We walked on a mountain last Saturday. You don't believe me? I've got proof. Some of it went home with us, stuck in shoe-sole crevices and trapped in trouser creases. That fine quartz sand drawing tourists to Pensacola and other beaches along the Gulf of Mexico has washed down from the Appalachian Mountains over millions of years. Tiny grains, eroded and deposited, not just once but endlessly by wave action and sea-level changes.
We had some tense moments last week...more than what we're used to these days. SAM and I drove back home last Friday afternoon to watch Grandson while his mom and dad went to a church retreat in Destin. The date was clearly marked on my calendar. March 11. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Wrong. On the surface, everything was smooth, for Grandson's sake. As soon as I turned on the TV to watch the evening news, SAM reminded me. Disturbing images and sounds. Turn it off. Okay, I will, for a while.
You see I'm trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across--not to just depict life--or criticize it--but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing. You can't do this without putting in the bad and the ugly as well as what is beautiful. Because if it is all beautiful you can't believe in it. Things aren't that way. It is only by showing both sides--3 dimensions and if possible 4--that you can write the way I want to. (Ernest Hemingway to Dr. C. E. Hemingway, 1925, Selected Letters)
While Grandson made sandcastles on the beach, his other Grandpa who lives in Japan tried to get word to his daughter. Phone service was unavailable. Somehow, he managed to get a message to her on Facebook. "I'm all right," he wrote. That's more than I've been able to manage lately. Sometimes the words refuse to come out, and I can't even manage to call or send a simple e-mail message to someone dear to me. Or leave an encouraging comment on a Japanese friend's site. March 11--even before 2011--had already left its mark on me in "three dimensions and if possible four."