bones. He knew it as a True Thing, no longer to be questioned. He wanted her. More specifically, he wanted to share his life with her. Boldly and without condition.
The sun was out en force now, gilding the left side of his body. He removed the sweater.
Simon sat quietly for several minutes. He considered his emotional constitution. He was in many ways a ridiculous person and would likely continue to be one. It was in his nature to paint himself on as big a canvas as possible, his vanity being such that he could endure anything, anything but normal life. He probably annoyed a lot of people around him, his friends especially. But, one lives, and one learns to accept oneself as he is and not as he would have himself be. He was a fool, but he was also courageous, willing to try something a hundred times over, unwilling to settle for second best. He did not give chase to trends.
His was a locomotive energy. Hers a river. Where he shoved his way through almost every activity or obstacle, she moved without effort, pulled along by the most natural force in the world. Willowy was a good word to describe her. Elegant.
At the same time, she was deliberate. Everything she did received its due attention. He closed his eyes, and pictured her hands, the precision with which they operated, the way the fingers moved in concert to slice a pear or thread a needle. Whereas he eventually ruined almost everything he owned, she was intrinsically careful – with things, people, animals. He loved this about her.
She also loved music. Maybe more than he did. He had attended a hundred shows with her at his side, and it could not be denied that her presence elevated his own appreciation. Always she gave to the performers an attention that bordered on the beatific. She could be transfixed by music. It was intense. That she enjoyed his own singing and songs was a compliment he didn’t take lightly.
His career seemed to be currently in a holding pattern of standing disaster but, he had to admit, he always felt that way about it, and he kept trying anyway. He most likely wasn’t going to stop trying anytime soon. In some ways, trying was the important thing. Everything else was just, results.
He would try, and the world would, or would not, accept him. Either way, she would be there for him, and he for her. He had his teammate, his co-captain. His heart stirred at the thought of this next part of his life. The life with her. The life shared.
By all appearances, the greedy heart of humankind seemed intent on consuming itself to extinction. That was nothing new. He would do what he could to prevent it, and would continue to work out his purpose, of making the old truths new, and of reminding people what they already felt, about the beauties that had never left them, of that which everyone has in common. He would do his part. But. At present he was more excited about the hamburgers he and she would share on Friday nights at the bar around the corner from their home, and the baseball games they would watch, the yoga classes she would ask him to attend, and the home they would make together. He was excited for the strangers and friends they would meet on the road, for the adventures ahead, as sworn companions, as husband and wife.
It was time for something new.