Denis Johnson’s Rules

I’ve been in a rut. Maybe you have been too. All ruts are different and occur in different times in our lives. Mine is employment related. Or lack of employment. It’s a pressure that builds. A fear of missing out in the job search realm. Take my eyes away from Indeed or LinkedIn job searches for any portion of time and forego the (rather small) chance of that dream remote job that aligns perfectly with my background. The window seems small.

But all that is illusion. The negative energy I bring to it is noticeable, probably effecting the positive outcome I desire. So I’ve come back to writing. Denis Johnson was a great writer. His novella Train Dreams is a wonderful gateway to his work and I highly recommend. Johnson had one of the best rule sets for writing. Simple, direct, and easy to remember:

Three Rules To Write By

Write naked. That means to write what you would never say.

Write in blood. As if ink is so precious you can’t waste it.

Write in exile, as if you are never going to get home again, and you have to call back every detail.  (The New Yorker, 26 May 2017)

It’s a reminder to cut the fluff and bare your soul. Make the words matter, but don’t fear putting them down. That’s what this blog is for. So after a very long break, I will be putting words out there into the universe again. Read them, don’t read them, don’t care. I won’t publish everything…that’s a bit much. But random walks in the nearby park, birds I see, remembrances, weather updates, aches and pains… all are on the table.

Asahiyama Park
Asahiyama Park – November 28th, 2023

A day after this photo it snowed for much of the day, washing away the bed of golden pine needles and turning the roads into an ice rink. Fall has been barely discernible and yesterday caught it for a moment in freeze frame. It will snow for a few days, then possibly warm up, melt it down, and do it all over again. Or option two: This is the beginning of one of the largest snowfalls this region has seen in decades. That’s the rumor based on our oppressively hot summer. The snowshoes are ready.



What do you think?