WIP It, WIP It Good

WIP. Work In Progress. It’s a thing, right? Everybody’s got one. Well, I heard from Jim Breslin, who heard it from Elizabeth Mosier, and then had that whole thing retweeted by Marc Schuster, that today is Work In Progress Day. WIPD (is that like ‘wiped’ or like ‘whipped’? I’ll go with whipped, as in whipped cream) is pretty straightforward: you take a moment to share the first little bit of a work you have… right? … in progress.

So here is the first little bit of a story I have in progress. This is the opening of the opening, chapter 1. I’m on 8. Slowly, but surely 8.



He tapped the rolled newspaper against the side of his woolen coat, drops of rain muddying the ink of the visible masthead (…Herald…) as he measured his steps and fell into the tempo of the world around him, the tempo of the rain.

Heads and shoulders, trench coats and shoulder bags…
Buses and cars…

He moved in the center of the sidewalk, surrounded, a bottle on a conveyor belt, the people like bottles (bottles with their labels and caps), their umbrellas and hats dotted with rain. He was one of a hundred, one in a thousand, heading for the subway.

He heard them, saw them, knew them all by name: the woman on the phone whose husband was unhelpful; the man to his left who had started drinking at eight; and the girls with their careers and their heels and their destinations.

They did not see him. They saw their obligations.

He tapped the paper against his thigh as he stood in the center of the train car. He closed his eyes, and the lights and shadows flashed across his face, a face out of a hundred faces in the pressed rush hour crowd.

Head and shoulders, trench coats and shoulder bags…
Trains and cars and heartbreak…
Missed connections and intersections…

And he opened his eyes.

Sometimes We Sing

This was going to be the forward to a book, a dedication, for a story I’ve long since forgotten.

It could be called a dedication to take better notes.

It is a story plucked in refrain. We hear the verses. We know the chorus. It’s the song we hum to ourselves. It comes into our hearts, our minds without words. It whispers to us in the noise of our youth. It is with us when we are the only ones left on the earth that we know. It is with us as we come and as we go.

Sometimes we listen. Sometimes we sing. Sometimes we dance to it as we walk down the streets of the city we live in. And sometimes we think we cry for no reason.