First Love

No matter how much new gear I get, I always manage to go back to my first love: the Fuji XE1. You can get these for peanuts online. Colour rendition, control, toughness all second to none. With a relatively inexpensive pancake 27mm it’s the perfect go everywhere camera.


A little ways up north

the .410 bore was perfect
full choked for partridge
either perched or flying

he’d dropped another one onto the small pond
getting his feet wet
when he’d stepped through the ice

he dressed it - wings tucked then yanked quickly -
and placed the breast in waxed cardboard
the carcass tossed aside for any hungry vixen

walking the path that ribboned through pines
he picked up boughs and cones
to decorate the hunting shack

smoke from the rusted chimney
carried wintergreen and blueberries
mixed with breadcrusts ready for stuffing

his uncle looked up from the woodstove
woodspoon in hand
white beard streaked from sampling

“Looks like you got yourself soaked…
take your socks off and hang ‘em
in front of the fire.”

They sat together sharing a bottle of port
telling stories and retelling memories
eager for another perfect holiday meal

Winter stump © R L Raymond

Through the woods…

Leafless Trees & Harvested Crops © R L Raymond

Through the woods 
in late afternoon in autumn

as the colours
drain brown
stain water
humus
over broken
branches
all bark-stripped
smoothworn
they blindly rush
hoping
the leaf-slick
deer-run
leads them away
from dusk
hanging low
so soon
to the hollow
where the
flask of scotch
was hid

Originally appeared in “Gorilla Pamphlets”


Some experimenting below. I thought it may be interesting to append to this post. This would be a good exercice à la Beckett to achieve that “detached” vibe in one’s writing.

There is nothing but a story

Whenever an artist, a craftsperson, a chef creates something identifiable as his or her own, the underlying differentiator is the story. Forget the words, brush strokes, hammer marks, tool grinds, ingredients; the only thing — the only quality — that matters is the story. What remains from the creation is not only ‘object,’ but ‘narrative’ of why that object has come to be. The creative thing does not exist without the story lest it become a mere commodity, a castaway one-use bobble, ephemera.

The very reason your Mother’s Spaghetti is unmatched by spaghetti in a can or from a restaurant is because the concept of “Mom’s spaghetti” is inseparably linked to the background tales, memories, made-up family tidbits that surround the spaghetti itself. These will survive the death of the Mother. These will transcend the small changes made to the original recipes by daughters and sons. These will be the insoluble essence of Mother’s Spaghetti. The old jokes and reminiscences will be as important as the metered amounts of flour and egg, tomato and spices.

The same holds true for Grandfather’s razor, Dad’s walking stick, Aunt Elanors’s watercolour, whatever heirloom making the rounds in a family. Without the built-up mystique of oral / written / photographic history, the heirlooms are just things: junk or trappings for garage sales.

The same should hold true for good writing. Without background, without an anchor in the writer’s actuality, without a link to the time and space around it, a story or poem or novel is nothing but a bunch of words. A writer should be cognizant of his or her place in the oeuvre of the age, whether he or she fights against or plays into it. Without acknowledgement — positive or negative — of its place in the whole, a work can only fall flat, existing outside any traceable ancestry, words on a page for the sake of themselves.

When writing, build differentiation, flavour, the story behind the story, placing it in the here and now, making it relevant, making it memorable.