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Beautiful Exiles

beautiful exiles

Beautiful Exiles

I’m currently reading Meg Waite Clayton’s, Beautiful Exiles, a novel about Ernest Hemingway and his third wife, Martha Gellhorn. Gellhorn, also an American novelist, travel writer, and journalist is considered one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century. She reported on virtually every major world conflict that took place during her 60-year career.

I’m paraphrasing the following from a passage in the book, simply because it rings so true to me. Especially regarding my autobiography, Just A Boy: When a writer, more so if he’s an amateur like me, lets go of a book, he does so, knowing all the wrong in it will forever be wrong. And even the bits—and it truly seems it’s only bits—that are good and right leave your soul ripped out of your chest and placed on the page to be examined by anyone who cares to read them.

This—to me anyway—rings even more true today than it did in the days of Hemingway and Gellhorn. Thanks mostly to the Internet, which has given license to “perform” to anyone—me included—who dares take their shot at writing, singing, comedy, art, et al. It’s a good thing but also a very bad thing. Good, in the sense we can take our shot, but bad in the sense that so can millions of others, and the odds of being “shot down” are high.

I’m not complaining, or excusing my lack of success, I’m merely trying to convey how this feels—this writing thing. I’ve often said that to write, one must be either very intelligent or somewhat insane. I’ve decided I’m just smart enough… to be fool enough… to write.

Here’s a list of links to my published works:

Just A Boy

Just A Man

Be Still

Juli

Shelter

The Devil’s Dust

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I Can’t Stop the Bleeding

At that moment I was twelve going on twenty. I’d jumped so far forward in life my head was spinning but, in a strange way, it was all starting to make sense. But it was making sense in a way that made no sense at all. As I looked across the table at my mom, her tears dripping onto the Formica-topped kitchen table, I wondered about love, I wondered about God, I wondered what life was all about. And as all these things raced around in my mind, they began to form the new me—the soon-to-be-a-man me. I suddenly realized, and I admit a tinge of fear accompanied the thought, that I had to—somehow—protect my mom, my brothers, and my sister. From my dad.

~~~~~

The above is an excerpt from a book I began writing last November. I abruptly stopped writing the book, due to a very unexpected circumstance. Most of you are aware of what happened but if not, you can read my post, The World Stopped Turning, for the details. But there’s more to it than that. I simply didn’t, and still don’t, know if I can write the rest of this story.

But, a few days ago, I began reading a book, not by but about, Ernest Hemingway. As I read it, I was inspired, not by his talent, or his person, but by his pain. He was a tormented man, and he was not afraid to display his frailty to the world. He said this about writing:clouds and mountains HemingwayI’m certainly no Hemingway, but I bleed, and I cannot stop the bleeding. I’ll let you know when the book is finished.

Just A Boy

 

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Kind Eyes

Mom's cloud - Angels poem

I have heard them

Sometimes in a word—just one

Sometimes in a conversation—a long one

 

I have seen them

Sometimes for a moment—a smile

Sometimes for a season—or many years

 

Sometimes from a distance

With only a picture

Or with words on a screen

They have touched me

 

Always there

Always watching

Sometimes carrying me

Sometimes simply being there

 

And sometimes…

Oh, yes…

Sometimes…

I have felt them…

Seen them…

In the eyes of a mere mortal

As my tortured soul was soothed

By kind eyes

 

Copyright © C Mashburn 2019

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Obsessing Still

Obsessing Still

 

In my youth I was obsessed

The automobile and its awesome power

Owned me

Its only rival the music that

Moved me

Or… were they partners in the game 

Both have ceased to call to me

 

jbs house (2) quote

Breathing deep of the unseen rose

While gazing at silhouettes on smooth water

As daylight bows to night

 

In the void, seeking; sometimes finding

Blessed inner peace

Wanting nothing more

Hoping for nothing less

Obsessing on its promised caress

All else… scattering in the road

Behind me

 

Now and then, glancing up to the mirror

Watching… as the silent movie plays

Parts and pieces bouncing and tumbling

Into the muddy ditch of the past

Once filled with the raging waters

Of my life

 

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

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Where No One Lives

If you’ve ever driven the small highways of Texas, you’ve seen a house like this; some of them near to falling down. I wrote this poem quite a few years ago after such a drive, and on this cold and wet East Texas day, it seems fitting to post it again. It’s kind of a sad poem, and I think you all know I’m not sad. In fact, I have much to be thankful for. I just wanted to share one of my favorite writings with you.

Where No One Lives

 

Wind shrieks through broken windows

           A house where no one lives

               Rusted wheel cries out an answer

                           From a well that no water gives

The painting is “Forever Yesterday” by Evelyn Peters, and the painting and poem hang side by side on our living room wall. It almost seems the poem was written about the painting, but it wasn’t.

 

Leafless tree that once bore fruit

  Alone in a weed filled yard

    Long since dead and barren

Lifeless limbs are grey and hard

 

Splintered door on rusted hinge

 Sings a mournful song then closes

  By the porch a broken trellis

    Once filled with yellow roses

    

                                    Porch swing sits against the wall

                                       No chains to make it swing

                                            No lovers or children to hold

                                                    When April brings the spring

 

                                                           Broken boards, once a home

                                                              Shelter, it no longer gives

                                                                  Tis but a pile of broken memories

                                                                     This house where no one lives

 

Copyright © 1998 C. Mashburn

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Thank You, God, For Her

In the spring of 1995, I was just winding down from a period in my life when I had severely tested the boundaries between right and wrong. I look back on those days and wonder how I survived, much less became the somewhat decent man I am. I credit God for both, but he has a co-star in the latter; He sent a beautiful lady—an angel, I believe—to show me what love is all about.

I wrote the following, rather clumsy, amateurish poem a few days before the first anniversary of the day I met Sherry, and today, almost 24 years after that first meeting, the words I wrote are truer than ever. Except that is, I can truly say I no longer worry about her, because I know God will always bring her home safely to me; and I no longer have to hope it’s her, because now, I know it’s her.

Sherry will be home soon, and at the end of what’s been more than three of the most trying weeks of our lives, I know when she walks through that door I’ll say, “Thank you, God, for her.”  

God, I Hope That’s Her

 I remember when we met

It seems like only yesterday

You walked into my life

I knew I wanted you to stay

 

And it still makes me smile

Every time I picture you

As you walked up to me

In that pretty dress of blue

 

I spent my whole life searching

And wondering where you were

And the first time that I saw you

I whispered, “God, I hope that’s her

 

grin-big-earsOur love grew so fast

We couldn’t stand to be apart

We were meant to be together

We knew it from the start

 

I wanted to be with you

Every minute of every day

Every time you left me

I wanted you to stay

 

I thought about you all the time

And I wondered where you were

Every time the phone would ring

I whispered, “God, I hope that’s her

 

I promise that I’ll love you

For the rest of my life

I want you with me always

I’m so happy you’re my wife

 

Now, when you’re not at home

And it starts getting late

I sometimes start to worry

I walk the floor and wait

 

I tell myself, when you get home

I’ll ask you where you were

And every time I hear a car

I whisper, “God, I hope that’s her

 

Copyright © 1996 C. Mashburn

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Who Said That?

It was a beautiful, sunny day in east Texas yesterday, and this poem I wrote several years back came to mind. Some days it’s cold, some days it’s hot, but some days are just right. More and more, I’m learning to enjoy them all. 

The Sun on My Face

 

I stood there

Head tilted back

Eyes closed

The sun on my face

 

The sound

Of a twelve string

Began to play

A tune I didn’t know

 

walking with jesusI smiled

And God smiled back

It doesn’t get

Any better than this

 

As I continued my walk

I wondered

Did He say that

Or did I

 

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

Please check out my website, Marbles In My Pocket, and my latest books:

JUST A BOY – A childhood memoir

JUST A MAN – A book of encouragement

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