Writing, Lawn Care and the Great Baseball Metaphor
I enjoy mowing my lawn. It's not for the aesthetic results; the lawn is mostly weeds and the day after a mowing, it is aleady overtaken by dandelions. I like it because for the 45 minutes it takes, I am unreachable in my aural deprivation bubble. I do some of my best thinking in there. Being a writer, the most self-absorbed of God's creatures, I think mostly about the importance and meaning of my work and like, you know, put it in historical terms. How might I elucidate the great esoteric? How might I put it in everyman's terms? Battling through a swarm of tenacious lake flies hovering around our rotten wood fence, the idea hit me like a bolt of lightening: I will relate it in a baseball metaphor! Then every good american will come bang at my literary gate, clamoring for the word.
I have written and published two novels. I have written a third that is in the final stages of editing. I am about twenty pages in to a fourth. I quickly realized that each of these books mirrors a stage in a theoretical, lifelong love affair with the great pass time.
Book one: A Fool for Lesser Things. A Carribbean romp; fast paced, far-flung, a little purple. High intentions and a wild spirit. Lots of God and sex. This one was like playing the game as a kid. Pure passion. Going at it like the game means everything in the world, like it's life and death. Leave it all on the field, or the page, as it were. Simple. Pure.
Book two: The Brothers Connolly. A mundane family tragedy. Life in a small town. The meaning of endeavor and the thickness of blood. Finding your place in a great big world. This one was more like coaching your son's little league team. You're a bit removed from the action. The process requires a little more discretion, patience, perscpective. The rewards here are a bit less immedieate, but are equally rich and meaningfull. You get to be part of something bigger than yourself. Examining maturity and the quest thereof, my friends.
Book three: Journey to the Center of the Dream. A fictionalized rock n' roll tour diary. My homage to the beat road book. Drugs and rock n' roll. This one came fast - more of an outpouring than an extraction. It was like sitting around with the boys after the game, knocking back brews and swapping war stories. A little embellishment is expected; hell, this is supposed to be entertaining! But no bullshit. These are the guys that have been through it with you, they will smell an outright lie. Though this one might seem a little more superficial than the others, it is not so! We are making sense of the highest times in our lives. Paying tribute to the game we live for.
Book four: The Troika (working title). Okay, stay with me here. Set in Russia circa 1872, or so. Every attempt is made to keep this thing place and period-realistic, staggering through the heady days of Fyodor Dos. and Count Leo. The story is a typical love triangle, realatable through the ages. Lust, betrayal, frendship and desperation. This one is like getting sent to a far-off land to teach the game of baseball to a bunch of people who have never heard of it. Hard questions. Am I qualified to be this great game's ambassador?! Do these people stand to benefit in any way from America's strange passtime? No matter. I love the game; I will do my best to pass on at least that which I feel is great in it. Even if the natives would just as soon smash my mellon with a baseball bat as swing it at a ball. "Good cut, Tchalak Lak, now try it without stepping in the bucket." May the blood from my head be the return on all that the game has given me. Word. Forward.