A favorite line of mine from James Marsters’ character, Spike, in TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That is exactly what I just did, more or less. It was very fun to hit the road with little but the clothes on my back and my dog riding shotgun. Not a long trip distance-wise, but a rather sad trip in terms of time.
A visit some eight years in the making between an old friend and me proved sullen. A once lively, adventurous and spirited friend has become a world-weary functioning alcoholic. I would say that at least the spirited part remained so as to make a pun, but there’s really nothing funny about it. It was so good, and yet so painful to see my friend. As such, gone is my mirth.
But what of family? Time does sinister things to the ones we love. I spent an afternoon in the company of my grandmother, who will be 92 this year. It was good to see her getting around and socializing and enjoying the day. The following morning she had all but forgotten our visit or that I was even in town.
This is another reason to write … whether a new publisher or agent picks me up or not, at least I’ll have a record preserved of my memory; a part that will carry on with clarity beyond disintegration and death. Along the way, it may even come as a surprise to find such elegantly crafted stories about my home that I have no memory of having written. The sadness therein will only be visited upon my friends and family, many of whom, needing to clear their heads, will undoubtedly head out for a walk, with no particular destination in mind.
I love walking, hiking, etc. Driving does the trick too. Mindless miles to erase or at least come to terms with the state of affairs among friends and family. An easy way to clear my mind. In Japan, I love trains. You can take one anywhere or nowhere at all. So it is here in the States with our cars. It all boils down to the same thing – going out for a walk.
Published, unpublished. These amount to meaningless distinctions in the greater scheme of things. Write to create memories. Read to devour them.