1/31/09 – diminish


            Well, I’m back. Ha. I like to start off the page with that, it seems. Look through my other notebooks; you’ll find it a lot.            

            So. This morning I woke up and, after listening to Adventures in Odyssey, I read Fellowship of the Ring for a bit. There was a strange feeling as I did, looking at the way sentences flowed, the feeling behind them (I used to say that Tolkien had no feeling in his writing. I was wrong), how they worked and moved. It was cool. As I then sat down to look at Proverbs, I felt a bit of ink at my fingertips, and although my two short paragraphs in Journal #5 were short, they were writing. They were a bit wetter than most of what I’ve written so far. Hopefully that’s a good sign.            

            Today I think I’m going to take whatever word I find and use it to describe a person. Books aren’t just action; that is a screenplay, and that is what I’ve been doing for too long. The pen’s dried up, and I’m trying to break through that crusty top layer and get back to a bit of the wetness, if I can use that term. There is a dry writing and there is wet writing. Dry is boring and mechanical; wet is captivating and engrossing. Wet flows better. Wet is a stream; dry is a desert.

            I’m trying to get back to the stream. Forget the plains and desert; give me mountains and trees, a fresh west wind, and I’ll be just fine.

             So, the word: diminish.


            He sat by the fire, hugging his knees. The wind swirled violently outside his quickly built lean-to, and even though it helped shield him from most of the wind, it wasn’t perfect. The wind had a certain aptitude for finding the cracks in what he had built, and it pierced through whenever it could with a knife and jab. There was a brisk edge to it, as if it were angry; but he knew better, for that is just the way the Northern wind blows: bright and clipped, with a sharp edge and a fast swirl. But then, that is what he liked most.

            His clothes were homespun, made mostly on the trailer and by himself. Tan pants, cured from the hide of a deer. There was a bit of fur still clinging to places where it hadn’t been worn off. But the knees were bear and shined in the firelight. His coat was store bought, mainly because he hadn’t found any bear or buffalo to skin before winter. Gloves made from the same deer as the pants, and moccasins, bought in exchange for a rifle with the Flathead tribe further north. A black hat, wide in brim and thick, was pulled tight on his head. Beside him lay a Winchester, worn yet kept in excellent condition, and on his belt was a thick knife, with a handle made from elk horn. Behind him, against which he leaned, was his saddle. Two travel bags lay next to it, and the saddle blanket, a scratchy, gray wool one, was rolled and positioned on top as a pillow.

            For all his clothes and trappings, it was the man’s face that was most interesting. His jaw was set and firm; it was sharp, almost gaunt, as it tapered straight from his ears to his prominent chin. A smooth nose – not blunted, but not sharp – dwelt inconspicuously between two weary eyes. Indeed, it was not the weathered skin, nor the faint scar upon his left cheek, nor the graying stubble, that drew the most attention, but rather his eyes. For they were gray and hard, and were tired.

            You can tell much by a man’s eyes. The saying is true that proclaims them the door to the soul. With this man, his eyes belied a weariness in his bones. Though he sat with back straight and ready hands, it could be seen that this alertness was due more to habit and surroundings then vigor and energy. For his eyes told of countless paths traveled, of many winters weathered on bare slopes, or days upon days without sight of game or friend. They were the eyes of a man accustomed to hardship, and who was now tired of fighting.

            The wind howled with a vengeance, and he glanced out the small opening in the pine branches that served as a door. His horse sat picketed just outside, its head curled round its side as it huddled in the cold. “Winter’ll be here soon, Jemina.” His voice was hoarse and gritty, dry from lack of water. He coughed at the words and looked back at the fire. “The end will be here soon.”

             His voice was a whisper, the words ominous and true. For the years of the traveler, that man of the west, who survived by skill and resoluteness, who burned into the unknown when others failed to stand strong; the days of this man were coming to a bitter close. There was no place for them in a civilized land, as America was becoming at last. As England was proper, having been lived in and cultivated for centuries, so too was the fate that was befalling America. Gone were the open prairies, those wild stretches of mountains that hardened a man, that made him a man of rock and granite. He was being replaced by civility, by gentlemanry, by domesticity.

            The man sat by his fire and inwardly pined the fail of the west. His one hope was that it would not die in the end; perhaps it would only diminish, and that in some its flame would still burn on.


            (shrug) Neat. That was way better than most. It’s good to be doing this. Of course, my initial thought of taking only ten minutes to do this is kind of being left in the dust; I started at 2:47, and its 3:10 now. But that’s cool. I think every once and a while it would be good to hold myself to a time limit, giving myself only ten minutes to write – meaning I would have to start and finish a short writing in that time. But for the most part, just writing is the key. Can’t let the sword get rusty again. Never know when you might need it.  


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