I am, by some standards, an old man, more decades than I care to discuss, yet I am young in every other way. I’ve had careers, wives, families, homes in different places, and have traveled some. I have had love and hate, happiness and despair, success and failure…all of the important things that make a life what it is. I’ve made friends,kept some, and left others forever. I have been known to stop short at the sight of a beautiful woman, or river, or trout. And although I like people and remain optimistic at the future of mankind, I often prefer my own company or that of my wife and cats. I love peace and quiet and the sound of the river. And so, this past year I resolved to build a tiny house downstream from the main house and on a bend of the Cedar river, that looks upstream to a small waterfall. I resolved to build it completely alone, even though I have never built anything more than a chair or bird house.
And so I did, and that is where I sit and write this as the snow falls, and the river flows. I learned some lessons…don’t do anything like that alone, don’t do anything like that at my age, and most of all…the immense value of “trim boards”. I am pleased and proud, and it is warm and comfortable during these brutal winter days fo January.
It absorbed many months and I was absent from my friends for so long that they took to calling me the hermit, or recluse, or monk. I like that and so it became the rivermonk.
And, you may have noticed some writings that I recently posted on this blog. I’ve always done a little writing. Lately, I have been writing more , and I want to write even more down the road. I write essays, memoirs, poetry, and short stories. I have no patience for writing novels and heaven forbid…a non-fiction book that requires a ton of research. Never a strong suit for me. And I don’t care to ever get published, this blog is enough of a publish for me. I write about the stuff that happens around me, about people I know – and do some imagining about those I don’t – I write about the past, and because I get the strange feeling that I lived in another time…the way past. I worry too much about proper grammar when I write and I shouldn’t because we normal people rarely speak with proper grammar when we talk to one another. So, I try to write as if I were having a discussion with someone casually. Some of the stories and poems I write can be dark, about death and dying, about hurt and heartbreak, about my youth which is dark time for me. So I would ask your indulgence.
I want to touch people, to make them cry or smile. To leave an impression. And it doesn’t have to be a life changing impression…just a hint or a whisper of remembrance. If that happens, then I was a success. If it doesn’t, then I got some practice and hopefully some idea of what went wrong.
So if you read the essays and stories and poems that I post..and if you are touched or if you think they are tasteless or in bad form, please say so. Some writers cannot take critique. Hemingway would ask friends to read his manuscripts and many were afraid to be asked because of his fiery temper. One time, after a friend gave his honest assessment, Ernest took the bulky manuscript, opened the window and threw it in a snowbank and didn’t talk to the poor man for three days! I can take a hint, or a shout, or a kind word.
Help this struggling, hapless, but I hope not hopeless…writer.