Jack and I: The Beginning

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That’s it. I’ve had it with myself.

 

So I’m officially surrendering my no-life life to Jack.

 

No, not this one. (Tempting, but no. Besides, even if he HAD been the chosen Jack, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to keep him.)

 

This Jack.

 

Yep, he is an honest to goodness, real, live, guy.

 

I hope he won’t feel too offended that I can’t quite remember where exactly we met. I do know it was in an American bookshop. Possibly the Barnes & Noble at the Inner Harbour in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

I’m certain I can pinpoint it to a Friday afternoon. Circa 2004. I was probably dressed in the unflattering blue golf shirt I was forced to wear at my volunteer gig, which was conveniently located next to the bookshop. (The place’s proximity to the bookshop was the main reason why I took the job, to be honest. Because that awful outfit gave me second thoughts about volunteerism in the United States… Maybe they had assigned us such atrocious uniforms so that we could better sympathise with the abuse aimed towards the various species we were trying to protect?) So it was possibly during the summer then. But winter or summer, I’d be quite willing to bet my life on it that I had a Starbucks Grande Latté (with extra foam) in my other hand when I first stuck out my hand to greet him.

 

Jack and I spent the rest of that afternoon together over a few more coffees in the bookshop café, engrossed in… well, he certainly had MY rapt attention, even if the feelings weren’t mutual. (I didn’t mind, though. The one-sided nature of the relationship didn’t deter me at all.) In fact, I know it’s bold, but I was certain I had at last found The One.

 

Not to diminish my original love-at-first-glance, but in retrospect I actually think it was more a case of me - in a moment of desperation - believing that he would be the one to save me from myself. That he would be the guy to finally unleash my very best, most creative – and yes, while he was at it, would he mind attempting to unearth prettiest too? – Self.

 

(Yes, I’ve always been a dreamer.)

 

Whatever the intentions behind my initial feelings were, I took him home that very evening. Now, before you think I’m a right floozy, I couldn’t bear to run the risk of letting the likes of him slipping through my fingers.

 

I had already made that mistake once before, after all. With the absolute love of my life. But I digress…

 

As is typical of new romances, we were inseparable at first. As soon as I knew I had him though, I lost interest. (I refer to such moments of boredom as ‘staying in touch with my masculine side’. Every girl should do it! Seriously, I’ve found that we can actually be better at it than the guys!)

 

Would you believe that, after I left the States at the end of 2005, Jack actually followed me back to South Africa?

 

And he has not given up. From place to place, he has followed me. Relentless and loyal in his quiet pursuit, yet I can almost feel the reproach at being ignored radiating from him.

 

At times I would get so annoyed with him (and with myself for all the unkempt promises I’ve made which he represents) I’d stuff him back into the box with all the other How-to books about writing that I own.

 

But for some inexplicable reason, I’m always drawn back to him.

 

So it’s time. I’ve decided to, at long last, indulge him and fully devote myself to him. For an ENTIRE YEAR.

 

Here I am then, Mr. Jack Heffron, a copy of your “The Writer’s Idea Book” open before me yet again. (I almost feel as if I’m back at the tiny row house on Buena Vista Avenue in Baltimore, sitting at the round kitchen table with its blue-checkered tablecloth.) 

 

Over the next year, I vow to complete every single of the 400 writing exercises in this book on this blog.

 

Why? Because I’ve finally completely lost my mind?

 

Because I’m bored and I don’t have a life anyway so I might as well? And I’m paying a boat load of hosting for this blog, yet I’m too sentimental to let it go, so I might as well start writing here more regularly? 

 

Well, yes, perhaps a little of all of the above. But actually, the truth is more like this: I’ve finally realised that I can own all the How-to books in the world, but without any effort on my part, merely possessing it isn’t going to help me at all. 

 

Yes, my logic is absolutely astounding, isn’t it?

 

What can I say, I’ve always been a bit slow on the uptake.

 

So here I am. Bring it on, Mr. Jack Heffron and your “The Writer’s Idea Book”!

 

(I have a feeling I’m going to regret this…)

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6 Comments

Po said:

Hmm. Sounds like a good idea. Maybe I need to aquaint myself with Jack too.

I look forward to your exercises!

kyknoord said:

Who are you and what have you done with Red?

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Po: I already regret that I didn't pick the other Jack instead, and I haven't even started yet! Oh, well... I suppose this is the closest the likes of me will ever come to any form of exercise! (Not that that you could ever grasp my aversion to that, rock scaling chick!). Also, by opting for THIS Jack, I can at least still stay in bed!

Kyk: She was abducted by former illegal aliens.

I heartily endorse such a project. Most people need deadlines to actually do anything - well I know I do. So, go you!

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Aunty: Even though I've accidentally completed the first exercise (even though it wasn't my drunke... I mean... tipsyish... intention to do so!), I still think surrendering my life to the other Jack would've been far lovelier.

Besides, the other Jack seemed to work just fine for the likes of Hemingway and co.! As I remarked to my dinner companions earlier tonight: "He didn't drink himself to death! He shot himself to death!"

To which my cheeky friend cheerily remarked: "Yes, but he was probably drunk when he pulled the trigger!"

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Aunty... here's a somewhat delayed PS to my previous comment: So if Hemingway had INDEED been inebriated when he pulled the trigger, then the fact that he still managed to shoot himself means that the alcohol even enhanced his aim! (So no wonder he drank when he wrote!)

Unless of course he had been aiming for something or someone else all along...

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
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The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)

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comments
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Aunty... here's a somewhat delayed PS to my previous comment: So if Hemingway had INDEED been inebri... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Aunty: Even though I've accidentally completed the first exercise (even though it wasn't my drunke..... [go]
  • Aunty Helpful Dictator : I heartily endorse such a project. Most people need deadlines to actually do anything - well I know ... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Po: I already regret that I didn't pick the other Jack instead, and I haven't even started yet! Oh, ... [go]
  • kyknoord : Who are you and what have you done with Red?... [go]
  • Po : Hmm. Sounds like a good idea. Maybe I need to aquaint myself with Jack too. I look forward to your ... [go]
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