Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nice kitty

I was on the phone the other day, talking with my boss, when I looked out the window and I saw a large-dog-sized animal walking along on the other side of the fenced yard. My brain was still engaged in the conversation on the phone, so only a tiny portion of my mind was whispering, "Huh, I wonder whose dog that could be." But then I saw that tail curl and snake and flip to one side, and alarm bells went off in my head: "That's no dog."

I stared out the window. It was gone, vanished behind some fallen trees. Even while I was still talking on the phone, I was staring hard at the spot, waiting for it to reappear, but it never did. I wanted to end the conversation quickly, but somehow it seemed too much like a sci-fi horror flick to say, "Um, I just saw something outside . . . aw, it's probably nothing." But when I finally hung up, I walked outside. I didn't say anything to kids, because I didn't want them coming along and making a ruckus.

I walked over to the side of the fence, still staring at the spot. Nothing.

Now, there's a scene at the beginning of Deliverance, when the team of outdoorsmen tell some local yokel that they're going to canoe down the Monogehela, and the local spits and says, "Boy, what you wanna go fuckin' with that river for?"

And, in exactly the same spirit, there is a voice in my head saying, "Do you really, REALLY want to run into what's on the other side of this fence?"

"Aw, you're dreamin' is all," I think. "You'll go over the fence, and there will be nothing, maybe some scat if you're lucky, just to prove that it wasn't a trick of the light." So I jump over the fence and start walking over to the spot. I'm almost there, maybe twenty feet away, when on the bank above it I see an explosion of leaves, and in a blur I see the unmistakeable fuzzy bottom and big feet running away, and half a second later it's gone.

I came back inside. "There's a bobcat on the mountain," I announce.


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