Sandals in Sand

I am a fan of Natalie Goldberg and her famous book, Writing Down the Bones.  When she teaches writing she has students write as quickly as possible for timed periods without worrying about spelling, punctuation or revisions.  In brief, let your brain run wild, get your thoughts down on paper and to hell with form and substance. I believe her way touches something deep inside us—a spirit perhaps—that needs no approval but comes from our soul. Mercifully my editor-wife feels the same way.

Her teaching style came to mind the other day when I put on a pair of old sandals.  They have made two trips to Vietnam and were about to take a walk on the beach near my home on Amelia Island, Florida.

 Snapshots like this get my brain in gear and create my “writing down the bones” moments.  It’s a place I like to go — and stay — whenever I can.

As I pulled on my sandals my mind flipped to a question I often have:  “If objects could speak, what would they say?  And would we listen?”

What could my sandals tell us about the similarities and differences between the sands of Da Nang and those of American Beach?  How are the waters of the South China Sea different from that particular spot in the Atlantic?  What memories might they relate?  Will they tell us about the spirits of the US Marines landing on the beach  at Da Nang?  Or the pirates who came to Amelia Island? What would they tell us about a fort where there has never been a shot fired in anger?

Where do these energy pictures come from?  Do all things have spirit and the ability to give a psychic picture?  What information does a gi hold? Would the old oak tree on the side of this house tell me of life during the civil war and who lived here before me? Would it share its thoughts about various children who have climbed it?

How do you get “down the bones” and what do you do when you’re there?





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