Monday, July 22, 2013

Children Like Trees

SLIM BUUTES - You either have the time to write, or take time to write, especially if you're a writer, but of course, only when you're in the mood, in the groove, in the zone, got the juices flowing, got your mojo working, got the juju going, like one of those Midas Touch nights in the casino, or one of those days on the court when everything you throw up there is going in, or on the court when you're painting the lines with your topspin forehand, or in court when the jury rules in your favor, or the party when you're grandstanding and everybody is laughing at your drunken jokes, nailing the dismount to the roar of the crowd and your people in the stands, or those dice coming up snake eyes, or any other time when everything is going your way, like Billy Red Hawk used to say, "It's a good day to be me."

And then, there's the flip side to all that, right? Like, short sentences. Life sentences. Misspellings and run-on sentences. Incomplete sentences. Compound sentences, complex and simple-ass sentences.

Put all that together, and your should get some kind of story. A lot of people have said to me, 'You should write a book about me,' like Arthur, Lupe, and Damon, and Loren, and a lot of other people who I can't think of right now, but there have been a lot. Point is, everybody has a story. Everybody has a story, but not everybody is a writer.

And among those who write, there are those who can write, but don't, or won't, because the mojo isn't working, juju's messed up, or they haven't got the time, or maybe they just don't have much to say to you. Never had much in common then, or now, so what do we talk about? 

We could discuss our commonalities or shared experiences, the basis of any relationship; blood family comes first, usually, and then friends and colleagues, the church group, your hiking pal,  the fun neighbors, old friends who moved away, the people we met on vacation, those people who came to the party, frat bros, mentors, old schoolmates, the couple from day care, assistant coaches, war zone buddy, smoking pals, went through the disaster together, cell mates, potheads, crackheads, meth heads, your ex, and those whacked out folks from the Burning Man festival.

"Hey Man! Good to hear from you! How about that time with those prostitutes down in New Orleans!"

Then what? Distance, new job, race, class, religion, lifestyle, attitude, or so much shit going on in our lives right then that pulls us apart. Or maybe, life is going so damn good that you haven't the time to write.

"I got a lot going on, man! I'm a terribly busy man."  Ain't got time for no foolishness.

So, it's a dilemma; you've got to have a life to write, and then, it seems that too much time spent at computer or Facebook may be an indication of isolation and need to...howdoyousay?...get a life. 

Well, hopefully you don't have much in common with crack and meth heads. My shared experience with them is the stuff they removed from my house while I was on a distant continent.
We may have something to talk about, but it probably wouldn't be Jesus, politics, or the Plain of Jars.

So, if you're anything like me, and I can rest assured you are not, then I might be operating on a whole set of preconditions and assumptions that you may in some way be able to relate to the content, or not. And even if people can't relate or connect, maybe they can just enjoy a story.

"Look at this one," I said to Jack Red Cloud, pointing at a small tree, as we sat on the veranda "it's a four-year old, planted the same time as those two big ones."

Having survived repeated hailstorms and a 2012 assault by the neighbor's young bulls, of the thirty surviving trees of the sixty planted, this particular tree is stunted and surpassed in growth by trees two years younger.

"I've given it extra everything," I continued, right there in front of the tree, where it could clearly hear me. "Love, attention, nutrients...extra water...Vivaldi. Just like some kids, huh Jack? 'Boo hoo, whine, poor me, 'You didn't love me as much as the others.

"It's the juvenile delinquent of the familyIt resists everything I try to do for it."


We had goats once, two of them, I forget their names. They hated the dogs, taunted the dogs,  and the dogs hated them, worse than their thing with cats. I was working at the university, and I'd come home with my nice professor's uniform of khakis and some kinda jacket and tie, and there'd be that goat, stuck in the fence, again.

The four-by-six square in the metal fence was just big enough for that goat to get its head through if it extended it neck fully and tilted its head juuuust so, enabling the creature's horns passage through the square, and access to the grass on the other side...Susie. Susie and,,,and....I can't remember the others' name. It got killed by the dogs...Betty. Susie and Betty.

Needless to say, to do an exit, the goat had to get unstuck in precisely the same manner as which it had entered, which required grabbing the goat by the horns and exerting the force of...of...Hurcu...all I had to bend the neck and tilt the horns, as that stubborn fool used every ounce of strength it had to push against me.

At least once, on one of those evenings, I gave up in exasperation and hauled off and slapped the shit out of her before walking away. "You gonna leave her like that all night?" I was asked.

"Yeah," I said.

The next morning, I thought she'd be drained of energy from being stuck all night as I went to free her, but no, she dug in and pushed against me with all her might.


Addendum to the I See Where You Went To Hell comic relief here on the Rez; the guy at the gate, Satan's assistant, says, 'You can leave those nice funeral clothes over there in that box. We've got some coveralls for you to wear.'