My brain hurts. Writing and thinking and revising and listening is exhilarating to the point of exhausting. Especially listening. Listening is the tricky part, listening to my own thoughts and hearing what I have to say. What if there is nothing to hear? A dull ache had been building all morning behind my left eyebrow. I found myself rubbing this spot, trying to get the ideas to flow from behind the throb. After lunch I took a break, disappearing beyond the barn, beyond the trees to a grassy patch, underneath an old tree that has likely kept watch over this property for years. Flat on my back with shut eyes, I felt the warm sun on my arms and face. The birds chattered. A distant train. There was a nice breeze that moved the trees to stir, to sing.
Opening my eyes, I studied the leaves, imagining the view to be that of Donald Harrington’s as depicted in his Ozark tales of fictitious Stay More, Arkansas. His tree colors included every shade of green from spring pea to black forest, like crayons in the jumbo box, the box with the sharpener in the back. But more than the shades of green, he described the lilting sound of the trees, the choiring of the trees. I heard the choiring of the trees this afternoon.
Immediately I noticed, “Perhaps a bit of description here?” My husband begins sentences with ‘perhaps’ when he is attempting to be diplomatic. But I understood this suggestion, and it was easy to add. We had spent time this morning discussing story endings. What makes a good ending or a confusing ending, a strange ending, an ending that makes you wish you had not wasted your time, or an ending that leaves you wanting more? Quickly jumping to the last page of my story he had written, “Good ending… the characterization is very good.”
Nowhere on the paper did he offer, “Perhaps you should return to banking…”