I’m off at the beach for a week on a writer’s retreat.
So far, I’ve managed a few timed writes, a lovely two and a half hour nap, lots of good eating, and some research on a fighter for a pal, but now comes the hard part. Sorting through the processes that make up what writing is all about and what it means.
When I box, it’s fairly simple. I either throw the dang jab with authority or not. It either sinks in properly or needs fine tuning–such as making certain that I’m throwing straight out from the shoulder to give it pop rather than trying to crash it through with my back leg raised and my full body way over-committed. But maybe that is the trick with writing. Use your nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs with precision–but play with the rules of intention to make the plot points move along the trajectory one needs.
What I’m realizing amongst the august gathering of extraordinary women that make up this group is I am in way over my head–as if I were at a master class of champion boxers sparring with feints and levels of punches galore not to mention the artistry of say an Alicia Ashley deftly dodging a bullet.
Perhaps someday it’ll all makes sense, but meanwhile, I’m writing on with what ever spirit I can gather to make it all work.
While I used to listen to my mother’s John Coltrane and Miles Davis records when I was a young child, I discovered jazz for myself when I turned 12. My grandmother had given me a small portable AM/FM radio and fiddling with the dial I came across the radio station WLIB. This was 1966 — and at 4:00 each afternoon, Jazz pianist Billy Taylor opened his show with Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage.
What I waited and hoped for each day though was the chance to hear something by Miles Davis. Billy Taylor usually obliged with tunes from Miles Davis’ ESP or Miles Smiles albums or a song like So What from such newly minted classics as Davis’ Kind of Blue album.
Years and years later training with Johnny Grinage down at Gleason’s, Johnny used to talk about Miles the boxer. I’ve never really heard the speed-bag in his trumpet, but I still love the thought that the staccato of his solos could have come from his days of training in the ring.