Where did my mind go this time around?

Robert Rufa Columnist

When my friend Clarke read my rutabaga column a few weeks ago, she said “It’s interesting to watch where your mind goes.” In case you don’t remember Clarke, she operates the independent test kitchen in western Massachusetts I mentioned in a column last year.

She’s also a fine writer. A semi-retired columnist herself, she sees the world through an artist’s eyes and captures the Berkshires in words the way Frederic Edwin Church did with oils on canvas.

I remember writing my column titled “The writer’s brain comes alive at midnight” that ideas often show up in my head just as I am about to turn off my brain for the night. But not always. Today’s idea took form in the morning, inspiring me to type this: “When my friend Clarke reads one of my columns, she said ‘It’s interesting to watch where your mind goes.’” So I thought I’d see where my mind went.

Well, it went nowhere for almost 32 hours. Mixed in with the usual — you know, meals, shopping, ablutions, sleeping — I spent part of the time wondering why I didn’t write more serious material, something about a major issue mankind is grappling with, maybe get a conversation going. Problem with that idea was, nothing’s going on. It’s as quiet as a graveyard out there. Turn on the news, they’re yawning and talking about 99 ways to fix rutabaga. Rutabaga fries? You gotta be kidding.

Of course I’m kidding. There’s a lot of news noise, but it’s all about the primaries, and I don’t want to write about them. I’m sick to death and tired of the primaries. I’m sick of politics, period. Unfortunately, the entire world is fixated on the U.S. elections, so from Vladivostok to Vienna to Valparaiso and to Valencia (the one in the Philippines) there’s absolutely nothing going on — or so it would seem when you turn on cable news. It’s all about the primaries.

I gave up on that idea and thought maybe I should try my hand at writing beautiful prose, like Clarke does. In a column called “Cathedrals and Grass Angels” she wrote, “We have had a spate of exquisite fall days, the kind that make the heart ache and the spirit soar simultaneously; the kind where the sun turns sun-wilted stalks of corn from gold to burnished copper and filters through the yellow poplar leaves until they glow like miniatures of the star that lights them.”

I don’t know if I see the world that way, but if I do I can’t express it the way she does. The best I can do on the day she describes is, “Think I’ll put shorts on.” No, I don’t have her gift, so ixnay on the beautiful prose.

If digressions can grind to a halt, mine did at about the 32nd hour as I remembered where I’d left off in my work in progress — with the words “I thought I’d see where my mind went.” I decided to scrap the whole idea because some days my mind doesn’t seem to go anywhere.