Fleeing the pack of Dire Wolves howling behind it, the mastodon lumbered across the plain. Thinking only of the teeth and claws of its enemies, the mastodon paid little attention to the trouble it suddenly had walking. “Must be the exertion. Shouldn’t have eaten that last helping of palm.” And then it looked over its shoulder, stumbled, and fell with a plop into a black sticky mess. The wolves arrived in time to take a few bites, but the mastodon managed to take more than a few with it as it sank into the sticky blackness.
I feel like that poor mastodon in the La Brea Tar Pits must have felt: writhing and trying his best to keep head above the sticky stink only to have it finally clog his nostrils and suffocate them until dead.
It’s official; my blog stats are in the toilet. Depressing, isn’t it? After a high that surprised even me, I’ve dropped below bad. Well, who cares, right? It doesn’t really matter as long as you’re writing, right? Well, yes and no.
Yes, you can write for yourself and your own enjoyment. Heck, that may be the best way to write. But my purpose has always been more than that. I’ve always written with another audience in mind. Sure, I laugh at all my own jokes, nod appreciatively at every witticism, and even tear up when I pluck a heartstring. (Okay, I’m lying. Don’t let me go on that way again.)
But I write to communicate. And not really with myself, which probably explains why I’ve never been a great journal writer. Writing, for me, is a way of taking part in the Big Story. Postmodernism (or whatever we’re in now) distrusts big stories (they call them metanarratives) in favor of little hyper-relevant stories that are true only in this time for this place with this group of people holding their mouths this way. I won’t say what this is, but you could step in it in fields and on barn floors near my childhood home. In reality, there is a grand story, the kind of story that Sam dreamed aloud of occupying. And I’d like to write a section, or a chapter, or a paragraph, or an anecdote. Frankly, I’d be happy with a phrase or two in that story, if it could make a difference in the way someone perceives not just the story but the Storyteller. So writing for little old me doesn’t really cut it.
Does that mean I’m retiring the blog? (Stop applauding, because the answer is…) Not on your life. As long as anyone’s staggering across my path, glimpsing something that might shake some thought loose that might turn someone in the Storyteller’s direction, I’ll keep writing. As our pastor, Tony McCollum, said today: “One thing, one decision, could change everything.” Maybe your one thing will have something to do with something I write, here or elsewhere. At any rate, I hope you’ll keep reading.
Hurry. I’m holding my breath here.