Saturday, October 30, 2004

Perfect Saturday

Today was just one of those rare days in your life where you think wow, this is what life is about. I just woke up in a good mood, had a nice hot shower, and danced around the apartment to my favourite songs for 4 straight hours. I took a longish walk outside in the afternoon; it rained a little, but it was perfect October rain. And let me just say kudos to God or Mother Nature or whoever for these above seasonal temperatures! The leaves are brilliant in their colours, mostly scattered across yards and sidewalks. It was just cool enough to need a hoodie, which is great weather for walking. Perfect weather for walking! And at first I wasn't even sure if I wanted to go. Well, my left leg was up for it, but my right leg was protesting. But they rightie and leftie rock-paper-scissorsed for it, and left one. Horray! Gosh the air smells nice this time of year. And this may well be the last weekend of its kind for months and months.

Then at home, it was on with the good music. And I had this burst of wordiness, so I sat down and wrote for the first time in a long time, some words that my soul really need to unburden, and it felt great. I have a few books that I keep my "poems" in (I call them poems, but really I hate that word, it's prose, but not essay or whatever...I need to invent a better word), and anyway, I was flipping through these journals, and I came across a few items that surprised me. My earliest entries are from 1994 and it's painful to read what a 13 year old thought was great stuff. And it's definitely funny to read through the progression and growth of my thoughts and feelings, and certainly to watch my handwriting changing over the past 10 years. But as I was saying, a few items surprised me in that upon rereading them, I thought them rather good. I usually write when I have some strong emotion all pent up, so I often don't remember what I wrote and it's a discovery to go back and flip through the pages. Most of it is sentimental crap, but once in a while, I come across something I am proud of.

When I was younger I thought I wanted to be a writer. And to be honest, I excelled at it. I have never written an essay that didn't at least get 90%, I have won every writing contest I have ever entered, to the best of my recollection, and generally received a lot of praise back then about the stuff I produced. But then you start to get older, and you realize that just because I can spell and have a bigger vocabulary than most other people my age doesn't mean you can be a writer. I don't have any great experiences to write about. And I don't have the gift of story-telling. I can write a decent paper. I can be entertaining. I was a big fish in a little pond. But the true gift of writing is one in a million, and I should know because I read an awful lot.

Last winter I started writing a story (well, to tell the truth, it started writing itself...sometimes a story just wants to get out, and it needs a hand to push the pen across the paper). I liked what I had written, I had about 20 000 words done and I felt good about it, but then I choked. I thought to myself, that I know I can't be Margaret Atwood. I can't be John Irving. And if you can't write like that, then what's the point? So I stopped. I stick to my journal, my "poems", and now, this. This is safe. It's just drivel. It doesn't have to be good. It doesn't have to be Margaret Atwood.

But when I was thumbing through my old writing, I thought, well maybe it's not Margaret Atwood, but it's damn good for Jamie. And I can live with that. I probably will never be a published writer. I probably will never finish that story. But re-reading some of my old stuff was good enough for me to call this day perfect. Ah, perfect. I hope yours was too.

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