Tag: Quotes

If We Were Having Coffee #1

I’ve been reading a few of these each week and love the format for random thoughts (and I have many). So, I’m going to give it a go.

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If we were having coffee, it might be at my kitchen table. I’d offer you a number of choices because we have had a Keurig since Christmas and I think I’m a barista now. Today is a breakfast blend for me with hazelnut creamer.  Not a fancy brand, just the local supermarket brand and it was on sale. We are quickly finding out k-cups are not cheap. I’d also offer you a donut. We picked some up last night for half price on the way home from seeing a movie, the first time my wife and I have been out together without kids in months.

I would tell you I had a short weekend last week because I had to travel on a Sunday to work in Texas for three days. I would rather not travel on a Sunday but it was required that I be there first thing Monday morning. It worked out well for me because I wanted to make it home by Thursday, my wife’s birthday. With my luck traveling as of late, along with weather surprises we have had in the Northeast, I knew there was a risk but it all worked out perfectly.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about the short story I wrote in my head while sitting in the airplane. Although my writing is going painfully slow on my novel and I should be putting all my effort into that, I decided to take a break and write another short story. I just have to run with it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how I am praying my son did well in his scholarship competition yesterday. We were on the road at six in the morning and made the two and half hour drive to a college he was accepted to so he and a hundred plus other students could compete for one of ten full tuition scholarships being awarded. The college has already offered him a nice scholarship but a full tuition scholarship, and a renewable one at that, would be so financially comforting to me and my wife.  At worst, the college would give each participant $1500 just for trying.  Fifteen minutes of his time will either be worth $1500 or $14,000. Either way, he is a winner in my eyes.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how upset I was yesterday evening watching the news. When I travel, I tend to watch too much news in my hotel room because I don’t like flipping channels to see what is on. I’ve become spoiled having a menu of all the shows and their times on TV. All through the week the media kept updating us on the fact there was no real update concerning the fate of two remaining hostages being held by terrorists in the Middle East. Yesterday came the sad news that a second hostage from Japan had been killed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there are two things I seldom talk about outside my family circle: religion and politics. Yet here I am today still wondering what kind of man or woman who claims to be a follower of any God or prophet can kill so indiscriminately in the name of religion whether it is now, or hundreds and hundreds of years ago. I would question how any government, regardless of political or religious ideology, can sit on the sidelines while atrocities like this exist in our world.

As we sip our coffee in the comfort of my kitchen, I would silently give thanks. Thanks that I still believe good trumps evil and will prevail in the end. Thanks that there is still something beautiful on this planet worth saving. Thanks that despite the darkness that envelopes us at times we can still find light.

“If you are writing any book about the end of the world, what you are really writing about is what’s worth saving about it.” Justin Cronin

I Have Stood Up And Lived

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” – Henry David Thoreau

I remember reading this quote as a child, most likely a result of some required reading in high school. I can’t really say with any degree of accuracy what it meant to me then but I will make a guess that the meaning was explained to me by a teacher with the best of intentions.  I am older now, and my interpretation of any reading or quote is based on my knowledge of the subject matter, what I might or might not know about the author, and my own life experiences. This particular quote by Thoreau happens to be one of my favorites.

As I embark on this journey we call writing, this quote has new meaning to me due to how I define living at this point of my life. It doesn’t translate that I must venture down a path on some spiritualistic quest in order to write with conviction. Nor do I interpret this quote in a literal manner.  I do however; feel there is a continual element of self-reflection involved regarding my life that allows me to write.

I have lived. I have lived through hundreds of books that I have read over my lifetime. I have lived through life experiences. I have lived through imagery, both real and imagined. I have lived through other senses: tasting, smelling, touching, and hearing.  I’ve lived through both physical and gut wrenching emotional pain. I’ve lived through loving and having been loved. I’ve lived through life’s lows and euphoric highs. And so have you.  Toss vanity aside,  we have something to write about.

As for what I haven’t lived?  We have technological tools today, that combined with imagination and life experiences, allow us to write about almost anything, regardless of age, demographics, or any other self-imposed barrier we tend to use as an excuse .  I have been fortunate enough over my life to travel to many places both domestic and abroad, yet I feel I could write about a place I have never been to.  For example, I have traveled most of the United States with the exception of the Pacific Northwest, New England, and the South. Could I write a scene or story based in Oregon? Absolutely.  I’ve read others who have written about the area. I’ve watched movies and documentaries set in the area. I have friends who have lived there. I could get on the internet and ‘walk’ along a street, seeing what the storefronts or homes look like or browse photographs of a trail and walk it in my mind.  I’ve enjoyed a rainy day served with dark clouds, hold the sunshine, and can imagine what multiple days of that entrée would be like in a city such as Astoria, Oregon. And yes, I have watched Goonies at least twenty times over the years. At some point, I am living it. And so are you.

With all due respect, I am not diminishing the artistic value or skill levels of those who have mastered the craft of writing. Nor am I demeaning a quote that resonates with me on a very personal level. I am simply stating, and a bit cliché: everyone brings something to the table.

The amazing thing about my writing journey is that I am still a student and will be for some time.  I welcome that because lifelong learning is a mantra I subscribe to. There are, however, a few things I do know: I’m not vain, I have stories to tell, and I have stood up and lived. I will write knowing that.

Happy writing!

Bill

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