Getting the Junk Out

Getting the junk outta your writing.

A man lunging a horse in western gear.

The image above leads me to a story. There is a point I promise. So let us wander into the fog of yesterday’s memories.

We see a man in a round ring with a little girl about 8 or 9 outside the fence watching intently. Sweat darkens the horse’s sorral (red) coat almost black. The steady sound of hooves thump the ground. The easy manner of the man holding the rope tied to the horse’s halter. He watches both horse and child.

Come here.” He beckons the child. He stands her in front of him and gives her the rope. He guides her fingers into a loose but firm grip. Silently he steps back watching them work together. She is focused on the horse and keeping her grip on the rope. She doesn’t realize he has backed up and she alone is controling an animal easily 5 times her size.

Alright turn her and go counter clockwise.” She turns to him and looses focus. The horse sensing the lack stops and turns towards the fence. “Now what are you going to do?”

She looks at him and the horse. The rope is limp and long in her tiny hands. She tries to pull the horse’s head to her. The mare fights the rope. She closes the distance between her and the horse. A knowing eye stays focused on the back feet and the ears.

Both are relaxed, although the horse is resting on three feet. The other back foot is tipped up, the girl knows that would be the kicking foot. She mumbles to the mare. Finally at the horse’s head, she tries to pull the mare away from the fence.

Come on Miley. Just a lil longer. Please” she whispers to the horse.

A great brown eye studies her young handler. She noses the girl and allows herself to be led back the middle of the ring. She patiently awaits the comands the rope and man will give her. A blade of grass catches her fancy and she leans down for a snack.

Okay so now what have we learned? Other than I was an avivd horse lover back in the day. And lunging was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn.

According to my dad, lunging is how to get the junk out of the horse. His definition of junk was getting the horse past the “I don’t wanna work” mentality to the “It’s work time” mentality. And if you know anything about horses is they are all about the “don’t wanna” rather than the “let’s do this”.

As writers, we need a lunging/getting the junk out period. It focuses our inner brain and gets us ready to work. For the last several months I was bogged down trying to write. But I couldn’t focus beyond a few words. Fed up I opened up a new document and titled it “Junk Writing” and I spent an hour or so writing. Getting out the worries, fears, agravations of life, writing and doing stupid people tricks for my dogs. After that hour, I felt so light, and focused.

I started working an outline for a story. In fact that outline is posted to this blog under the Broken Writer post. I still haven’t figured out what is wrong with it yet. Maybe one day. Anyway once I got my brain settled into the work time mentality the words came easy. Or as easy as they ever do.

So next time you find yourself staring off into space try a mental luunging period and see if it helps. We don’t have to be great to get started. We just have to get started to be great. Thank you Mr. Les Brown for my writing motto.

Cheers, james

Character Sketch

“What can I get for you?” She eyed the man slouched in the booth. “Hey mister you ok?”

“I’m fine. Coffee and a slice of apple pie.” He grimaced and clutched his stomach. The pain killer wasn’t working. The waitress eyed him, and he tried to smile at her. She recoiled from his expression.

“I’ll be right back with your order.” He nodded his thanks.

“Hey Bozo whatcha doing taking up our booth and our girl?”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me clown man.”

“So help me if you don’t quit bothering my customers I will boot you outta here. Shoo Dwayne.” The waitress didn’t reach his shoulder, yet he hung his head.

“Aww come on Shelly I was only funning with him. Don’t be like that.”

“Dwayne if I have told you once I have told you a million times. No pie for you tonight. Here you go mister. Coffee and a nice slice of apple pie.”

“Shelly you know apple’s my favorite. Please Shelly.”

The waitress waggled her finger at him, the big man sighed and headed for the door. Several other patrons snickered in his direction. A glance from Shelly had them studying their plates with vigor.

“Ma’am that was quite impressive. I haven’t seen a fellow scolded like that since my mama did the same thing to my daddy. You ain’t never seen a more broken hearted feller. Except her specialty was peach cobbler.” He sighed at the memory and tucked into his pie. “Name’s Gavin, pleasure to meet you.”

“Shelly, pleased to meet you. You feeling alright? You look a mite pale.”

“Yes ma’am. Just a little accident with a horse and the ground.”

Do you journal?

Since joining the Innovative Journaling Facebook group I’ve noticed journalers seem to cover every walk of life. One member has been journaling over thirty years and has a whole bookshelf for the journals. At the same time there are men, women, young people all keeping a record of moments in time. There are some awesome journalers that draw, paint and use other methods of media. A lot of them are long time fountain pen users or novice fountain pen-ers, of which I fall into. In fact I ordered three Hero medium nib fountain pens. Lot of mixed reviews on these pens, but all agree they are a great starter pen. So this weekend maybe I can get to a Michaels for some ink. I don’t think my local Staples sells bottled ink. The pens I have are ones that you fill directly from the bottle. Wish me luck on finding the ink locally and getting started learning to use a fountain pen.

In my journal I write on a Barnes and Noble 6×8 lined journal refill in a green Wilson leather cover. So I never thought about sketching or painting or anything else, but write in it. Then I got my Primer journal from Innovative Journaling with the scariest thing, unlined paper. I have always steered away from unlined paper because my writing isn’t straight and travels slanted across the page. But it was a small page and I decided I would try and if I couldn’t bear looking at the results I could … you know. Anyway since then I’ve written smaller, neater and yeah my lines wiggle and wobble. I feel freer like those lined pages were jailers bars imprisoning my creative flow.

I used to try and keep a daily journal over the years, but I have settled into more of a important thing vs daily. Weird dreams, life events, needing to vent and exlode without restraint, those are the big things I write about. Then the days I feel restless as if the words are right under my skin crawling about and I have to write them out. Okay that is kinda super creepy. Lol.

So my question to you is do journal? Daily, big stuff, little stuff, for your kids, or for future you or future generations? Lined vs unlined paper, writing, sketching, doodling, painting, scrapebooking? All of it counts, all of it records a snapshot of our thoughts at that time and place.  Cheers, james