"Does writing ever scare you?"
He asked me this as I sipped my beer beside him at the bar. That is to say, Seamus posed to me this question.
I honestly didn't have a witty or intelligent answer. Sure, when I write, I sometimes feel apprehensive about a direction I've taken (just ask my 1/3 finished second novel sitting on this hard drive), but overall, I simply let it come out and go with it.
Although you can ask my wife about the time I was reading a Stephen King novel and tossed it to the floor in frustration, whining that I'll never ever be this good a writer.
Yeah. THAT Stephen King.
Seamus - with his wife Barbara - is a regular at the County Cork Public House where I sling beers and fish and chips. He's affable, quirky, sometimes can get a little too friendly, but I always had a feeling that deep inside that rambling, dad-joking persona, there rested the heart of a poet.
So I sat there with my IPA in hand with no answer to his question. He cleared his throat and tossed out his own 2 pennies worth:
"Well, I think a writer SHOULD be scared. It means he's going into an uncomfortable place, which is where your creativity lives."
Well, dammit, I thought, if that isn't the mother-effing truth.
I turned to talk to another regular about the baseball game playing out on the set, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw Seamus grab a bar napkin and a pen. Within a minutes, he handed me a brown napkin, and written in sloppy scrawl on it was the following:
Fleeting moments...contact real.
Chosen words not wasted. In the moment of nothing to say...
a polite smile with nothing for or against.
Open to the world
In that moment, with the flash of his crooked smile and not so much as a spoken word, the poet had revealed himself to me.