Because Reflective Self-evaluation Matters

by | Feb 11, 2021 | February 2021 Writing | 4 comments

Damn how these squirrels outsmart at the suet feeder and deprive hungry woodpeckers their seed. Out from a snow tunnel the rat hightails toward the scattered ground. Theft is unstoppable.

Jamie witnesses no evidence of doubt in these creatures, and why would he? Is uncertainty what delays the rat from leaving cover? Is dubiety a predator? Don’t give them credit. Jamie has towers of his own shadows to rassle, and plenty to share. Jamie swept all that so-called from his desk years ago. Doesn’t stop the questioning, just breaks a few associations and buries others. Fragments reassemble in new and varying forms. The saying ‘failure is the path toward’ best settle in as a teacher soon.

 

Still doubt has Jamie in a stutter. Like failure, negativity and judgment cross him with loads of anger and rejection. Such an early lesson. Who needs an other to beat the self?

 

Upon waking in a warm cocoon, air chilled by deep-freeze, hours on a lagging project first to mind, judges in the game leer Jamie toward laxity over completion. Sure bet, invite a word ‘biblically associated with sin and negativity’ or ‘uncertain – with a somewhat negative connotation’ to sit down and provide guidance. Jamie’s dream-state magic is still within reach so his eyelids droop sending this judgement of unproductivity back to has-been lane. Better to dream.

 

Urges fight to surface. Certain memories confront the blithering self as bully and as bullied. Give up doubt or give up enterprise Jamie says. Witness those worse for wear and grow some compassion.

 

Such a boar, this strangle hold of confidence, when a drive into the ‘never more’ is just round the corner. Hundreds of times the nightmare repeats where the bear chases o’re hill and dale ‘till Jamie stumbles awake in breathless dread, only to know the bear now patiently hides in the dark closet ‘cross the hall awaiting. Gains in knowledge and experience drive Jamie’s trite rants on truths-of-a-sort back toward a humbling in-authenticity. Errors are buried everywhere. Get over yourself, the inside of Jamie cries. Happiness is overrated and sadness deceptively selfish.

 

The rustle of aspen leaves soothe unlike any other tree. Jamie climbs the trunk high, aware of weak wood, and immerses his brain in the soft whispering haven of a quacking rustle.

 

The song Jaime hears is: Do the work that matters.

4 Comments

  1. Meg Tuite

    John! Some great language in this. “shadows to rassle” “Still doubt has Jamie in a stutter.” “leer’ ‘laxity’ “Such a boar, this strangle hold of confidence, when a drive into the ‘never more’ is just round the corner. “…in breathless dread, only to know the bear now patiently hides in the dark closet ‘cross the hall awaiting.” “whispering haven of a quacking rustle.”
    You question the doubt and how close it is. I LOVE THIS!
    Suggestions: Try to tighten up these sentences. Read it aloud.
    For example: “Damn how these squirrels outsmart at the suet feeder and deprive hungry woodpeckers their seed.” (Damn squirrels outsmart the deprived woodpeckers of their suet.”) Watch for any ‘fat’ within the sentence structure and see how it reads without.
    This is a great first draft. LOVE how you are delving in and also working the unique words in this! LOVE!

  2. Constance Malloy

    John, you fully embraced the theme, and this piece does a great job of showing the internal wrestling match going on within Jamie. This is a thinking out loud wondering: Can you achieve the same thing without ever mentioning the word doubt? Thanks for sharing.

  3. David O'Connor

    John, so visual, you really paint an enter-able picture here. Love it. It actually brings up a question that I am battling with right now and not winning the war–what happens (to the reader) when a 3rd person narrator inserts rhetorical questions? Do we, the readers, assume we are in the head of the character? Does the writer need to signpost, he thought, he thought to himself. Or just go for it and enjoy the tonal shifts? Anyway, this piece is in the fray, just thought I’d share, as I’m also doing battle with those thoughts and wondering how to keep them in there, do they need to be in there, and what do they do by being in there? PS. love the title.

  4. jennifer vanderheyden

    Hi John! I love how this piece starts right off with a ton of emotion, and makes us wonder if the narrator is saying it or Jamie, per David’s questions about the POV. You might play around with first-person, but my gut feeling is that I like 3rd person.
    One of my favorite lines: “Happiness is overrated and sadness deceptively selfish.”
    I also would consider omitting the last line unless you plan to continue the piece.
    I agree with Meg and Connie about the tightening up of some of the sentences, and considering not mentioning the word “doubt”. Thanks so much for this.

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