When Words Step Out For a Walk
by Andrew Rafalski
edited: Friday, May 17, 2002
Posted: Friday, May 17, 2002
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I hear a clock ticking “write… write… write…”
29 March 2001, Thursday, Chicago
9 A.M and all seems well on the surface. Overcast day. Airplane’s fading drone in the distant background. Loud clock on the bookshelf ticking “write… write… write…” Ha, ha, guilty imagination acting up with hints from inanimate objects.
Started reading “The Sibyl” by Par Lagerqvist. Fantastic and absorbing tale! Now here is a guy who won the Nobel prize for literature in 1951, yet in my seventeen years of schooling I never heard of him! Just discovered him by accident in a bookstore one day. He is not American or English so I guess that’s why we don’t know about him in the U.S. He is Swedish. The story is fascinating. I also read his “Pilgrim at Sea” – equally entrancing. (Auth. Note: Lagervist’s books are available in English, and I recommend them if you want to read something “different.”)
Set the coffee pot. Now I hear a dove? Cooing somewhere outside probably on a window ledge. It’s the kind of sad beckoning cooing that doves do. I’ve heard it lots of times around old world cities, courtyards and parks. What’s the other more common word for “dove”? I’m getting forgetful with words. I know the words but some of them like to slip away from memory temporarily (Hello this is “word.” I’m stepping out of memory for a while. Out for a walk. I could pop back in anytime, don’t wait for me) I find this when I’m writing. Some I recall after a bit of concentration (they’re just out on the porch, so they hear me calling). Others stay hidden (they are gone down the street, or maybe the mall, or the pub, wherever words go when they slip out of memory).
April will soon be here, and maybe a more assertive spring as well. So far it has been wintry through all of March... “Pigeon!” -- that’s the word I wanted up there. It just popped in by itself (ok I’m back!) with no effort while I started on another thought thread entirely. Why should “pigeon” slip from memory while “dove” stay in?
Often things in life come the same way. You get your mind off your concern. Concentrate on work or something else entirely, and your “forgotten” need will materialize unexpectedly, sometimes from a surprising source. That is how I met my wife. I had given up looking for women. I figured I could be just as happy (happier maybe?) being single. I was going out that Monday night, to the race track I think. I got a call from a friend. “Hey I have this chick visiting from out of town. I’d like to introduce you to her.” Well… uhm…I was just going out, but…uhh, okay, maybe… You twisted my arm. I stay home. They come by later in the evening, and my search for a woman was over. She literally walked into my house, my life, unexpectedly. Haven’t been to a race track since.
Better get the coffee now… Takes time for me to get cranked up in the morn… Back to daily life grind, garnished with writing – my poetry and friction.
… and the clock on the shelf continues… “write… write… write…”
Copyright © 2001 by Andrew Rafalski