99 Problems & Blogging Isn’t One Of Them

writingyourstory

I picked up The Dance by Fleetwood Mac on iTunes, It is a live performance and I love it. Played it loud enough that the kids came to my room to ask me to turn it down.

Played three songs all the way through for them to hear and then agreed to put something else on.

  1. Tusk
  2. Go Your Own Way
  3. The Chain

They asked me what I wanted to hear and I told them I was in the mood for music that told a story because sometimes that helps with my writing.

  1. I Was Wrong– Social Distortion
  2. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – Led Zeppelin
  3. Whiskey Lullaby– Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss
  4. W.O.L.D.- Harry Chapin

Reciprocity In The Blogosphere

My son asks me to tell him about how I come up with ideas based upon music and I talk about the lyrics in some of the songs I linked to and how it is easy for people to relate to those.

When he asks me if that includes me I nod my head and I tell him it absolutely does and talk about how we could spend hours going through the 10,000 or so songs I have loaded on iTunes not to mention the hundreds of cassettes, records and CDs that are here too.

“Write about what you know and be honest when you do it because that will make it easier for people to buy into what you are sharing.”

“So if you write about what you know everyone will find your blog and come read it?”

I laugh and tell him that it doesn’t work that way, especially because reciprocity is a big deal to people.

“What do you mean dad?”

“Some bloggers won’t comment on your blog if you don’t comment on theirs. Some might not ever visit if they think you don’t come by their blogs.”

“Dad, that is just sad.”

99 Problems & Blogging Isn’t One Of Them

We talk about summer break and the camp he is working at and he tells me how he doesn’t want to go to high school.

He cares less about the location and more about being nervous about going into high school in general.

I tell him to watch some of the Fleetwood Mac videos with me and give him a brief explanation about the relationships among the band members and how they were singing about their lives and talking to each other.

He asks me a few questions and I tell him to think about how hard it must have been to be in the band and how people appreciate how the band somehow made it work and still plays together to this day.

“Dad, I don’t know why you are telling me this. I am never going to have girlfriend and you are going to lose the bet.”

I laugh and tell him that nature makes me think I have already won. The bet he refers to is the $20 I put up that says he’ll kiss a girl by the time he is 20.

“My sister makes me crazy why would I let some other girl do that too.”

I look him in the eye and tell him it is not a good comparison.

“I don’t care who you are with as long as you treat each other well but I’m telling you some of this isn’t so easily controlled. Sure, you are always in control of your own behavior but nature has made us in a way that makes it far more challenging to ignore girls.

I might tease you about it occasionally, but there is no rush. You’ll find a girl when you are ready or maybe when one decides she is  ready for you.”

“Dad. I don’t like that smile and no girl is going to be able to catch me.”

I laugh and tell him to add that to the list of famous last words.

The conversation moves back to high school and we talk in general terms about the future.

“If you do what you have always done you will get what you have always gotten. That is why when you find yourself slamming into the same wall you need to change your approach.”

The Layers Of Life

I play the Harry Chapin song for him and when it is done talk a bit about how I expect he won’t relate to it as well now as he might when he is older.

We don’t talk about how I wonder if he’ll ever really appreciate the lines about FM and AM rock and for a moment I feel really old.

“Sometimes when you are writing you want a very simple story that has a beginning, middle and an end. Make it easy for the reader to follow what you are talking about. But sometimes you’ll want to add layers and depth to it. Sometimes you want to give them something meaty to chew on, the layers of life.”

“But dad doesn’t that make it harder for the reader to follow. They might misunderstand.”

I tell him there will always be people who misunderstand and or misinterpret what we say, do or write.

“People like to see what they want and what they expect. They aren’t always willing to look for more than they anticipate or consider they could be wrong.”

He nods his head and a short time later wanders off to bed.

Midnight Passes

I have Springsteen’s greatest hits playing on my headphones and my memory wanders backwards and forwards in time.

Thirty years ago I was wandering around Jerusalem with my friends but then I was the teenager who was trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with myself.

It seems impossible that so much time could have passed and yet as the Boss sings different songs my memory is jogged in different directions.

If I could go back in time what would I say to that kid. If we listened to Born To Run would we smile at the same lines or would we stare at each other in disbelief, not understanding how the other guy could have missed the message that we so clearly heard.

People hear and see what they want to hear and see.

Sometimes it is a problem and sometimes it is a good thing, all depends on what side of the street you are standing on.

Father Doesn’t Always Know Best

Choices and Decisions

Not unlike most Americans I am an immigrant.

Technically members of my family have been here since the 19th century but I am still only the third generation that was born in the U.S. and not overseas.

Those guys didn’t come by plane, they came by ship and did so during a time when long distance travel could be classified as arduous, life-changing and potentially life threatening.

I wonder what they would say if they knew that I was in Texas for less than 24 hours.

What would they say if I told them I caught a morning flight, rented a cool car for fun, spent a couple of hours in a meeting and then went about my business.
meeting

What would they think if I told them I drove around places I knew from when I lived there for fun and that I ended up eating raw fish so I could think about the meeting and try to figure out what my next move would be.

sushi
If I told them I thought I might have an opportunity that could be quite lucrative and could be life changing they would probably understand.

They came to America was to avoid conscription into the czar’s army and avoid pogroms or so we were told, but the real reason was to take a shot at living a better life and to offer something more for their children.

I am certain the technological advancements of our time would amaze them and I imagine it might even make them scoff a bit at the things I wonder about.

Because if the opportunity is presented to me I have relatively few concerns about how I will do with it. I’ll roll with whatever is presented and if things don’t work out as I hope, well I’ll just adapt and adjust.

But like most parents I look at my children and ask if this will be good for them. I look at my children and wonder if something like this will be 50 percent as good as I think it could be because that is enough for it to make sense to me.

Father Doesn’t Always Know Best

Sometimes I wonder if we give them too much influence on our decision making and not enough credit for being resilient.

I am willing to put money down that my great-grandparents didn’t ask their children if they wanted to move, they just did it.

I know that is what happened to my parents. When my grandfathers found better jobs they moved the family and there wasn’t any discussion.

And unlike now my parents weren’t able to call, email or Facetime with their friends. You wrote a letter and hoped your friend was a good pen pal.

Part of me says I should give them some sort of say here because father doesn’t always know best but the truth is that influence is limited.

If the opportunity materializes in the form I hope and suspect I will do my best to do it because until the rubber meets the road you never really know what things will be like.

I’ll do it because my fervent belief is it will help me give them a better life and be good for my career. And if it doesn’t come about, well I’ll keep my eyes open for other opportunities that will help me provide them with a better life.

The Big Difference Between Then & Now

If my great-grandparents and I were to sit down now I am sure they would point out how easily I moved from state to state and they would suggest if needed be I could do so again.

I am sure they would point out that even if the family did it a few times it is not impossible and far less difficult than sailing from home to a place where you don’t speak the language or understand the culture.

And I am sure they would appreciate my saying that some of the decision making comes from a place that isn’t based upon logic or reason.

It is just a feeling that you can roll with the mystery of life and make it all work.

So maybe father doesn’t always knows best but he definitely knows something and if he isn’t sure he can always ask the Magic 8 Ball for help.

That has to be worth something. 😉

How Blogging Helps Turn Dreams Into Reality

Follow your dreams
Next stop…wherever imagination takes you.

5 Songs

Old Alabama-Brad Paisley
Geronimo-Sheppard
Shut Up and Dance– WALK THE MOON
Jackson-Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash
Cecilia– Simon & Garfunkel
Tangled Up In Blue-Bob Dylan

Don’t make the mistake of trying to find meaning in the choice of songs above or any others that may follow in this post because if you fall behind the group you might get lost and there is no telling where you’ll end up.

What I do know is that eleven years of blogging has proven to me that there is still magic in the world and more magnificent moments waiting for you to discover them…but only if you are willing to open your eyes.

Those of you who to dare to dream during the day when your eyes are wide open and bright sunlight shows the wrinkles, kinks and folks in your plans have a chance to do more than wonder if it is possible.

But that is only if you are willing to bare your soul, open your heart and step out into the wild.

in the wild now
It might sound goofy and or ridiculous but sometimes you don’t realize how little you know about what it is you want and how to go about getting it until you put it in writing.

By moving the words from within your head to the page you’ll begin the process of figuring out how to answer those questions.

You might be surprised by how many people can’t tell you about their dreams with any sort of specificity. You might be shocked by how many are satisified to live a satisfying life because they don’t allow themselves to do more than dream about something they don’t really know if they want.

Seriously, ask people to tell you what they dream of and a lot of them will tell you about how they wish they were rich enough to do whatever they want.

Push them on that and ask them what they would do if money were not a factor.

Ask them to spell it out. Ask them to do more than give the easy answer.

Blogging can help you break through that wall. Blogging can help you figure out what it is you really want and it can help you try to develop a plan to live your dreams and not dream your life.

Does that mean your plan will work and that blogging will be the magic potion that makes your life better?

No.

I am not selling that.

I am saying that what it can do is help clarify what you dream about and that is important because if you don’t really know what you want you can’t figure out how to get there now can you.

Silly Dad Blogger, Stop It

Some of you aren’t buying any of this. Some of you are hoping I’ll be like other dad/mom bloggers and tell you stories about my children or talk about parenting.

Not going to happen right now, at least not in this post. The traditional blog post has been defenestrated and I am pushing ahead a different direction.

Why?

Because I am a few days away from finding out if some of the dreams I started chasing because of blogging are going to move from the dream to reality category.

Ask me to describe some of this and I’ll tell you I feel like I hitched myself to a plow and have been dragging the family up and the down the Himalayas.

I’ll tell you that I don’t know for certain what will happen but I have done everything within in my power to show my children that when life punches you in the mouth you get back up and keep walking forward because success is given to those who dare to work for it.

About Obsolescence

We live in a different world than the one I grew up in. It is a time when I hear many people talking about the world they wished they lived in and not the one that is.

I raised my fist in solidarity with Mark’s post about not becoming obsolete.

A short while ago a friend told me they were worried about being left behind with technology because he doesn’t like using it much.

I grabbed him by the shoulders and told him “We are motherfucking Generation X, we are the bridge between the analog and digital worlds.”

He wasn’t nearly as inspired by my words as I hoped, but that is ok, sometimes that is how it rolls. Hell, it worked for me and that was an unexpected bonus.

But I got it and I get it.

There are moments where I wonder what is happening.

Moments where I think about the family vacations of my youth where the first question was not do they have WiFI but will they have a pool.

Moments where I wonder how to create more moments for my children and wonder what I can do to create more opportunities for all of us to have the kind of experiences that a life should have.

5 More Songs

Band on The Run-Paul Mccartney & Wings
The Chain [Studio Version] -Fleetwood Mac
Rhiannon -Fleetwood Mac
Carefree Highway – Gordon Lightfoot
Baker Street– Gerry Rafferty

How Blogging Helps Turn Dreams Into Reality

If you don’t know the answer, or at least my answer I have done a lousy job of conveying my thoughts here, but just in case I’ll spell it out.

Move your dreams from the space between your ears to the pixels on the page. Put yourself in a position to risk having your heart savaged and your hopes dashed by holding yourself accountable.

Put yourself in a position to risk having your heart savaged and your hopes dashed by holding yourself accountable.

Magic only materializes when we put ourselves in a position to receive it. Until you open yourself to the possiblity opportunity remains at arms length.

That is my story.

What is yours?

 

987 Bloggers You Shouldn’t Sleep With & 5 You Should

bible
Some people worry about headlines and others don’t because it is all narishkeit.

Foolishness that comes from our desire to try not to succumb to the dread disease of blog post failure.

Some bloggers write about themselves in the third person and use content boxes to quote the words they wrote some years back because they found new meaning in them.

Oh wait, that is me I am talking about.

Part of what makes life so damn interesting is that you are given the choice to take what is in the box or what lies behind door number one but no one tells you what happens when you choose one or the other.

No one tells you which choice a wise person would make and which would belong to the fool. Sometimes it doesn’t matter because the fool can choose to be the wise person and the wise person can be the fool.

That is the joy of the journey. It is the chance to walk along a road and have experiences that you can’t possibly have without taking that walk. Peeling Back The Layers

The Best Bloggers Are Storytellers

I have written about this multiple times because if you want to become a great blogger you have to focus on becoming a better storyteller.

You have to learn how to create the sort of content that is captivating, creative and compelling.

Ya know the kind of shit that people will read like a gourmet meal, something to be savored and not devoured like a greasy pizza you eat after a night of drinking.

Smarter men than I would probably link to the first post I wrote about bloggers and storytellers because it received a double spoonful of comments and that might encourage some people to believe I have some talent.

Or maybe not.

*****

One of the things I love best about blogging is how easy it is for us to use it as a tool and guide to figure out where we were and where we are going.

It is a resource you can use repeatedly to determine what you think, feel and believe and whether you have any skill at sharing that with others.

It is a living chronicle of the lives of people who mean something to you, be it love or a blistering hate.

Flip through the pages and you’ll find references to those I care enough about to protect and those who are in dire need of defenestration, hopefully by me.

The blog is also a simple version of the bible Emerson referred to in the picture above. It is a collection of thoughts and ideas that have helped to shape and define my world.

987 Bloggers You Shouldn’t Sleep With & 5 You Should

Sometimes I craft these ridiculous headlines to see who will respond and to remind myself about where I want to focus my energy.

Could I work on coming up with headlines that aren’t silly and that are tied into my posts?

Yeah, I could do that.

Could I focus on telling simple stories that have a broader appeal than some of the things I have written about here?

Yeah, I could do that too but it wouldn’t be as honest as just writing.

I used to do more of it than I do now and it is possible that I might do so again. but I am not going to say how or when that will happen.

As people grow, blogs evolve.

Sometimes that means that readers unsubscribe (several have done so here) but that shouldn’t be something people fear.

Those who stick around are the people who really like what they read and find value in it. Not everyone will.

This blog has always been focused around and about the journey.

Journeys Make For Good Blog Fodder

There is a big moment coming up next week in my journey. A time that might have very significant influence on the direction we head in and something that will lead to plenty of blog fodder.

What I don’t know yet is how much of that fodder is going to be of the kind I can share. I don’t say that to be a tease or create interest.

I share it because as a dad blogger I have had to become very conscious of how much I can share about my children here.

When they were little it was really easy and now that they are not so little the rules have changed somewhat. There are boundaries in blogging.

Today I look back at that post about peeling back the layers and ask again when Monty Hall is going to show up because if ever there was a time when it made sense it would be now.

Today is the day for him to offer me whatever lies behind door number one or whatever lies in the box on the table.

There is no X-Ray vision or clairvoyance to help me choose. No way to figure out what the wise man would choose or if the choice made by the fool would be the smarter move.

All I can do is make the best choice I know how to make based upon limited information and then roll with it.

And with that you have the advice/commentary I give my children about many things.

Life is made for living and if you only play it safe you never really live.

I am about living.

Do People Really See You?

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Steiner the minor tells me he is frustrated because he doesn’t feel like people are listening to him at school.

He says some don’t acknowledge him and act like he is not around.

I tell him that some people have the same personality as a cactus and that sometimes it takes a bit of time to figure out who they are so you can avoid their thorns.

We go back and forth and he tells me that he thinks I don’t really understand because I have a different sort of presence than he does.

I tell him I am not convinced it is true and explain that when I want to be noticed I make it happen. I am not sure if he understands what I am saying or if I am doing a good job of explaining it.

Chasing Ghosts Isn’t Profitable

Somewhere in the midst of our conversation I remember seeing in my stats that someone spent a lot of time reading Chasing Ghosts Isn’t Profitable and try to figure out how that post relates to the conversation.

“It may sound absurd…but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed…but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me”
Superman (It’s Not Easy)-Five For Fighting

It is the quote, it is the burning question of does Superman feel like an outsider who can never be a part of the ‘in crowd’ or any crowd.

It is my frustration with how little time prospective employers give to resumes and how I am certain they don’t see me or recognize how much I could do if given the chance.

It is the daily parade of memories that my cousin’s death brought about. Haven’t seen him in forever and now I won’t.

It is the recognition that I am decades older than he is and I still have these moments where I wonder if I am always going to be on the outside looking in, and if so, how am I supposed to advise him.

But then I remember that somewhere in the past I recognized I don’t need most people to really see me and that the only time I am truly bothered is when the people who mean something don’t get it.

Do People Really See You?

I show my son the picture of the man holding grapes and I tell him he is just as real and twice as sweet.

He rolls his eyes at me and tells me he is bothered by not knowing where he is going to go to high school.

I nod my head and promise to figure it out as soon as I can and then wonder how the simplest things in life got mucked up and turned upside down and inside out.

The Superman questions rattle and roll inside my head and I wonder where they’ll take me. Will I gain some magic insight by trying to figure out what might drive a fictional character and how they would respond to certain situations.

Are the answers going to make me a better father and better man?

Can I use them to help the people I want to see me do so?

I don’t have time to spend hours mulling it over so I move on the pedestrian chores of a father’s life and figure it won’t hurt to let the rest percolate in the back of my mind.

Midway through a trash run I wonder if maybe some of the people I want to see me really do and just don’t say so. I figure the simplest way to find out is to ask but I just don’t feel like it.

It is a short list but I suspect at least one person will refuse to answer and or try to dodge and this isn’t something to chase people about.

Especially when I tell Steiner the minor that you shouldn’t chase friends and promise that he’ll find his people in high school.

The Promises We Make

Part of me wonders why I would make a promise like that because I haven’t any control of it and it is possible I’ll be wrong.

But there is this voice inside my head that swears by it and so I go for it because gut instinct says it is going to happen.

I know that voice because it is the one that drives me to believe in the intangibles that life is made of. It is the one that says to trust in that which you can’t see because sometimes the inexplicable and improbable happens.

Back at the trashcan I remind myself that not only did I make a crazy promise I did so without knowing what school he would be at.

Midway through the walk back to the house I mutter something to myself about not being so hard on myself, especially when we have so much time between now and the start of high school.

Humphrey Bogart’s Lesson About Life

Everyone in the house is sleeping but I am wide awake, got way too many things pressing against the walls of my skull to shut it down for the night so I figure I might as well take advantage of the time.

I grab the dog and we go check the doors and windows and make a quick pass to confirm the siren song of electronics has not convinced the kids to stay awake long past bedtime.

Soft snoring confirms they are and we wander downstairs to sit in the dark and think.

I lie one the leather couch from my apartment in Texas and smile because this piece of furniture has meaning to me.

My intent isn’t to watch television but I turn it on anyway ‘cuz I am curious to see if there are any movies I should tape and I stumble across Casablanca.

It is my favorite movie and I cannot just walk away.

That is when it happens, there is an exchange between Rick and Victor Laszlo that wakes me up again.

Victor Laszlo: You know how you sound, Mr. Blaine? Like a man who’s trying to convince himself of something he doesn’t believe in his heart.

This is why I made the promise to my son and why I am chasing a dream. I have given up trying to convince myself of things I don’t believe in because those lies kill our hearts and scar our souls.

I am done with that.

Do people really see me?

Maybe they do. Maybe the ones who are supposed to and the ones who need to do.

Maybe that includes those I want to and maybe it doesn’t but it is not my job to figure that part out.

My job is to focus on doing the things that help me be better father and make it possible for me to make those promises to my kids.