Dinner With Ray Charles and Stephen King
Confession: I tend not to like candlelight dinners or meals in places where it is too loud for me to hear myself think or have conversations with whomever I am eating with.
Second confession: I like eating around or close to campfires which I suppose might lead some to wonder if there is a connection based upon the size of flame between my feeling about eating a meal lit by flame.
Third confession: I am floating in the space or place between exhaustion and irritation so all these things can and might change.
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” ― Ernest Hemingway
Won’t be long before the midnight hour comes calling upon me but I still haven’t eaten dinner, at least not the kind I’d want my children to have.
Me, well I have had some Scotch and a partially eaten slice of pizza. My friend Mr. Charles is playing Come Live with Me and I am lost in thought about the Hemingway quote and thoughts about what it would have been like to sit in some dark and smoky club listening to Ray play.
Got a really strong urge to go smoke a cigar and sit out on the balcony and think about my grandfathers and time gone by. Got an urge to go hang with the boys and tell the same old stories we always do to laugh hard thinking about the ridiculous things we used to do.
Someone will ask me about what I worry about as a father and I’ll tell them it is probably not what they think it is.
Ray, Stephen and Josh
You won’t hear or read stories about the things that Ray, Stephen and Josh used to. Nor will you hear me share tales about the crazy things Nelson Demille and J.R.R. Tolkien used do when we would go out.
I could give you the real truth and say that I haven’t met a single one of them in person but I don’t think that is the truest sentence that Hemingway is referring to.
Maybe it is the part where I talk about how they are all among my favorite artists and how I would have liked to have spoken with them about writing and creating.
Some of it is technical in nature. Some of it would be me asking about how they took nothing and turned it into something. Some of it might be me asking if you have go through hell to be a good writer or if someone who had never struggled could produce something magical.
Hell, I am a writer so I could share with you some of what I see and think, but I don’t know that I want to let you see that place.
I almost wrote a story about a bar fight at Booger Reds. I almost blogged about how I took on a bunch of guys and how they didn’t look so good afterwards and how sometimes the guy who wears the Black hat is ok too, but I didn’t.
Got lost in a million other things and stumbled across some old pictures like the one of the two little boys in the shot below.
Sometimes I look at that picture just laugh, son and nephew don’t look like that anymore and haven’t since their great grandparents would grab my arm and ask me if I remembered being their size or would tell me about the thing those little boys had just done.
I have said it many times but when I think about where I learned to love stories it was probably from my grandfathers. They had different styles and approaches, but they knew how to tell a tale that kept your attention.
And part of that was because they talked about places they had been, things they had done and the people who had been a part of it all.
Sometimes I would wonder if anyone would appreciate my stories the way I appreciated theirs and then one day it occurred to me that some of what I loved was the combination of the foreign and the familiar.
Told my kids the other day when they wonder about me they should look at the sky and know that I am staring at the same stars they are and thinking about them.
Said I loved them and that would end when they finished counting all the stars in the sky.
Later on I stood outside, glass in hand and wondered what those other guys might say about all this and shrugged my shoulders. It is of interest to me, but ultimately the words that I am looking for reside within me and no one else.