a little piece of me revealed by the knick knacks and the trinkets on my desk.

June 10th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

dust gathers over the pages exposed on top. the bicycle bookend has a grey sheen over it’s black and silver finish. on top of the teddy a film masks it’s beauty. designed to look aged, it’s grey hairs now make it look eons older than the game of baseball his bat and glove represent.

time given form on top of the knick knacks and the pages that bring the best from me. from the words on the pages, the authors behind those words, or even the shallowness of a beautiful binding and cover. inspiring. somewhere within each of these is a piece of me. something waiting to be uncovered by whoever comes after me.

it’s these things, the favorite things, that are the images. the analogies. the metaphors that give shape to our daily lives. the things that a writer would use to allude and point to in hopes of shaping a character. whether it’s the voice of Hemingway or the fishing he writes about, there’s something in those pages, on the span, deep in the psyche of the author, that captivates me. that nails a passion, or a key inside of me. something about The Old Man and the Sea points to some part of me. can you find it?

they’re all hardcovers, the books that rest in that place of honor, except one. one lone softcover, currently missing because my wife picked it up. she picked it up because a friend pointed to it, and when the wife asked me about it, i said this was the book that started it all. this was the book that took be down a rabbit hole of writing, and into an English degree, and out the other side into a world of publishing and blogging, and so much introspection it cannot be healthy.

in college, the book shamed me. sitting in classes where Shakespeare is heralded lord of the bard, and these old dead masters reign supreme i felt small and silly. my inspiration, my masters, my forbearers were all New York Time Bestsellers, a phrase i fear is incredibly misleading. still, these ones were by heroes. a Dean Koontz. One Stephen King. and the one that started it all Ted Dekker.

i immediately fled from them. my senior year of high school a friend handed me this lost gem, a book i was too young to catch at its peak. In the Lake of the Woods. pure genius. i remember the thrill of those pages and the footnotes and the way reality was distorted until the truth was so subjective i couldn’t find it out. still, within that, there was a mystery that captivated me and when i went back to it in college, it only took hold of me stronger. i read everything Tim O’Brien had to offer. The Things They Carried is the one most recognize, a finalist for a Pulitzer, but my other favorite is the one he won the National Book Award for: Going After Cacciato.

time. reality. truth. things that meant so much to the NYT writers meant nothing to O’Brien and i embraced this with all of me. here was my new hero. i left Koontz, King, and Dekker to the lesser readers.

eventually i took an American Lit class that featured Hemingway and Faulkner. the ones that came so that O’Brien could succeed, and i realized the value of learning, adapting, and taking things further. i learned that you can’t have b without a, and a was pretty darn good. Hemingway stole my heart. it wasn’t the same as O’Brien. Hemingway lacks a poetic nuance that O’Brien has, but boy can the man say a lot without saying anything. as this blog suggests, Hemingway stole my mind.

it wasn’t until my senior year when a prof helped me out off my pedestal.  when a prof helped all of us undergrads off our pedestals and shattered our foolish egos. she raved about King and Koontz. she said, they are not frilly writers. they are not puff pieces. they know what they’re doing and they do it well. there is much to learn from these men of the pen. do not be ashamed to read them.

i went back to Dekker. i tried one of his books, hoping nostalgia would carry me through, but it didn’t. the man isn’t as good a writer as my O’Brien, as my Hemingway. he just…isn’t. the words don’t work together. the sentences don’t do enough. the things just happen, and it just isn’t fun to read. the story is there. the story is intriguing. he gets that, but boy could it be so much better!

Dekker has a purpose though. it was a pacifier. a nookie blanket that took me beyond the screen of a gameboy and into the pages of King and Koontz, before ultimately taking me into O’Brien and Hemingway. there is a place in my pantheon for Mr. Dekker, and so he has a place on my desk. the only softcover among the beautiful hardcovers.

 

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happy mother’s day

May 11th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

the sleepless nights never end.

at first it’s because of a crying helpless child.

then it’s because the child is old enough to get out of bed and into yours.

before long it’s because they missed curfew, again, or you couldn’t help but say yes to some late night adventure with their friends.

when they leave for college, you lose sleep because you miss them. because you’re used to making coffee for them every morning and waking with them.

then, after college and they’re settled, you still wake in the middle of the night and you think of them. you pray for them. you thank God for them. you miss them.

they have kids, and you visit and you’re back to the crying child waking you in the middle of the night. only this time you’re probably already awake. you’re probably sitting in the rocking chair, praying for your kids and your new grandbaby. you’re probably too excited about all that’s ahead, and when that baby cries you let your child get a few extra hours by rocking your grandchild back to sleep.

you give up sleep because you mother. always. forever.

all you want in return is a hug and kiss, and maybe two words that let you know you raise them right. thank you, mom. for the sleepless nights of old, for the sleepless nights of today, and the sleepless nights of tomorrow. your love is too great for one day.

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the puck stops in Minnesota.

May 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

semi finals.

hot dizzy dang those words taste good.

they go down easy like margaritas on cinco de mayo.

they come on the eve of a game seven that goes something like this:

(skip to 9m30s)

or this

(skip to 5m53s)

semi finals.

it’s been a decade since i’ve been able to utter those scintillating words: we’re going to the next round.

it’s been a decade since i yelled at a screen in jubilation as my team advanced.

i don’t lace skates for them. i don’t whistle at them during practice, pushing them in drills. i don’t write recaps, or game logs, or blog like a belligerent fan that just wants to be heard. but they’re my team.

they embody Minnesota. my home. they embody grit. determination. tenacity. hope.

the season wasn’t beautiful. it wasn’t marked by an epic olympic performance by some kid. it wasn’t marked with swag earned from reaching the top twice in 4 years. it wasn’t hyped on the shoulders of some eighteen year old. it was understatedly minnesotan.

in December our coach was on the verge of being fired.

we’re on our fourth string goalie.

10 games from the end of the season we go 7-0-3 to solidify a spot in the playoffs, a spot we only get by getting those 17 points.

we’ve been beaten down all year. always the underdog, never the barbarian on the top of the mountain.

fans expect failure. disappointment. depression. the great let down. we are loserville and we embrace it with every fiber in our beings. even when we win, we pat each other on the back and say, aren’t we lucky to get this far?

I’m done with it.

It stops here.

Loserville is dead.

i don’t care about the other team. they don’t matter. we are who we are and we are better than this. we are coming home to an arena that starts each game by saying LET’S PLAY HOCKEY! we have an ownership group that does whatever it takes to bring winners to this team and they need to start playing like it.

raise your head. raise your arms. raise your voice. leave loserville at the door and let’s take back a series from a fanbase and a team that doesn’t think we’re anything. because i’m done with losing.

the puck stops in Minnesota.

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 ***

i listen to a lot of podcasts. paul allen – voice of the minnesota vikings – is one of my favorites. he is a davenport of love. a homer to the end, and fan of all things sports. today, he was depressing. he focused on being down 2-0 to the speedy hawks and it bugged me. it got under my skin. this is a response to that emotion. i don’t care if the hawks are better. we only have to be better 4 times than them. and i think we can. let’s drop the puck and see what happens.

i am not ashamed to admit, i listened to happy on repeat while writing this. i couldn’t be happier to be in the semi-finals. LET’S GO!

lastly, this is only my team because of my brother, Jordan Siewert. this one’s for you, lit’l man!

 

fitting words

May 2nd, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

it’s a funny thing, fitting words into time. the clock ticks and my fingers move from key to key, then back to control+backspace. i restart, but the clock ticks on.

my mind jumps, floats, flies, and lands. a colleague’s retirement. a contract to write. a sales pitch to make and another to follow up on. the semi-finals for the first time in a decade. i’m in the middle of that book, and i just started another. the blessing of friends calls for time, and it all stacks up and my priorities all stack up to match – not what i would make them, but what fits where. find five minutes. find ten minutes. fit this in. fit that in.

fit it all in.

the clock keeps ticking and i can’t help but glance. my fingers move faster and i hope that somehow i’ll get ahead. somehow i’ll find a way past the words per second mark. past the self imposed deadline. past the needs and into the wants. past the wants and into the real needs.

i am envious of the ones on the bench in the park. the ones that sit there as if the world can spin forever and they are content to count the butterflies and listen to the soundtrack of a fountain and the wings of birds.

i breath in the seconds as my fingers pound them away. let me hold on to this. let me hold on to fingers forming words. onto fingers forming thoughts and pushing them forward into something greater.

rest in the writing.

write in the resting.

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the in between

April 22nd, 2014 § 4 comments § permalink

that part that goes unnoticed. the moments, minutes, hours, days that transform us. that define us. that make up who we are, what we are about.

in the car when we’re given the right of way, or when we get cut off.

in the hours where the world is silent, but we’re awake. the moments when sleep evades us and all we have are thoughts.

the moments before the moments. the ones that are between the victories and the defeats. the one’s that prepare us for what’s next. that slip off into the nothingness of a day.

the moments of coffee making, and blog reading. of headline grabbing and facebook statusing. the moments that feel like filler or time wasting. these are the in-between. these are the moments that define us.

the moments of dishwashing and laundry folding. of lawn cutting and bushwacking. of mail sorting and dinner making.

these are the moments that show us our true selves. the ones that reveal to us our hearts and our attitudes. that show us humanity isn’t quite so broken, and that humanity is so far destroyed there’s barely a hope of coming back from the brink.

the in-between. the moments that don’t make the list of memories. that we forget to savor and relish. the moments that make us truly human, but that we just get through.

these are the moments we learn to treasure when the moments are too many. are too fast. are all around us. these are the moments we grasp when loved ones die, when jobs are lost, and when we don’t know how to put one step in front of the other. this is the in-between. our nookie blanket.

we forget them. we pass over them. we move on.

let us not do this. let us remember the in-between and find a way to savor it. to drop it on our tongue like a fine chocolate and melt into our taste buds. a silky smooth covering that fills our faces with sensations we desire.

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let me remember the typing sessions. the moments that put words to the moments. let me get back here where it’s safe to reveal that life isn’t perfect. that life is muddy, and distorted, and cranky. let me remember that there is plenty to write about in the in between and let me capture it in a way that makes the in between feel like the moment.

 

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