I’ve spent the better part of a week trying to, but I can’t. Everything that I thought of either sounded silly, smart-alek, or obtuse. When I did finally like something, it was taken, locally at that. In the end I decided that this is not a blog that’s trying to sell any concept other than ME. Yes, it’s trying to show that I can write and have something of an imagination. Yes, if I don’t have the imagination to come up with a cool, poetic title for my blog, then maybe I’m screwed. But then again, I’m not claiming to be a poet. So, when I awoke from a nap today and thought about what I was going do for the next few hours I realized there was no need for a fancy title but quite simply a descriptive title. These are words I’ve used many a time when chatting with on-line friends or acquaintances. (You can tell I’m old because I still insist on putting the hyphen in on-line). I say I scribble (vs. write, and delving into that is well beyond the scope of this post), and I tell everyone I’m in bayou country (because I am). These words have just become habit. So why go looking for something flashy or flowery like “Dreaming of Alligator Sentences on the Word Bayou” (no, that wasn’t one of them, I just thought it sounded funny) when it isn’t about that? Shouldn’t it reflect me, not some ideal me?
Yes. (In case you were confused)
So, there it is. K.C. Dockal who is Scribbling by the Bayou. It’s what I do. I started to use “scribblin’” but oh, that’s just so cutesy and sometimes cutesy turns my stomach.
Fortunately, the title is long enough that I can’t add “and using a lot of parentheses,” although it would be accurate.
I’ve been grieving since Monday, August 11. In this time, I’ve written and rewritten a short-short ghost story, but the ending eluded me. Without an ending, there really is no story. I don’t mean putting it in a nice box and with a bow; I mean just giving it words that inform the reader, “This is all I have left to say.” I couldn’t find those words no matter how hard I stared at the two pages of story, or meditated on it, or lay with eyes closed trying to picture its scenes. Nothing said, “Here! Right here! These are the words for which you are looking.” So I put my story aside and wallowed in grief some more. I watched some wonderful old videos and some bad, distracting television. I did some hardanger. I tried not to think about those two pages.
Wednesday night Husband and I went on our nightly two-mile walk and I asked him for input on the story. He talked about the ghosts in the story and how sometimes ghosts haunt people “in a positive way.” That didn’t help me directly but I liked the theory. I’ve certainly thought about it plenty of times and I’ve written stories in the past that have drawn on it though I’ve never made much of those stories.
We arrived home and I took one last look at that danged short-short. As I read it, I thought of Husband’s comment and of a “good haunting” and thought how I hope Robin Williams could look down now and see that thousands of schlubs like me thought he was amazing and inspirational. I carried these thoughts in parallel as I read through those two pages, thinking of ghosts and death and trying to find the clue in my piece to finish that damn story.
Suddenly it was there.
Two or three words in the piece jumped out at me and I knew how to end it. They had nothing to do with ghosts or haunting (or comedy) but were entirely independent of those thoughts. I raced to get a pen, scratched the ending on the page and set about cleaning up for the night.
I was struck, however, by the strong sense of not having found the ending but having it presented to me.
It isn’t a new or unique idea, the thought that when a person dies, their energy goes out into the world. Different belief systems have embraced it for centuries. As I got ready for bed I had to ask, why not? Why couldn’t the energy of someone brilliant be making its rounds throughout the world, touching the fevered creative minds of those trying to paint pictures, sculpt forms, write plays or books? Why can’t that energy be a catalyst in the universe: a spiritual butterfly effect in which it bounces off one particle in space and from there spreads out and makes its way to League City over three days where a struggling writer says, “Damn, I’m going to miss that guy. I wish I had one-tenth of his genius. Maybe then I could finish this damn story.” Poof! That particle tweaks a neuron where the idea has been hiding and the neuron fires and the idea is ready to go on the page.
Why the hell not?
About twenty more pages of thoughts followed from that thought but I will spare everyone. Besides, as I said, these are not new ideas: positive thinking, getting back what you put into the universe, blah blah blah. Much of it is just downright controversial and I’m no philosopher, just a writer thinking about how I got my story ending.
Well, I have my ending. I had, I know, Husband’s help most of all. Perhaps I also had a stray subatomic particle that leapt from the bounds of that wild, brilliant soul and, in a roundabout way, struck a nerve.