WIND AND INTENT

Sometimes I’ll finish something, and immediately think:

Man seriously fuck this.”

And no, I didn’t forget a comma there.

There’s no comma intended, between “Man” and “seriously”.

Man seriously fuck this.”

It’s one quick utterance.

The degree of emphasis on “seriously” is also an indication of how much I dislike whatever it is that tumbled out of the metaphorical chute.

I don’t think it’s the work itself, really, that prompts the angsty utterance. I think it’s just that, sometimes, the artist inside is asleep at the wheel, and I feel as though I’m forcing it. Either he’s going through the motions, or he’s straight-up jerking with one hand and half-heartedly drawing with the other.

Switching gears on those occasions can be a welcome relief, when the ol’ windbag of a writer has something to say and is waiting patiently in line for his turn.

*ahem*

A few years ago, one random Tuesday night, I was high out of my mind and watching Better Call Saul.

You must realize, if you watch it… that the show is all about communication.

Would you agree that words are the building blocks of communication?

Body language plays it’s part, yes, but mainly it illustrates our disposition, mood, and enthusiasm (or lack of it). Those are static factors, though, easily encapsulated by an adjective or two: happy, sad, confused, ecstatic, sleepy, tired, elated, etc. It’s when we speak, and choose our words, however, that people’s mind switch gears away from reading our body language to the meat of the conversation.

And words are powerful things.

Rooted several inches into the couch as I was, I began to see Saul and his brother’s interactions quite differently than ever before.

I saw how they competed, passively at times, and directly at others… and all verbally.

Think about that a moment.

I saw the words flowing from their mouths: nothing more than wind and intent.

Was it really so simple?

Is it really… just… those two things?

I recalled the slow summers of my childhood and the sight and sound of windchimes outside front porches, swaying with the breeze.

Have you ever sat down for a half hour or so, closed your eyes, and simply listened to windchimes?

I’ve never felt they’re particularly… happy.

They’re a little… sad. Mournful. Am I wrong? Have you heard bright, chipper windchimes that made you feel otherwise?

That occasion, Saul and his brother seemed to me like windchimes distorting the air around them.

They argued. Compromised. Yelled. Debated. Planned. Criticized. Joked.

As I said: wind, and intent.

I imagined them both as statues in the desert, echoing their words through blue, clay shells… bleached nearly white by the sun overhead.

This month past month several people took the time to compliment my writing, and my voice. That’s always a source of surprise to me when it happens: I’ve always been an artist, first and foremost. The praise I’ve received, especially early in life, was for visual feats, hard fought and accomplished with grit and tongue clenching determination.

When people compliment my writing, though, or my voice itself, I quickly become wrong-footed, and only the most rudimentary form of thanks comes to mind, which always feels inadequate.

Shit like: “Oh, well thank you”, and then I’ll smile dopishly.

Or, even better: “Ah, thanks, that’s nice of you to say.”

With art, my reaction is usually always the same: “Yeah? Thanks! What did you like about it?”

But a compliment on my writing? Or my voice?

I feel uncomfortable echoing the same sentiment, so I fumble around, not wishing to invite further attention on… myself, I guess?

There are some things we appreciate compliments on, and yes, some things we don’t. Right?

With regards to writing and speaking, and in improving in either, I’ve always felt one must develop a knack for sifting through a lot of the bad advice that’s thrown around, and spotting the true gems.

My all-time favorite, which I’ve mentioned before, is from Hemingway:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Welp, how about I confide something in you.

How about I tell you something uniquely personal and private.

Not every woman I’ve become involved with liked my art, and that’s fine, I get it, we all have different tastes. But, every woman I’ve become involved with has complimented my chest hair.

…can you believe that?

What a stupid fucking thing to get compliments on.

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