Scrive Diem

Many years ago, one pit-digging day (Ah, pit-digging day. One of the most hallowed days of the year. The Friday before the first Saturday after the first full moon in July. Big dogs with dirty tongues, kegs of beer, shovels, and campfires. Twenty years after the first pit-diggig day celebration, four of the five key participants contribute to this blog), I lamented to Jess that none of us present had a camera.

“Some people make history,” he said, “others record it.”

This blog shows pretty well which side of that divide I have landed on. Other people go to bars to drink with their friends; I go to bars to watch people and write about them. Keith asked if thinking about how I’m going to record an event alters the way I experience it. (Actually, I don’t think he was talking about me in particular, he made some comment about quality or some other nonsense.)

I may not be the one to answer a question like that in the first place. You have to understand that when I write, “I’m in the Cheap Beer Place…” I really am in the Cheap Beer Place, right then, as I’m writing it. (I’m in the Cheap Beer Place right now. Tall Brunette Slivovice-Pusher has been replaced by Little Blonde Cutie. LBC is new here, and hasn’t been around enough to earn anything more than a purely descriptive nickname.) In general, I’m not just thinking about how I might record the experience, I’m actively recording it. I’m like the photographer at the wedding – I’m not really part of the festivities at all. When I’m not writing about the events and people around me, I’m writing about the events and people in my head, who are usually more interesting.

Still, there are times I go out without my laptop. Those times aren’t frequent, and I always have a moment of panic when I leave a place without my backpack. Phantom laptop syndrome. When the laptop is closed, however, I can usually stop writing and enjoy the moment. When I’m having an interesting conversation, I’m not thinking about how to describe it later. If I’m hanging in a bar watching sports on TV, that’s pretty much all I’m doing. In the words of Pink Floyd, I have amazing powers of concentration. That means I’m either all the way with you or all the way gone. If my head is somewhere else, I can still struggle along with a conversation, but it is frustrating for both parties.

There are times when I’ve realized that someone was talking to me, but I was someplace else entirely. Once you get to know me you start to recognize the faraway look that tells you I’m writing at the moment, even if it looks like I’m staring into space. Those are the moments when Amy and Melinda would steal my shoes.

One place you can just forget about me is at a live concert when the music is good. I don’t know what it is about those events, but as soon as the band starts to blow I disconnect from the place entirely. Occasionally I’ll think about writing about the concert, but more often I’m off in some fiction-world, either one built from scratch just for the occasion, or one already under construction. Unless the music’s really, really, good. Then I’m in the concert hall and a fully participating member of the band. Either way my friends are ignored unless the music sucks.

Some people make history, other people record it. Some, a very few, make history by recording it well. That’s what I’m shooting for.

10 thoughts on “Scrive Diem

  1. “Make history by recording it well.” Mmmm. There’s a discussion point.

    Let’s take an example: The picture of the Marines raising the flag on Mt Suribachi on Iwo Jima. The photographer did not make the historical event of 3 weeks of horrific fighting, incredible bravery against a determined and well-fortified defense; that honor belongs to the marines who fought and died to make that photograph possible. And yet the iconic nature of the photograph, of the scene which the photographer most certainly did make (that was not the actual first raising of the flag, but one done specifically to be photographed and record the event), has come to represent that historical event to Americans ever since.

    Did the photographer make history by recording it well?

  2. And there was one other fact about that flag raising that I find interesting. There were seven Marines raising that flag, but only six of them were American. The seventh guy was Czech.

    Just recently I saw a reference in a news article to the six Marines raising the flag. Was the Czech canceled? Did the writers of that article decide that since he wasn’t a U.S. citizen, he didn’t count?

  3. It seems like it has been quite a while since we’ve heard any news from Arkansas.

    What are the doings in Diddlyville? What is happening in Hog Hollow?

  4. Long summer days pull the bell stop
    for the frosted terminus
    Seasons’ cycle, the blogs run cold
    muddled ramblings caches its nuts
    and holes up for NaNoWriMo

    5 O’Clock Somewhere steams on,
    a new load of coal and freight
    but the commenting passengers
    disembark at the depot of change

    fuego has banked its embers
    no entries of late
    perhaps writing a new play:
    “Springtime for Donuts”
    we must wait

    You can’t get a haircut anymore
    the pants of disco unlaundered
    the blog stops dead
    at new life
    When will it toddle forward?

    blog addict shivers –
    is it November’s cold or the shakes?
    he’ll take a fix from anywhere;
    man. anywhere.
    Where is that link to Keith’s blog again?
    he’s desperate.

  5. Excellent work, F-G-F! There are new episodes percolating, and now that I am a mere few hours’ work from the last release of Jer’s Novel Writer for the month, things should be picking up.

    ‘Course, it’s November.

  6. F-G-F,
    An excellent expression of a sentiment I share. Now is the season of our discontent. I had hoped your repartee might stir the masses where my polemics failed, but alas both our attempts seemed to have died on the vine, unable to overcome inertia.

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