from a series of posts by Colin on Best Slowly. Each posting is a walk, a sansaku, about 500 words long
Because I worked with dreams, I learned to write very fast. Dreams are hard to listen to, because you need to experience, feel, and remember all at the same time. I get distracted, usually after the first image, and lost in my own fantasies. By the time I come to and they’re asking me about the dream, I have to have them repeat it.
I discovered, if I wrote what they said, I could track the dream content, my experience, feelings, and what I wanted to say, all at the same time. It looks like hell when I’m doing it.
At Wendell’s celebration, my friend, Michael, who was another of the speakers asked me what I was doing. “I thought you were writing your speech at first, and then thought it might be a dissertation.”
He wasn’t the only one who asked. I took eighteen pages of notes.
I wanted to be sure I remembered, so I listened like I listen to dreams.
Since my fast writing is nearly illegible, I have to transcribe. If I intend to save something, I put it in my journal. I have stacks of notes that will never be read because I procrastinated. I have regrets.
I continued with Wendell’s celebration this morning, and copied what his friend Julie said. I realized it had an archetypal meaning.
She began by saying, “I would have to go after Mitchell. Great.” Mitchell is Wendell’s son and a world class musician. The two songs he had just sung were last kiss killers.
While he tuned his guitar, he said, “I shouldn’t be up here playing. Wendell, my dad, I hardly know what to call him, has died.”
“I tried to write a song, but I couldn’t find the words. That’s the first line, my dad is hard for me to describe.”
He tells us how he has always played guitar, for as long as he remembers. “It’s all I ever did.” His mom bought him his first guitar, but it was too large to get arms around, so he got a ukulele.
His dad never said much to encourage or discourage, praise or criticize, he just let him play. “One day,” Mitchell said, “I was playing ‘Misty’ and he walked over and listened.” He said, “You really can play that thing.”
“That was a turning point for me, and it’s the first song I want to play for you.”
When he finished the song, he said, “That was really hard. I’m shaking.” And then he played a song that just about did us all in.
Nights are long since you went away/ I think about you all through the day/ My buddy, my buddy/ Nobody quite so true.
Miss your voice, the touch of your hand/ Just long to know, you understand/ My buddy, my buddy/ Your buddy misses you.
After a guitar break, he sang the same words a second time, and I had no idea how he performed that song. Then came Julie’s time to speak.
“There’s a scene in the movie, ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ I want to talk about. Not the famous one, but the one where he says no man can be friends with a woman he finds attractive.”
After Julie paused to cry, she said, “That wasn’t true with Wendell. I was always safe with him. We could go there. He so adored his wife, that his boundaries were clear. Even though he was a babe magnet and liked to flirt.”
“My buddy, my buddy. My mentor, my teacher, my friend.”