Clive Matson writes from an itch in his body
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Listening

December 9th, 2010 | Posted by clive in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

“Onto the side street with worn cobblestones underfoot, following the clacking steps of his younger sister, but a man looks out the iron filigree of a café window and shouts….”

Pedro’s writing captured us, moving into this European land and then he upped the ante, bringing in a figure like a ghost. The narrative froze at the picture of a cape-like, billowing shirt. We waited for more action but time was up, that was all Pedro wrote.

We recited back to Pedro the lines we liked, our usual procedure, and he took notes dutifully. I had an agenda in this workshop, though, to get writers to bring copies of their drafts to the next meeting. It was a WordSwell event at the Unitarian Universalist Church, and people could bring their pieces to a higher level. Pedro nodded agreeably but wouldn’t commit even to looking at his piece again, or continuing it. Let alone revising it.

I was in a sidewalk café after the meeting, talking with the editor of our small journal THE SCRIBBLER. She commented how she liked Pedro’s piece, and would print it if Pedro brought it to completion, giving it a middle and an ending. Of course, at that moment, Pedro sauntered by, ordered a coffee, and sat with us.

“Oh, I never revise my pieces,” he proclaimed, “I just do them and leave them lying around.”

“Not even once?” I tried to provoke him.

All that garnered was a smile. Someone had commented that Pedro worked as a political editor and probably didn’t want the heavy weight of his editor on this slight piece.
“I just write them and put them away.”

“You heard that we liked it, didn’t you?” I leaned forward, almost into his face.

“Oh yes,” he seemed to make his way through the world with an agreeable smile, which he flashed again, showing a chipped front tooth.

“Your piece was speaking to us.”

Pedro nodded.

Will this guy to connect with his inner world? And what did I imagine was there, among Hobbit genes and Neanderthal cave paintings drifting through his DNA, 35,000 years of myths finding expression through our lives? I have no idea. Mermaids and dinosaur souls? My sense is only of a vast, shadowy world, entirely unknown until we start exploring. And mostly unknown after we start exploring. But the exploration begins with recognizing it’s there.

“I think it’s speaking to you, and I want you to listen.”

Same smile from Pedro, the tooth chipped at an angle, and a small head-shake.

How can I make this more forceful?

“I think it wants you to listen.”

A strange expression crossed Pedro’s face for once second, a brief shock, as if he had looked inward and saw a dark animal. He noticed.