Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Treading Water

I don’t write autobiography or memoir, but I often use real events as a start point for my fiction. I’m sure most writers do. Sometimes memories come floating along without context, without rational explanation, they’re just there, triggered by a smell, a sight, a feeling, the minutiae of life. These pictures appear vivid, bright as day, begging to be recorded and then they’re gone like waves receding from shore.

“Treading Water” came about as a sort of experiment in capturing these memories. I wanted to take a collection of scenes and connect them not so much through narrative, but rather through context, jumping from one to another the way the mind wanders in those wonderful moments of quiet reflection.

I decided to use scenes that take place near the ocean. I started writing the memories as they came without knowing how or if I would connect them. Eventually a story of two people standing on a beach watching the waves roll in emerged, and it became the frame for the scenes I ultimately decided to include.

I think it plays out sort of like a short film or a prose poem.

Here’s the link: “Treading Water”



  1. Good read. Do you always like to write the first person?

  2. Actually, I don’t write in first person very much at all except on this blog, and in a few short stories here and there. Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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