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Blowin in the Wind

March 8, 2009

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in years: I flew a kite.  It wasn’t an elaborate kite, just a one dollar Wal-Mart special with a picture of Elmo.  It was my wife’s idea that my daughter would enjoy it.  As usual, my wife was right. Abby wanted to hold the string the whole time and was very upset when the kite came down (which happened frequently in the gusty day).  It was a nice bonding moment.  I will get Elmo out again soon.

It was an experience I wanted to share with people, maybe write a story with such a scene, but I don’t think I can do it.  I could describe the actions, but there is no describing the feeling a parent experiences sharing a moment with their child.  The best I could hope to accomplish would be to stir that emotion in people who have experienced something similar.  It made me feel inadequate as a writer.

I am an inadequate writer, don’t get me wrong, but writers are supposed to write the stuff they feel it is important to share.  Really, it can’t be done.

Maybe I take the writer’s mission statement too literally.  Maybe it is most important that I make it clear that the character feels this, whether the reader feels it themselves could be irrelevant.  Negative emotions and sensations are so much simpler: anger, frustration, pain, defeat, sadness.  You don’t have to have had your fingernails removed with needle-nosed pliers to appreciate the description in a story.  I’m not sure the mix of love, pride, accomplishment, and giving shares that potential.

I am making it a goal to write a story including that kind of moment.  I’m not ready right now, but I want to do it.  Maybe at Clarion (east or west, whichever comes through) when my idea bank starts emptying out, when my skills are sharp and my wits are dull.  It doesn’t have to be a kite, maybe give the experience a speculative twist.  A wizard teaching his child to levitate objects.  A tribal alien sharing a first hunt with its offspring.

Think how many more experiences like this I have opportunities to enjoy.  Riding a bike, driving a car (way in the future), first love letter, first fishing trip (Mom may be better at that).  O am overwhelmed.  It makes me feel guilty for the number of days I’ve let slip by without sharing something new with her.  She is only two.  How many things can I expect her to appreciate right now?

It also makes me feel guilty for hoping so vehemently to leave her for six weeks this summer.  I did not stop being my own person when she was born, I need to continue pursuing my own dreams as well as hers, but I still feel like a heel.  I bet I could write that feeling into a story, selfishness and shame.

This is not usually what I do with this blog.  You are not my therapist.  I just felt this needed to be shared, so here it is.  I promise something more upbeat next time.


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