Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29th

The temperature dropped all day yesterday.

Yesterday morning, Keith and I woke up in a tent, huddled close to keep warm, and bleary-eyed. Our camping neighbors had played rap music that night until two in the morning.

I was so tired that I fell into a kind of half sleep, the music becoming my dream's continuous sound track. I dreamed of them dancing between their campers, beers held high. In my dream, they were going to war and this was their ceremonial dance before the slaughter.

There must be some strong subconscious connection that I make between mudding and potential violence.

There was also country rap. Here is a sample for your listening enjoyment:

Mud on the outside, clean on the inside.
Mud on the outside, clean on the inside.
Mud on the outside, clean on the inside.
Mud on the outside, clean on the inside.

You can't even see my paint job!

Stirring, yes?

We rode up a creek bed, Keith having convinced me that I wouldn't get wet.

I know, I know. Put like that, it just sounds silly. But he was so excited.

We reached a bend in the creek where one poor fellow was up to his chest in water, the back wheels of his machine completely submerged. Other riders began piling up there; they leaned forward on their handlebars and watched with good humored comments, beer in hand.

Eventually the first fellow got unstuck, allowing the next guy to become stuck. He in turn was pulled out. The third guy made it through, but he was driving a beast of a machine with a wide stance and a roll cage.

Then it was our turn to get stuck. Keith stood knee deep in creek water beside our partially submerged ATV and looked up at me.

"I did not see that coming," he said.

I would have laughed, except that I was also wet to the knees.

He winched the machine out and we made our way further on down river, the trees arching over the creek like a tunnel of redneck love, the leaves dropping down through the air, carpeting the surface of the water with golden coins.

Keith was not satisfied until we had turned around and faced the sink hole again. This time he powered through, the wheels spinning up white water.

Yesterday morning, my sneakers were still wet. They're wet now, and waiting their turn in the laundry.

Our house in Colorado still has no lease. I never thought that we'd be going into November without a new lease. It's never taken this long to rent before.

For two months now, Keith has been carrying two mortgages and all the household bills on the shoulders of his one salary. It's a heavy load and requires a fair amount of fiscal discipline, but he is able to do it.

It's astonishing, actually, and evidence of Keith's work ethic, all the Army schools he has excelled in and over a decade of service to his country, including three deployments. It also helps that we paid off all our debt, and that he has an uncanny instinct for buying and selling vehicles on the side.

It now seems possible that we could be going into December without a lease. For the first time ever, we have actually talked about possibility of selling the house, which is the worst case scenario.

This is all very stressful.

On another note, I have been writing like no body's business. I have started four or five new stories, including the allegory.

I am also in the process of rereading and editing Torii, as I am going to be sending it to a friend. Already I have cleaned up a great deal of the narrative.

It would be great if, this time around, I could actually write Torii's ending. We'll see.

I keep getting distracted from this work by my desire to work on the newer stories.

First beginning a story is like falling in love. I find myself wanting at all times to be within the story. I spend hours thinking about it; it keeps me up at night.

I want to write my way right into the warm and disturbing heart of the story, and I am trying to let myself, to a greater degree than I have in my previous stories. As a result, these stories have a kind of primal, unsettling feel to them.

The first version of Torii had that same feeling, before I went in and completely changed its entire tone. Now I wonder if maybe it would have made a better story if I had worked with the original draft.

I still think it's a powerful story. It's just wearing too much clothing, or something. It's as though it's too civilized.

Now I want to write as nakedly as possible.

I saw this quote recently and thought, yes, exactly:

"In art, either as creators or participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we are asked to endure, we who are children of God by adoption and grace."

-Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water

Thank goodness I am writing. I don't know where else I would put all this anxious energy.