24 Feb

I sort of split 50-50 between thinking I’m a complete twat, and the other half thinks I’m fucking brilliant… — Gavin Clark

Gavin Clark died last week.  Sadly, until his death, I had no idea who he was.  I met him through Shane Meadows’ film, The Living Room.  Beginning like a goof between buddies, Shane visits Gavin’s home, catches him still waking up: messy kitchen, the familiar routine of trying to get organized after the kids are off to school.  With some prompting, Gavin begins to talk about the project they’re working on, a concert in his own living room, as a first step toward overcoming his fears as a performer.

Immediately endearing, it took me some time to realize that this sweet, struggling man is also brilliant, his singing surpassed only by his songwriting.  Messy kitchen, unpaid tax bill and all, his songs took me to places I have long neglected.  A gift from a stranger, a friend I had never met.

Later I found myself telling Heath, (who’s running for 6th grade student representative on a platform of extended electronics time, computer classes for the 6th grade, and an end to racial and sexual discrimination) that whenever he finds something exciting, something that sparks his imagination, he needs to hold on to it, because people will tell him it has no value, and that his focus needs to be on working hard and making money.  This will be a lie, I told him.  Those sparks are what we live for.  Those moments take us where we need to go.

That evening Hallie wrecked my desk. She was sly about it, waiting until I was outside shoveling snow, nothing but cuteness and good intentions when Amy came down to find her quietly drawing.  But once the coast was clear, she muscled the desk drawer off its runners and onto the bed, scattering notebooks, paper clips, pads, pens and highlighters everywhere.  When I found the mess she had made, Hallie was all innocence, and took my scolding with big brown eyes and a quivering lip.  “OK daddy,” she said, looking up at me with tear-stained cheeks, my noble, six-year-old, pony-tailed martyr.  And then she shuffled off down the hall, no doubt planning her next bit of destruction.

As I listened to her pad away, I gathered up the pens and paper, replaced the drawer, straightened my desk, and sat down for a few minutes.  I dug out the details for that new journal that was calling for submissions, ran through all the half-finished blog posts I’d been meaning to get to, and took another look at that short story that had started so well.  And I thought of my friend Mark, who drowned when we were six, and my best friend Randy, who I haven’t seen for forty years, and all the other people who were so important to me, and who I never see.  I wondered what they were doing, and if they ever thought of me.

And then I thought: I’m as adult as I want to be.

And I began to write.


9 Responses to “Kindred”

  1. Stephanie February 24, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    What a wonderful ending….or perhaps more of a beginning or renewal?

    • dtoddbell February 25, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

      Thank you Stephanie. I’ll have you know my fingers had barely left the keyboard when your comment came flying through. Greatly appreciated.

  2. Lucille Pirri February 24, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    Another great read for me. I look forward to your writing and it always lifts me up out of any doldrums .i am in. Keep up the good work…and kiss those two adorable kids for me…and, if course, love to Amy. Lucille

    • dtoddbell February 25, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

      Thank you Lucille. Doldrums are tough. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do. Also, Amy says you have a good meatball recipe. If you have a moment and it’s not too much of a hassle, would you mind sharing it with me? I’m looking for a good meatball recipe.

  3. dtoddbell February 24, 2015 at 4:35 pm #

    More, Please!

  4. Saavik February 24, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

    This is great–a wonderful spark!! And good luck to Heath on his campaign! 🙂

    • dtoddbell February 25, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

      Thanks Saavik. I’ll let you know when he brings an end to racism and sexism.

  5. Dan March 1, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    Timely, as most pieces that touch us are…. A great genesis of much brewing out there, especially in my world. An odd year, this past, for so many reasons, but I feel the expansion exponentially. We’re due for burgers and beers sooner than later; just adult enough, I think….

  6. Robert Harrington March 8, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    Hi D, I read your latest post this Daylight Saving (Sun)Day. Congrats. Well done. Keep up the good work. And Heath has my vote, fyi. Cheers, Robert

    Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:59:02 +0000 To:

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