There’s something to be said for not writing.
This. Coming from a writer.
Shut-ins who function as writers may disagree with me, but I sense there’s a fine line between writing and living.
I say this as I watch the home-schooled boy, who lives across the street from my house, ride his scooter around and around my circular driveway.
He’s about 10 or 11 and incapable of exploring our neighborhood on foot. He’s glued to his scooter. When other boys his age are tied to their desks at school, this boy is outside, tearing around Coffee Pot Bayou on an aluminum scooter.
I think he loves my driveway because it has a slight slope and provides a thrilling change in elevation on an otherwise flat ride.
He has no idea I’m watching him from my office window.
Sometimes I wonder what he’s thinking, as if I forget what it’s like to be a daydreaming kid.
I have not forgotten what it’s like to be a daydreaming kid.
It’s clouds and Popsicle sticks. Big words in poetry books. Splices of sunlight and windburned cheeks. Ankle socks and white Keds. Ease and perpetual un-worry.
Sometimes in moments of anxiety or frustration I lose sight of these things, but the flicker of memories is always there like a tingly bundle of neurons tucked inside a lock box, stored somewhere in my head for safe keeping, at my disposal whenever I need to pull from it.
As a kid, all that concerned me were the things I could see and feel in fleeting windows of time, marked by what I had studied that day in school, by what my mother had packed in my Igloo lunchbox, by what chapters I had read in a particular Judy Blume book, by what boy had captured my attention, by the pop song lyrics stuck in my head. The taste of red Kool-Aid.
I used to ride a scooter too. Around and around my parent’s driveway. It was purple. Skidding up and down the driveway, I would get lost for hours in my head, making up stories ruled by the forces of magic and imagination, not realizing at the time how these daydreams would shape me, how well these fantasies would serve me, how material things could never eclipse my capacity to think, how in my head I would always have everything I’d ever need.
Remember in the Shawshank Redemption when Andy locks himself in the jail library and blasts Mozart over the PA system? Remember how he says there are places in the world that aren’t made of stone? That no one can ever take away how you feel when you listen to music; that it will always be yours wherever you are?
This is how I feel about storytelling.
Even when I’m not doing it.