Minding the Gaps

All contents © 2008 Philip Semanchuk.

Mind the gap.
- Famously, the London subway system

Tänk på avståndet mellan vagn och platform när du stiger av.
- Less famously, "Mind the gap" as expressed by the Stockholm subway system

Yeah, OK, gaps. I'm minding them, believe me. I feel disappointed that I haven't kept to a schedule of writing a new piece every month. Here's the story.

I write to educate myself. I read once that if a writer knows what he is going to write before he picks up the pen, he might as well not bother. For me, this is absolutely true. My incentive for writing is these surprises that come out of the pen. I write myself into a reverie and then things pop out that I didn't know I had in me. It is like reaching into your mouth and pulling out a live goldfish or a Fiat 500 or a flamenco guitar with rosewood inlays. How did that get in there? I say to myself, "Go ahead, surprise me. Tell me what I already know."

The surprises are cool. But sometimes it gets boring when I am in between surprises, so I thought a monthly deadline would help me to push through the boredom. Well, for better or worse I am employed now and the luxury of long afternoons in coffeeshops has become too expensive. (I do my best creative thinking with the sound of an espresso machine in the background.) Without this, it is hard to make the time to slip into writing reverie and so my inky treasures are harder to get to.

I still want to write about a lot of things. I want to write about the taxi driver from Stryj who helped us wake our dead and then nearly killed us, death by bovine. I want to write about standing furious outside a church in Lviv in Ukraine, so angry that I kicked it, so angry that I didn't appreciate how prescient my friend Paula was when she told me to wear my cowboy boots to Ukraine because "you never know when you might need to kick some ass". Thank you Paula! I want to write about kicking a nun (same boots), about my friend Cowboy John and his perfection at being himself, about the consistent kindness of my cousins in Kraków even though I make Asha nervous, about frostbite in Åre and riding a mountain bike through snow at -35 degrees Celsius wearing an overcoat and cowboy boots (again). I could write about the unstoppable music, my marvellous friends, teaching myself to speak English, the Infinite Bullshit Recorder, spelling paranoia, rudeness(1), the difference between memory and nostalgia, attacking America, defending America, Instant Stupid Celebrity, twenty four hours on the Party Barge, stretching out my skin and Martin Luther King Jr.'s importance to me. I want to write about the common theme that I find in the towns of Rosewood in Florida, Rivne in Ukraine and Wolica in Poland.

I might. I hope I do, because all of these are things I want to understand, to förstår, to comprehend, discern, fathom, grok. Can you dig it?

Rest assured that I will write about something, sometime and when I do I will certainly put it in a place where you can read it. I hope you will pay me the honor of your interest. Maybe you will -- after all, you've read this far.

The unstoppable music that I mentioned above is the music that's always running through my head. I don't know why I describe it as unstoppable. Stopping it is the last thing I'd want to do.

A rhyme for the summertime
Straight up ragmop blue
Digging the scene from the streetside view
So when I'm cooling on the block, dig
Looking for some action
I can't rest till I find satisfaction(2)

 

Footnotes

1. Like G. Love and Special Sauce say, "some people got attitude backed up with attitude". You can find that in Some Peoples Is Like That on their outstanding eponymous first album. [back]

2. ibid.