Slice of Life: The Assorted Odds at the End

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

I don’t have any Slice Moments in mind so … here are some odds and ends for this last Slice of Life at the end of 2o2o …

“Did you write your note to the tree?” is something my wife and I harp on with our boys. Our holiday tradition is for all of us to write short notes to our future selves, and stuff the paper scrolls inside glass ornaments. When the ornaments break, as they do, we read what our past selves wrote, in the present. I wrote my note the other day, trying to capture 2020 without too much gloom and doom. I wonder what my future self will think when it reads it?

A holiday song that my friend and I wrote and recorded a few years ago, and now share out each holiday season, just got its 500th listen via YouTube (it is also on other streaming platforms, but that data goes to my friend). I know it’s not about numbers, and never about earning anything from it, but that a few hundred people might have enjoyed our musical Gift of Peace song brings me joy.

A Writing Project colleague and musical friend sent an email to me, and a few of his other musical friends, wishing us happy tidings and including a video of him playing a Wilco song, as a musical gift of sorts because he had just finished reading Jeff Tweedy’s book about writing songs. I listened to his cover, and then I went back to the original (War on War is the song) and then I spent the morning remixing the song into my own version, sending the song back to my friend, as a gift in return. It was a nice creative diversion that reminded me of how much I enjoy crafting songs in different ways. My remix bent the song in a different direction.

I’ve been purposefully trying to NOT think of school yet, to give my brain a break. But an email chain from a student, leveraging the school email system to reach out to friends, pulled me in, briefly, and then, I began to lesson plan for next week in my mind, and started thinking of how our principal told us right before break to write out our goals for the school year, and how the School Committee is meeting tomorrow to figure out what next week looks like, and their decision will solidify my lesson plans ….

I almost never read a book twice but when I read Brian Doyle’s One Long River of Song collection of essays sometime before the Pandemic that mixed nature and spirituality, with life itself (even with the odd twist that I discovered him as a writer after he passed away), with a voice of Doyle that was so inviting and full of wonder, I decided I needed to read his book again. So, one of my boys bought it for me, and when I told my wife about the book and why I wanted to read it again, she nodded, and said: “This seems like the right time for that kind of book.” Indeed.

I swung by my friend’s house the other day. We’re in a band together. We stopped playing during Spring and Summer, and then resumed for a bit (socially distanced in his basement) for some of the Fall, and then stopped again near Thanksgiving. I grabbed my saxophone so I could do some practicing here at home, to stay in some shape before we get back together again. I miss playing rock and roll. It was good to see him, and we chatted about music. I loaned him a book with a music theme (this is what we do when we share books with each other) and he told me he is going to send some new music tracks that need lyrics. I nodded and waved.

A neighbor walking their dog stopped me, and told me he liked my short story that was published in the local newspaper recently. It had come in second place in a local competition. He asked what I was writing these days. “Poems, mostly,” I told him, and he seemed a little disappointed, as if he hoped novel or short story would be my answer. I guess I could have added “blog posts” but what I should have said is, “Something, often small, every single day.”

Peace (in snippets),

  1. I love catching up on some of your snippets. You are such a multimodal writer (and of course I had to listen/watch). Thanks for the gifts! I absolutely love the letters to the tree idea!

  2. Thank you very much for sharing the Christmas Song, it touched a chord. I am sure the future you will be amazed reading your thoughts for the year that was 2020 and may make you chuckle too.
    Wishing you and your family a very happy new year and much peace to you too!

  3. This has so many threads for each of us to appreciate. I love the “gift” of peace, pass it on, so lovely. I pick up Brian Doyle’s RIVER OF SONG whenever I need writing inspiration; he never fails. That and Margaret Renkl’s LATE MIGRATIONS are my writing companions. Have a restful rest-of-break. Keep sharing “Something small, every single day.” That’s how lives are built.

  4. Just love this collection of thoughts- odds and ends- and how creativity is such a part of your life. I will go back to listen to the songs! I loved your last line and it encourages me to do more of that- something small but every single day.

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