Listening to the Crickets

My God how I love these whispers in the dark, these ancient voices pushing me forward. Sometimes to look at old photos, at old memories, at strong women and kind men is enough to send me just where I need to be to continue the stories that have been given to me. I need to remember to sit and listen, to not force or push, to be kind to my characters and let them do the talking. It’s all right if they’re quiet some days and noisy on others; aren’t we as solid characters just like that? I’d rather hear their genuine thoughts and actions than fabricate something hollow. Their lives (though of course fictional, merely vapors), are too important for me to shove them onto the stage before they’re fully prepared.

I’m about to embark on a short (probably) period of time when I’m going to have solid blocks of my day to be able to write and do nothing but write. Yes, I have my evenings, but by the evening my mind is either lucid and slightly manic or it’s so very sleeeeeepy from a busy day with a busier child (lately children).  This is a luxury I haven’t had since before my son was born; but back then I had very little to write about, and my thoughts and creativity were filled with mostly vapid things. I pray that during this gifted time that I can properly listen and interpret the whispers in the dark, the secret languages, and the music of the evening stars that visit me. That my neurons fire correctly and that I don’t spend my time on things that aren’t worth my while when I should be “listening to the crickets”*.

So pardon this brief interruption: hopefully I will be back with more excerpts of the stories I’ve barely nudged along here. Hopefully I can explain how marble drugstore counters felt to Adam when he was a bory. How he used to run the length of them with his long hands several times before stopping, and especially how he took exactly three large breaths as he did so, so he could fully smell the ice cream cones just waiting behind the counter. Maybe I’ll be gifted more eloquence. I hope so. I need to do right by these fine people. I feel like they would do the same for me.

*”Listening to the crickets”: When I was quite small and living in Marietta, Georgia, I had a bit of an obsession with hiding. My father was out-of-town during the week and when he returned on the weekend, my mother would have us run, hide, and surprise him. I couldn’t stop playing the game, and hid so well that on more than one occasion the whole neighborhood was looking for me. One muggy summer evening, my sister Barbara found me hiding in some juniper bushes (I remember their heady, sticky smell). When asked what I was doing, why hadn’t I answered, everyone was so worried etc etc I replied, “I was listening to the crickets. They were talking to me.” I use this memory and that term (coined by four year old me) to describe my behavior and state of mind when I get into a creative stupor. I hope to listen to the crickets often in the coming weeks.

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"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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