“Might I have a word?”

What do you do when the words run out, when it would seem that there is nothing left to say? There are many situations when one might experience this phenomenon, and in many of them perhaps acceptance is the best approach. Say your piece, acknowledge the silence, turn and walk away. Other times, one might feel that there is nothing left to say but at the same time experience some nagging feeling that something –some extraneous thought perhaps- is still creeping around, waiting to be voiced. One might also consider the opposite, but seemingly related scenario, where one really has nothing to say but babbles on nonetheless.

I started this blog-thing with no particular purpose in mind. I missed writing in a creative fashion and decided to try my hand at it again; I never fancied that I was really any good it. Sure I rather liked some of the things I had written in the past and feel similarly about some of the things I have written here, but that is a far cry from claiming any sort of competence; but again, that is not what I was going for. I was not really “going for” anything. Just writing to get some of the thoughts out of my head I guess.

So now a week has passed since the last post. All quiet on the northern front. However, it is not so much that I have found myself with nothing left to say. I have started a few ramblings in that relatively brief period, but they were disjointed and more rambling than usual. I could not seem to get them off the ground. There are still plenty of thoughts swarming around in my head, but of late they have turned somewhat more…introspective? …personal? … intimate?… not sure of the best word here.

Winter has settled in. The temperatures do not tend to get much above zero, if they get above zero at all. The darkness closes in as we lose six-plus minutes of daylight each day. The steady march towards the winter solstice. It has been difficult for me to think about building. That is a very external enterprise and winter can cause one to turn inwards. But that is not it…not completely. I know what it is like to turn inwards and while I am more contemplative of late it is not the ponderous, heavy contemplation that winter can often bring. The weather is not so harsh that I am driven inward completely. In fact I have been on long walk/jogs with the dogface the past couple of days and it has been great; just not really worthy of writing about…but then what is? Why do we write? I agonized over this question once in one of my old journals. Seems a silly question now. Perhaps at times we have a preponderance of words. Who knows.

For a few months in the middle of the winter of 1997/98 I was living with my mom and her husband in Indiana. I had just returned from 6 months of screwing around overseas and was broke. I quickly found work at this wretched little “family” restaurant nearby run by this bastard of a man who liked to berate his underpaid, young, female wait staff in public. Treated his wife the same way…embezzled from his own operation to fund trips back home to Greece and then would blame his wife for stealing the money to cover his ass…in public. I hated that job but it was a necessary evil as I was trying to make enough money to get me a one way ticket back to Alaska. I had left the previous winter when the place I was working had to close due to a lack of business. I ended up in Death Valley first. Made some money, did some climbing, and met a girl. She was from South Africa and had recently graduated from college. She was on a work visa which was soon to run out. She was not anxious to return home.

The previous autumn, my sister and her boyfriend at the time had fled Anchorage for warmer climes. They landed in New Zealand. I thought to go find them and suggested to the girl that she meet me there. On a whim. It seemed like a good idea to me and she agreed. Three months later we were in Wellington, both on tourist visas that were soon to run out. We had tried to find work in an effort to stay longer, but it did not pan out. She suggested I change my return ticket and travel with her to her home outside of Johannesburg. On a whim I agreed. Three months later we were living in her parents’ home. I had tried to find work and it could have panned out but the whole business was sort of awkward, I was getting homesick for Talkeetna. She bought me a ticket back to Indiana and I never saw her again. We talked for awhile, but things fell apart and then we did not talk any more. Sometimes there is nothing left to say.

So I endure the terrible bastard and his shitty restaurant. I buy another plane ticket and convince a friend to fetch me at the airport in Anchorage that I may return to Talkeetna. In winter… still with very little money and few prospects. There will be work, but not until spring. Another friend recently bought some land which has a tiny cabin on it. He lets me stay there. It has no power and no water and I have no vehicle. It was a spartan life for a few months. I walked a lot. I ate little. Work did come with the spring, with the mountain climbers…back before Talkeetna changed into what it is today.

The work was the midnight baking job I have mentioned. I also got back into disk jockeying at the local radio station. I met the dogface and we became friends. I met a few other dog lovers and we became friends…of sorts. I spent a lot of time hiking and hanging around by the river taking photographs. I also wrote quite a bit. Winter rolled around again and I ended up in a play where I met a woman. We spent the next year or so together; the two of us, her son, my dog , her two dogs and two cats, in a cabin with no water and no power (at first) that her ex had built. It was a bit awkward. Things did not work out and I fled. We stayed in touch and I did return. She had moved to another cabin in another town while I was away. She drove to meet me in Canada as I was en route from points further south. We returned to find her rented cabin a smoldering ruin…burned to the ground. There was no insurance and no investigation and so no explanation.

Sometimes there are no words.

We moved to Fairbanks and bought a cabin. Her and I, her son, my dog and her two dogs…the cats died in the fire.  She enrolled in school and I tried to find work. We forced the issue for a couple of years and then returned to Talkeetna. Things were awkward and eventually I fled…again.

Eventually I would return to the cabin in Fairbanks. I would go to school. We would try again and finally let it go. We are still friends, although we do not talk that much anymore. Sometimes there is not much to say. In that time I got a job in my field; a summer job. There was a field romance that sort of tried to develop but never really worked out. Then I graduated and tried to settle down. I met someone else and it worked for awhile, in fact I thought it was working out OK. But then there were too few words and then there were too many and that too was over. Sometimes words can be really nasty.

I guess what I am getting at is that sometimes there are no words. Sometimes you do not know what words to use or how to use them. Sometimes you use the wrong words or say the right ones all wrong. Sometimes it can make you want to stop trying all together…with the words thing. But then for some reason you decide to try again. You try to find the right words, or sometimes just say what seems right. Sometimes you do not have to try; the words just manifest. Sometimes you know the words but are too damn afraid to say them. Sometimes the words are best written.

So here I am writing all of these words and knowing that they may lead to more…one way or another. Writing to you about me and wondering if I am of the babbling sort at this point…the one using too many words.

Anyways, there you have it. Just over 1500 words…for no damn reason.

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2 thoughts on ““Might I have a word?”

  1. The ambivalence you are expressing here toward words/talking/writing reminds me of Pink Floyd’s “Keep Talking.” I think the art of expression is like so many other crafts: your muse and your accomplishments ebb and flow over time. It’s rare that you meet a virtuoso of words whose worst writings still shine on the bad days. Probably most of the good writers have crap lying around that they were too embarrassed even to publish, crap that they did publish because they needed to express themselves no matter how feeble it came across, and the occasional profound work. Now that you’re seemingly beyond the initial pulse of your first few blog entries, there will probably be downtimes of uninspired writing, but I doubt it’s the last pulse. At least, I hope it’s not.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement Will. I think I will keep trying and also try not to get hung up on a time-frame.

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