Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Sunday, November 27, 2005

There's this song

I've been hearing on the radio a lot lately. It's one of those ones that initally didn't register on my Like-O-Meter but subsequent listenings have charted it. It's now #2 with a bullet. (#1 is still The Killers' All These Things That I Have Done.)

It's by James Blunt and is called You're Beautiful. You've probably heard it. He's got kind of a strange voice, high and fragile. I'm not normally one for listening to guys with high and fragile voices. Give me Van Morrison, Ray Charles or Bob Seger most days. (I love Roy Orbison too and his voice was high I suppose, but definitely un-fragile.)

But in this song, Blunt's voice fits the bill perfectly. It's about a guy who's haunted by a girl he's seen. Just seen. They haven't shared anything beyond a moment of exchanged glances, yet his life has been altered forever. The wistfulness in his voice woke echoes and I finally figured out why I like it so much.

I remember on the flight home from Europe too many years ago, I was smitten by a girl sitting across and a couple of rows ahead of me. She wore one of those small kerchief things on top of her head like so many girls did back in the late 60s and early 70s. She was beautiful. My heart started pounding the minute I saw her. This flight was headed to New York City and I was to take a connecting flight to Toronto within an hour of landing. I was certain this girl was staying in New York.

I spent most of the flight in agony. I tried to distract myself by reading. I redoubled my usual efforts at keeping a heavier-than-air craft aloft through sheer will power. It was no use. I couldn't get my mind off the girl and we'd be landing in a half-hour or so.

I borrowed a piece of paper and pen from someone and scribbled a note. I forget the exact words but I told her she was beautiful and I loved her. I then beckoned the stewardess (they were still called that in 1971), explained that I was in love and pointed out the object of my ardour. I asked if she would please give her the note and tell her it was from me.

She did and the girl turned around, locked eyes with me and smiled.

Now the perfect ending would be that we got married, had kids and lived happily ever after. And if that's the ending you'd prefer, you can stop reading now.

But here's what really happened.

I walked over to her seat and started babbling. She babbled back. She did indeed live in NYC and was returning home after several months working in a kibbutz in Israel. She laughed when I told her I loved her. But she blushed too and I took that as a good sign. We exchanged addresses and I even got a hug when the plane landed and we parted.

We wrote each other a couple of times but life got in the way and I never saw her again.

But she was beautiful. And I guess I've never forgotten her.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Because I can.

That's the answer to the question I just asked myself: Why do you want to post another blog entry so soon after the last one?

It got me thinking about other questions every writer asks him or herself eventually: Why the heck am I doing this? Why is it so important that I tell stories? Why do I want others to read and like them? What makes me think people should pay to read and (hopefully) like them?

I've seen these and other similar questions asked and answered dozens of times on writing boards. But I don't think I've seen anyone use the "e" word as part of their answer.

Ego. I think some of us are needy in that area.

We all need affirmation - to be seen, heard, recognized. As children we needed our parents to acknowledge us. As teens, we needed our peers to do so. As adults, it should be enough that our boss, co-workers, friends and family know us and like us.

But not writers.


We want total strangers to be gobsmacked by our talents and affirm the heck out of us by buying our work or at least becoming fans. Both would be way better.

Most of us won't admit it though. We'll murmur appropriately-modest stuff about writing for ourselves. Maybe about exorcising our demons or performing intellectual calisthenics.

I'll believe this of those whose work never sees the inside of an envelope (or an email) addressed to a publisher. I'll buy it from those who wouldn't dream of blogging in front of the whole, wide world.

But the rest of us -- the ones who know all about SASEs and have to take pains not to end letters to family and friends with "Thank you for your time and consideration" -- if we look into our hearts we'd see the truth.

We have much in common with our 3-year-old selves - tugging on Mom's skirt, saying "Look! Look!" - and needing to hear "I see you."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cleverly, I reduced expectations via my blog's title.

I'm a sucker for remainder bins. I know many of the books mouldering there aren't very good. Maybe even dreck. I don't care. They're affordable dreck - hardcovers even! Besides, every now and then there's a gem buried there. When I find one, I feel like a kid again, finding a quarter that fell out of somebody's pocket under the swings.

I subtitled my emailed humour column "The Random Musings of Frank Baron." A bit trite maybe - but apt. I rarely have a clue what that week's topic is going to be until I confront the Great White Monitor a day or two before it's to go out. Although I've been earning money from writing off and on for 30 years, I give that column away. (Once I figure out some of the technical stuff around here, I'll post a link, or give the address where you can sign up.)

Anyway, occasionally I have leftover musings. Maybe it's stuff about writing and I don't want to bore most of my readers (who aren't writers). Or maybe it's sports, or politics, or fishing or (gasp!) sex.

Well, maybe not sex. We'll see.

I have a "real" website at www.frankbaron.com but I'm a techno-dweeb and can't update it myself. I don't want to always rely on the good auspices of my friend AbbyTheWebsiteMaven to do it for me either.

So here we are. My first solo blog entry. I'll try to scatter the occasional gem amidst the dross.

I welcome any and all visitors and appreciate and will carefully peruse all highly-laudatory comments.

I'll delete the ones I hate.