Friday, May 7, 2010

"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:

"For Russ"

Russ? Rusty?
Fleeting real.

Chosen words not wasted. In the moment of nothing to say...

a polite smile with nothing for or against.

Open to the world
looking forward...
always -


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.


shannon said...

For the past 4 months I have been training for a marathon. Tomorrow is the big day, so my only activity today will be checking out blogs. I noticed one of your interests was ultramarathoning. I watched a YouTube video yesterday of Scott Jurek. He placed first in Badwater (135-miler) in 2006. I give you guys and enormous amount of credit. Depending on how tomorrow goes, maybe an ultra will be in my future too.

Gretchen said...

Whoa. Good stuff! Poetry, fear, writing and beer slinging. Yeah, I like it.