Mowing Diary #37 ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mowing Diary #37

I figured it would be a good idea to start my first "mowing" post on a high number, like a new check book, to give it a feeling of integrity. Also, I could have easily written 36 previous mowing posts if I'd wanted to, given how I spend my daylight hours--but I spared you. Rather than questioning my title, you should be thanking me.

A couple years ago, Kansas City had a ridiculously cool and gentle summer. I kept finding myself looking around for glaciers or mountains in the distance, that's how good if felt to be outside. Because I wasn't sweating a gallon an hour or combating heat exhaustion, I found myself constantly jotting down post ideas or short poems between mowing jobs. The extra energy bubbled over in creativity. It was idyllic.

It will never happen again.

In 2006 and 2007 I mostly walked around dripping wet trying to avoid thinking original thoughts, because they wouldn't be the kind I wanted to share with the world. I stopped carrying a notebook in the cab of the company truck and developed a love for emo. And then, yesterday, creativity struck. Maybe it was the slight drop in humidity, maybe it was the 44-ounce Gatorade, maybe it was just inexplicable grace--but I found myself ransacking the truck for a pen, flattening out a Wendy's napkin, and scribbling down several paragraphs of pure inspiration. Since the napkin was soggy with sweat by the time I finished, I spread it carefully on the seat to dry. Then I left for lunch.

I came back. I looked around the interior of the truck. I looked in the bed. And under the seat.

"Hey Johnny," I said to my brother, "did you throw out a napkin?"
"Umm, yeah, I think I did."
"Did it have writing all over it?"

The truck is rarely cleaned out. Wait, that's an understatement. Cleaning is something the truck waits for expectantly like Christmas. Or leap year.

"I guess you threw it out," I said. "That's too bad."
"I'm sorry. I mistook it for another napkin."

Fortunately, the story ends well. After a lawn spent retracing my mental footprints, I was able to reconstitute my words on another napkin--something that doesn't always happen, whether you're writing in MS Word in your apartment or in a pickup in 100 degree weather.

"Watch closely," I said. "I'm putting this napkin up on the dash, in case another cleaning frenzy comes over you. It's the one with writing all over it."

And so the napkin survived, and was placed carefully in my backpack, and carried home. In the next week or so, some of that recaptured brilliance will no doubt make its way here--if it doesn't get thrown out by my wife.

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Wayne Stratz said...

love the response to throwing out the napkin. now you got me thinking about writing a post about mowing.
the spirit inspires.

Timothy Goering said...

Once again another fantastic post. I think, I like these kind of fictional-reality-prose posts the best.
Looking forward to one day being able to read a whole novel with this style! Hope it's coming along!?

Will Robison said...

A novel... that's a lot of napkins!? Having lost enough "notes" in my lifetime to fill an entire novel, I can sympathize. The thing I love to do is go back after a week and read my notes and try to remember what the heck I was talking about a week before. Some of the notes are rather cryptic. Still, I have an entire transfer box filled with notes from my novel and more are surely on the way. I have a great filing system in place. When I'm done with the note, I throw it in a shoe box. Someday, I swear, some college intern at the Smithsonian is going to be in rapturous heaven reading notes from my first novel that, until then, had never seen the light of day. He might discover then that I not only originally wanted to kill my main character with a cleaver, but that I had a bacon double cheeseburger at Wendy's on 6/15/04 and that the only thing I had to write on was the receipt. And then, of course, there will be the huge Sotheby's auction for these scribblings. You know, I almost wish reincarnation was true just so I could bid upon the one of the first 38 drafts of my first chapter.

That's the problem with your blog posts, Ariel, they always send my brain off into flights of fancy. Keep up the good mowing...


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife