From Now On 5 - geronimo

by Susan Weber

A doctor says there are three rules he learned as an intern that have served him well in his practice, and in life. One, if something’s working, don’t change it. Two, if it’s not working, try something else. Three, if you don’t understand something, ask someone who does.

I remember the fiction I published week by week. That steady habit prodding me to invent stories without second-guessing my writing expertise — or lack thereof. The nagging lack thereof compelled me to try something else. Putting down the pen, I read the greats. Hemingway, Oates, Nabokov and their ilk confirmed my suspicion that writing well requires a more nuanced toolset than I have yet acquired.

As for the good doc’s third rule about what to do if you’re stumped, I’ve sought out teachers, how-to books, authors speaking on their craft. Funny how circular life can be. The professionals all say the best way to write well is to write much.

The view just now from the upstairs writing desk: this spreading oak, that fairly naked neighbor pushing the season on a turquoise recliner, golden retriever testing the lady’s patience with a sweepy tail. Grackles and finches zooming low, chatty. None of this suggests I’m on a precipice, assaying the jump I’m about to take. I do at least know better.

Having used up the doctor's rule of three, I’m on my own. Write much to write well, or stand here gawking at the neighbors. Geronimo is not a word I use in normal discourse. But what’s so normal about this leap?

Bracing for impact. See you in the blaze of one, two, thr...

Photo by Susan Weber CC BY-SA 4.0