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  • “And the poets down here don’t write nothin’ at all
    They just stand back and let it all be
    And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment
    And try to make an honest stand
    But they wind up wounded, not even dead”

    Bruce Springsteen, “Jungleland”

    For many years, I didn’t write much, beyond keeping a journal. I didn’t, and I don’t, really consider myself a writer. It’s just something I like to do, but I don’t like to do it if I don’t feel like I have something to say.
  • Once when Mom was visiting, after Dad had died and was interred in the Columbarium in Arlington, she and I took a drive over there on a Sunday afternoon, and I thought it would be nice to listen to one of Dad’s tapes he made of his book of family stories. She agreed, and so we listened to Dad on the way to and from Arlington, where we visited his “place of rest” at Arlington.

    As we pulled into the driveway upon our return, and I stopped the car and popped the tape out of the tape deck, she shook her head with a sardonic smile, and said, “Imagine the EGO of that man – to think that ANYONE would be interested in all that crap!”

    I was really taken aback. I’d had no idea she felt that way about Dad’s writing, his stories. I would subequently learn that she took issue with a lot of the creative license he employed in his stories, not unlike how my wife takes issue with some of the things that I might have a fuzzy memory on, so I just tell like I remember it, and do occasionally get a fact or three wrong. I don’t, and I don’t think Dad did, intentionally alter any facts. It’s just how I remember it.

    Ironically, when I began to write my stories here on Cowbird a year ago, my brother Chris would print some of the stories out and read them to Mom, and she became one of my biggest fans. She loved my stories, and would talk about them, and about my writing. That really helped me to feel like I really did have something to say.
  • I just don’t like to write for the sake of writing. I have to feel like there is something to say. However, it often requires just sitting down and beginning to write from a thin thread of thought, to reveal what it is that I actually have to say. That is how nearly every story I write begins. The story reveals itself to me as I go.

    At any given point, the story could go in a number of different directions, and I get to choose which direction I think will be most interesting, or has the most pertinent things to say.

    Sometimes, the same thread will lead to numerous stories. Sometimes, it’s a dead end, and winds up in the “unifinshed thoughts” file in my Word memory. Months later, I might pick it up, and now it’s ready to reveal itself.

    Today, I write because I do feel like I have something to say. It’s nothing great, nothing brilliant, and I still don’t consider myself a “writer”. It’s just something that I like to do.
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