Mulling things on my morning ramble
with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.
Sleep sucked last night.
Vivid dreams rolled me over many times. I sometimes wonder what the correlation is: Does the bad sleep make vivid dreams or the vivid dreams make bad sleep?
Some of the dreams bordered on the kind I expected as a teenager, not as a 50-something.
I'm not much of one to remember dreams, but these stuck with me. They were the vivid colorful kind.
The kind that as a kid made you think you were a special artistic sort because the dreams were in living color.
Maybe it's worry about the usual big things: money, car trouble and family dynamics. Or maybe it was as simple as how was I going to juggle one car, my wife's work and getting out to hunt doves for the opener? How was I going to juggle work schedules the next few days? Why does God seem distant again, like an intellectual concept?
That sort of mundane life stuff all of us deal with or juggle every day.
One dream hung with me and drew me back to Henry Miller.
Until a few weeks ago, I hadn't thought of Miller much in years.
Miller is the author I consider the greatest raw American writing talent in the 20th Century, a defining figure for modern American literature. (The English major side of me wonders if he might have been the greatest American writer, period, of the 20th Century, if he had a good editor willing to do battle to cut and shape Miller's ramblings and meanderings into a more artistic whole.)
A couple weeks ago Ken Gortowski dropped a note where he mentioned Miller's book, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird.
I anticipate many wanderings off the common trail of thought from Ken, but Miller is not one I would have expected.
And that's an odd Miller book, a collection of pieces, I looked at years ago. it's nowhere near the dominating tour de force that Tropic of Cancer, Miller's defining work, is.
Let me meander off on my own tangent.
As a writer, I have an ideal audience in mind. For my outdoor writing, it is three very specific people. Two of them you might be able to guess. Well, Gortowski is one of those two.
And there's another, a third guy, that I doubt anybody would ever guess, but I think of him every time I find compiling the Midwest Fishing Report beginning to feel like a slog, say about 4 p.m. on any given Tuesday. I think of him and put my head down and do the work.
Back to Miller.
So this morning, I am walking the meathead and thinking of Miller.
There's some irony there, walking a dog we had castrated within the last year and thinking of Miller.
Like many other writers, I found that Miller gave me the empowerment to think that I could write as close to the truth as I dare.
I discovered Miller in college. I became so engrossed I read everything our college library had within a week, then found a used bookstore along Route 6 in north central Indiana with some rarer Miller books.
Yes, I realize Miller pushed the envelope far more than I ever do as an outdoors columnist for a family newspaper.
I'm a lover of Miller and the outdoors, but even I would not want to read him (well, if he was still alive) doing a twice-weekly outdoors column. It might be fun to see what he did in that outdoors arena once or twice (he has very interesting travel pieces), sorta like I enjoy almond Hershey's bars as a treat. But that's not the regular meal.
I came back home and told my wife about the night of dreams. She's pretty tolerant of the meanderings of my mind, but I'm beginning to wonder if she thinks it might be time for me to look at a red sports car.