This past episode, my mom and I discussed Steven Pressfield's book The War of Art. As part of our discussion about overcoming resistance in our own lives, we decided that we would put some of Mr. Pressfield's ideas into action in our own lives and create something that we had been trying to create for years. For my mom, this was beginning to write a novel. I challenged myself to record a song. Here are the results of our past week of battling against resistance.
I am so proud of my mom for writing this. I love the way it paints a picture and I love how in just a few words she is able to develop very real characters. As for my own project, I faced a lot of resistance including a lot of technical issues. My microphone dropped and broke and the tracks I had recorded became corrupted and couldn't be salvaged. Still I was determined not to let resistance beat me so here is a more paired down, raw off the floor take of the song. There are not parts, not backing vocals, no bass licks, no organ rips and it has many warts but I didn't let resistance beat me.
If you haven't checked out or last episode, you should. It was a great chat with some eye opening ideas about how we create. The link is here. Also, if you have been creating something or facing your own resistance we'd love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below, tweet us @knownothingpod or visit our Facebook page. Now, the first chapter from my mom's novel and my cover of Saturday Night by The Misfits.
Callie lay on the warm ground, a cushion of wild rye stalks beneath her like a bed. All around her she could see nothing but the same golden-green stalks, making walls nearly four feet tall that swayed and bent in the breeze. She loved being out in the field, in her own homemade fort. It was secret and safe and a good place to listen. She could hear the sweeping sound the wind made as it teased and tagged the weeds around her, and she could hear the sound of a screen door opening and closing, maybe the one at her own house, maybe the one on the other side of the field.
Suddenly the whirring of wings made her sit up and look around anxiously. She knew that sound, too. Grasshopper. She was afraid of grasshoppers, the way they gathered in groups on the sidewalk, and jumped around like popcorn in a frying pan, all willy-nilly. And dangerous, for they sometimes jumped on her face, and once -- so gross! -- in her mouth. She didn't like the feel of their prickly feet on her arms and legs, the too-large eyes in their triangle-shaped faces, the sound they made when she accidentally stepped on them and squished them. Though they had been everywhere every summer of her 11 years, she had never yet made peace with them.
Cautiously, Callie lay back down, but as she looked up, bouncing on a stem right above her face was a big, brown grasshopper, his hind legs bent so very bug-like above his back and his antenna twitching. He didn't seem to be in a hurry to move on. In fact, he looked like he was enjoying himself, the wind making his chosen perch into a sort of bug amusement park ride, up and down, up and down. The thought made Callie smile. What about ant bumper cars and worm waterslides? Wait, potato bug roller coasters! She laid there grinning at the grasshopper, feeling some kind of a strange kinship with him. She'd actually never really stopped to watch any grasshopper this closely before, and she found she probably didn't mind him, as long as he was not touching her. Maybe, she thought, she wasn't actually bothered by one lonely grasshopper. Maybe it was the crowds of grasshoppers that were so unnerving. Almost fondly she said, "What are you doing there? You are so weird."
"What are you doing there? You are so weird." For a second Callie wondered whether grasshoppers could mimic, like a parrot. She blinked and squinted up into the sky at the face of her nearly 13-year-old sister. "I have been looking for you everywhere. Mother wants to speak to you." Callie scrambled to her feet and hastily brushed the dirt and bits of weeds off her jeans. She ran to catch up with Lynette who was already nearly at the driveway. "Am I in trouble? Lynette, am I in trouble? What did I do?" Then she stopped dead in her tracks, "Why are you calling Mama 'Mother'? Lynette, wait up."
Lynette sighed and stopped. She turned and stared at Callie with an expression on her face very much like the one Callie used when canned spinach was being served for dinner. "Who you were talking to out there in that dirty old field? And why are you always laying around in the weeds? Honestly, you really are so weird." Lynette gasped, and put her hands on her hips, "Wait, you were talking to that grasshopper, weren't you? Oh, Callie, grow up." And she turned on her heel and walked quickly over the driveway and into the house, banging the screen door behind her.
Callie followed more slowly. If she was in trouble, there was no point in hurrying, and Lynette still hadn't answered her question about why Mama was suddenly Mother, and twice in the space of a couple of minutes she had called Callie "weird." Wasn't it just a few weeks ago they had both been out in the dirty old field, sitting in the wild rye and flying a kite? She was pretty sure Lynette had never called her weird before either. She had definitely called her stupid and a baby, just as Callie had called Lynette bossy and dumb, but weird was a new one. Was she weird? She'd never thought she was, but so many things were not making much sense today. After all, she had actually been talking to a grasshopper.
Callie let the screen door slam behind her, too, and then was immediately sorry. Slamming the screen door was definitely not something Mama approved of, and if she was already in trouble, she had just poked a hornet's nest. But nobody said anything, and Mama wasn't even in the kitchen, although she usually was at this time of day, getting things ready for dinner and Daddy's arrival home from work. She poked her head cautiously around the corner and peered into the hallway and Jack's bedroom, which was right there, just at the end of the hallway. Jack was on his bed, curled up in a tight ball, his face pale and sweaty. Mama was there, too, and Lynette, and they were both looking at Jack and paying absolutely no attention to her. "Mama?" Callie breathed in almost a whisper.
"Oh there you are, Callie," Mama said, looking over her shoulder. "It's okay. I just wanted to tell you I'm going to run Jack up to the clinic in Lawton. He's been having a bit of a tummy ache since last night, and it just doesn't seem to be going away. Daddy will be home soon, and you can help Lynnette get dinner ready, can't you? Just hamburgers and pork and beans, something easy. We'll be home before you know it with some medicine to make Jack feel all better, and maybe some ice cream for dessert," and Mama brushed Jack's hair out of his eyes, then blinked fast and looked out the window at the field and the mountains behind it.
"Sure, Mama, we can do that," Callie said, feeling a little bit relieved and yet oddly anxious at the same time. Jack did look sick, but, shoot, they'd all had stomach aches or earaches at one time or another, and the doctor had always fixed them right up. Jack sat up, and Mama helped him with his shoes and socks, and Callie tried, as she always did, to lighten the mood by telling Jack about her ideas for bug rides. He smiled at her, but she could tell his heart wasn't really in it. "Maybe when you get home later, Jack, or tomorrow, after your medicine starts working, we can go outside and see if we can build some rides and catch some bugs to ride on them." Callie didn't like catching bugs, but she knew Jack was a big fan. What 8-year-old boy wasn't? That made him grin. "Okay, let's see if we can catch a bee." Jack's latest project was catching a bee. He wanted to put a little collar and leash on one and fly him around like a pet. He'd been trying all summer, but so far every bee had either died because he held them too tightly or had flown away, buzzing in anger.
"Don't worry about us, Mother," Lynette said importantly. "I'll be in charge, and Callie can help me. She knows how to open cans at least." Callie rolled her eyes. She knew how to do a lot more than use a can opener, and there was that "Mother" word again. Geez, what was the problem with Lynette today? But she knew Mama was worried, and Jack was obviously in pain, so she didn't make a big deal out of it. She tried most of the time not to make a big deal out of things. She didn't like it when things were out of sorts, people fighting or worried or upset or, well, weird. She wondered again, was she weird? And then put it out of her mind because Jack was shuffling to the door, and Mama was right behind him, grabbing her purse, looking for her keys, and biting her lip.
They all walked out onto the porch, although Callie was not quite sure why. It seemed important, somehow, that she watch her mother and brother get in the station wagon and back out of the driveway. She watched Jack get gingerly into the passenger seat, then lean back against the headrest, his eyes wide and scared, face nearly grey with pain. Mama started the car and started to back away. "Wait, wait," Callie nearly screamed, and she ran down the driveway. Mama rolled down her window, "What now, Callie? We're in a hurry." Callie wasn't sure why she had run after them or what she wanted to say now that she stood at her mother's open window. She glanced back and forth between her mother and Jack. "See ya," she said to Jack, and then gave him a thumb's up. Quietly, but still with the same Jack voice, the voice that always seemed to be smiling, he replied, "Wouldn't wanna be ya," and gave her a thumb's down. Mama smiled, a tiny, tired smile, and said, "Okay, enough of your shenanigans. We have to get to Lawton before that clinic closes." Callie waited in the driveway until the car reached the road and turned south to Lawton. Then she stood there for quite a while longer, watching the dust settle as Mama and Jack drove away.