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writing as expression

Writing, thoughts, self...

One recent morning I was asked if I make myself write. Actually, I said, “to get needed tasks done, started or other…I force myself not to write, since most any occurrence or observation tends to remove the stop-log of my mind's sluice enabling nearly unstoppable words to stream forth from the jug having a few too many holes.”

It didn't just start a decade ago...reckon I wrote from the beginning, often with liquid ink staining paper from a big old fountain pen. I still use fountain pens and quality papers for rough drafts, sometimes hand writing ivory colored notes that are received for a change.

My son "Googled" my name and a technical magazine article that I had written popped up running on for several pages. It was published decades ago at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Before that, when just starting to date my wife in high school, I penned a poem about the name of a little girl we'd eventually have.


A weather vane's true self

When faced with the loss of a 22 year long engineering job, I went briefly to a remote West Virginia forest cabin site in winter to rough out a children's book for kids of all ages. I'd carried the concept in my mind for many years. The origin was a home group discussion during which I listened carefully to a mother gently vent about her desire to feel closer to God, but the daily needs of children and marriage seemed always to keep her from reflective time and subsequent opportunities to be God's blessing to others. While hearing her I contemplated the plight of a weather vane that thought it should be like the magnetic north arrow of a compass, always helpfully pointing the way to north for others. Instead it was blown every which way at the whim of the wind, with no real constancy. It had no peace of heart until it realized that it was doing exactly what its maker wanted and purposed. Then, most ever after, it had peace as it swung around pointing into the source of the breeze not knowing where it goes next.

I chose to model the vane after a museum piece on Cape Cod. After a call from West Virginia to the museum curator, I went to see the actual weather vane that was the model I had photographed many years before. It no longer was on display, but in a basement storage room, without windows and a light that was almost always turned off. I rolled out the pegboard that bound it and took dimensions, sketched how it was manufactured, noted scars from years of service, and made other notes.

Afterwards, driving 8 hours home, I saw as parallel a farm family member, having spent more than a half century out of doors in all kinds of weather and times, only to be confined in old age to a facility without continued exposure to his or her world.

I believe that upon publication of the book the museum will remember their request to host a book signing. Perhaps, TOBY will be brought out of retirement, and maybe visiting kids can adopt him via an activity-history club that will enable them to see beyond self, becoming able to place themselves in another's place, even upon roof ridge during lightning storms or other occasions, while looking upon life below and above from a different perspective that may span more than a century.


The journal of a computer jockey

Toby The Weather Vane was off to a good start, but further development has been on hold because of an unexpected passion that I've named the Computer Jockey Journal.

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