Thursday, September 2, 2010

Uncle Frank's Manifesto

I spent the customary moments cleaning the lenses of my reading glasses. They usually wear a level of grease from my fingertips. I don't know why I've never kicked the habit of touching the lenses when I put the darn things on and take them off.
The little lens cloth, a leopard print thing makes me happy for a reason I'll never be able to understand.
The book, an older edition, hardbound and yellow rests on the small table. The book is closed. Front cover down, the thing waits for me.
I'll have to adjust everything in the entire room before I sit down. It may be a nervousness, but I've got the time for such frivolous activities.
Sunlight rolls through the window in waves insisting on an existence outside through the shadows of the springtime leaves of springtime trees. I suddenly want the sunlight.
The questions remain, do I want a view out the window for a sight to see when I look up from the text? And do I mix a martini before I get started? It's springtime and a drink so early in the day would be a sure indication of leisure time. It would be a sure indication of checking out entirely, just me and my text. Perhaps a second pot of coffee would be a better issue for a springtime day filled with fiction and sunlight. It seems like the ideal way to pass the afternoon: coffee and a novel, sunlight and springtime.
Reading glasses, cleaned.
Coffee, planned and percolated.
A record scratches off on the turntable. I turn the thing off rather than flipping the record. The lazy jazz was how I passed the morning, and the afternoon I reserve for fiction.
The room is perfect. With the windows open, I breath deeply the oncoming spring: crocuses, budding flowers, bees coming out of hibernation. When the air stirs into the room, small eddies of dust dance across the wood floor of two centuries old wood. I'm ready. It's an event. Of all the things to pass an afternoon: time clock punches, rounds of golf, bus tours through combat zones, daytime talk shows, I'm choosing to drink a pot of coffee and cracking a novel. When I consider the book: In the Cut by Susanna Moore, perhaps the martini might have been a better companion than the coffee.
To write, to construct good fiction, one must consider spending years as a reader first. When we settle into the pages of the novels we read, we are embarking on our life's work as writers. Perhaps that is my manifesto for the day. A manifesto which won't be written because I'm otherwise engaged in a reading endeavor. Here it goes: Uncle Frank's manifesto, “Stop all that nonsense, fetch your reading glasses and invest your time reading.” If you want it, you can always mix a martini.

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