Die Blog Die- 983 Reasons To Only Trust Your Lying Heart

Condom
The rules of the blog dictate brutal honesty but since I am the author of said rules it is entirely up to me to abide by or modify them.

I could tell you about the countless hours I have spent trying to polish the rough edges here so that when you stumble through the archives you’ll find material like Some Old Posts For Your Consideration waiting for you in a manner I consider to be presentable.

It is not because you’ll see quips about writer’s block and how the Shmata Queen called me her favorite dweeb or because I hope you’ll learn about Blogavoidance.

Nor is it because I want you to read 5 Jedi Mind Tricks That Make People Read Your Post because what I am doing is avoiding the things I should be writing about.

What I should do here is fill the pages with all of the frustration and anger I fill now because people relate to authenticity and it might be useful.

A Blog Has Many Purposes

You can’t see me bouncing in my seat or feel the sparks flying from my fingers and that is ok. I don’t need you to.

The point isn’t to garner sympathy or empathy but to use this cyber sandbox I play in to clarify my thoughts and to clear my head.

If you have been hanging around for a while this won’t be the first time you have heard me say a blog doesn’t have to be a recollection of the craziest things your kids did or what happened the first time you flew with a triplets and  no spouse.

Doesn’t have to be to teach you about how to be more effective at social media or how to write a better tale.

Although it could be, one of my favorite posts was about how I made Sister Mary see god and how Father Pete almost walked in on us.

That post was fun to write, generated a bunch of comments and is one that still makes me smile, but sometimes you go a different direction for clarity.

Because sometimes you use the words on the page to illuminate the darkest corners of your mind to confirm your deepest secrets.

I have already written some of them down and deleted them because I saw what I needed to see and learned what I could there.

I may be open and unfiltered but there are limits to how much I am willing to share with you and everyone else. An open door doesn’t mean you get unfettered access and even those who have been given the keys have found their access restricted because sometimes that is just what you need to do.

An open door doesn’t mean you get unfettered access and even those who have been given the keys have found their access restricted because sometimes that is just what you need to do.

To be honest, made me feel a bit wistful and sort of sad but we all protect our hearts as best we can with the understanding that the doors that are closed today can be opened just as easily tomorrow.

Die Blog Die- 983 Reasons To Only Trust Your Lying Heart

If you want to know what scares me about this blog is how sometimes it feels like my best writing comes from a well of deep emotion.

It worries me to wonder about whether I have to be upset to pull the best prose out of me.

A person shouldn’t have to bleed to get to that place but it is not how it always works for me. There are moments where I find that place without having had to make like Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk.

It is part of why I spend so much time writing.

The more you practice the easier it becomes to find that place without the emotional assistance.

That reminds me, those of you who are new to the journey probably wonder what is driving some of the craziness flowing from my fingertips so I’ll do my best to give you a short answer.

I moved back to LA from Texas the last week of October 2013 and in the time since I feel like some of the biggest accomplishments of my life have been taken from me.

That may not be true but not because I lied about it but because of perspective.

Perspective is part of why I am writing this down because this is how I step back and try to ascertain if I am acting like a whiny fool or if there is some truth to this madness.

You see I can devise answers that make it clear that I am exaggerating and convince myself fatigue is clouding my judgment but there is nothing worse than lying to yourself about the things that are most important to you.

The day will come when I will tell my children about how that includes being honest about who you really love and who you don’t.

I’ll tell them it will include being honest about what you really want to do with your life and who you want to do it with.

I know the answers to those questions. They are different today than they once were but that is ok people change and grow and the smart ones figure out how to adapt to what comes with that.

How To Get People To Comment On Your Posts

If my children ever ask me how to get people to comment on their posts I’ll tell them that the posts about how to be a better blogger or writer are good for that.

I’ll tell them that simple questions about favorite books, movies and music are good too and point out that sometimes the really personal posts scare people.

We’ll talk again about the importance of clarity and the reasons why you blog, including clarity of mind and purpose.

Maybe we’ll talk about some more about how proud I am of them and how they never cease to amaze me. Maybe I’ll share how careful I became about what stories I shared once they became a certain age so that I could help them gain the ability to create their own digital footprint.

And maybe, just maybe I’ll tell them I hoped people liked my writing and that sometimes it is hard to be so damn intense which is why we work so damn hard to find the things and people that fill our hearts and soothe our souls.

When Fear Makes You Selfish

Dare To Be
I have had multiple long conversations with my children about how fear can make you selfish and why it can be a problem.

Some of those talks intersected with discussions about why sometimes it is important to be selfish and how to identify those moments.

I suppose you could also say it is tied into the discussions we have had in which I encourage the kids to be judgmental.

Very few things in life can be classified in black and white terms so it is critical to me to teach my children to live thoughtful lives where they recognize sometimes you need to pick apart what is happening around you so you can pick the appropriate path to follow.

Sometimes It Is Smart To Be Selfish

People use selfish as a pejorative term without thinking about the moments where you need to be selfish about your time and how you use it.

They don’t consider situations that arise where a selfish act doesn’t necessarily result in someone else being harmed by your actions.

Sometimes it is the smart move to look out for yourself first because you have reached a place where you can no longer function well or close to it.

But I am not here to try to convince you, me or anyone else about this.

Today I am thinking about how fear has made people I know act in selfish manners that wreaked havoc upon others.

I am thinking about how that has impacted my life and making a pledge to myself to try to avoid it happening again.

When Fear Makes You Selfish

In concept I should include examples for my readers that enable you to better relate and follow along but I am not going to do that this time.

There are boundaries in blogging and sometimes you maintain those lines because you don’t want to deal with the consequences of what could happen if your words were read by the wrong people.

Those of you who know me well will recognize it is not easy for me to hold back because I am naturally unfiltered and unafraid to tell you what I really think.

But unfiltered doesn’t mean I am stupid, thoughtless and or reckless.

Ok, I have been/done things that would enable me to be described as having been stupid, thoughtless and reckless but a mature person tries to avoid making the same mistake twice.

So why am I writing this?

Because the blog isn’t just a chronicle of tales told about parenting, life, writing and fiction.

It is also a place where I figure out how I feel about some things. It is a place where the words on the page help bring clarity to my world.

And maybe one day it will help my children gain a deeper understanding of who their father is/was.

Today I am writing to remind myself of how I am tired of fear leading to selfish actions that require me to carry additional burdens.

It is unnecessary, intolerable and something that I will fight tooth and nail.

The Life We Lead Vs The Life We Want

That last post Some Jobs Make You A Bad Parent is something I see as a perfect example of the life we lead.

I took the position because I had to and not because I wanted to. Took it and consistently wrote about it with the hope that the words would dull the edge and help me gain a better attitude.

Took it saying it would be a short-term bridge to help me transition from the life I lead to the one I want to live.

It is fair to say some of the rougher edges have received a bit of polish but not enough for me to see it as anything but the bridge.

I won’t wear a sweater because someone else is cold and I won’t commit to doing that which hurts my heart for the long term.

Nor will I allow another person’s fear to dictate all of what I do or how I respond to certain situations.

You can say my response to their fear is fear of capitulating to it so I choose to be selfish because the time has come to look out for me.

I survived the storm that Murakami writes about and I am not the same person anymore. I am still getting to know the new guy, but I like him.

He/I aren’t willing to let fear prevent us from taking chances to live the life we want to lead. Settling time is done.

Not Inspirational

The Art Of Writing

evolution
While My Guitar Gently Weeps- The Beatles
Maybe I’m Amazed-Wings/Paul McCartney
Band On The Run-Wings/Paul McCartney
Norwegian Wood- The Beatles
You Got To Hide Your Love Away- The Beatles
Layla- Derek & The Dominos
Turn The Page- Bob Seger

The boy whose hands will one day be mirror images of mine asks me to explain how writing is like art so that he can be prepared for high school.

I just shake my head and tell him there are things coming down the pike that won’t make sense for a good long while but one day he’ll look back and see how the ripples of the pond he stands in now reach the future.

He tells me it sounds like gibberish and I laugh, “it does and sometimes it is.”

I tell him about how sometimes people look for symbolism that doesn’t exist and insert ideas an author never meant or intended into their work after it is published.

“But that is not right, how can people be so arrogant to believe they know what the author was thinking.

“We want to believe people are logical and they act based upon reason but they rarely do. They act as they will and see as they wish to. People sometimes leave comments about what I have written and I am baffled by their interpretation.”

Show Me Your Veins

We’re interrupted by the call to dinner and I forget to tell him about how Show Me Your Veins showed up in my stats today and how that story still makes me smile.

I wrote it six years ago when I was more of a typical dad blogger than I am today.

When the kids were little I had greater ownership of the stories I shared and no fear that my words might cause issues for them at school or elsewhere.

Back then I had forgotten that words were supposed to be the tools I used to earn my living and so I walked a different path.

Now I look back upon the man I was as a guy who had gotten lost in the forest and wandered in shadow because he didn’t understand how much brighter life could be if he found his way back to the path.

Today I wandered off of the path intentionally because a father has responsibilities and obligations but instead of pebbles I am building a rock garden behind me because I need to ensure the path back won’t be hidden because birds eat the bread crumbs I dropped behind me.

Still I am extra cognizant of the people who don’t support my desire to return to the light because they see that path as being covered in shade.

The question is will they allow their eyes to be opened or will they remain oblivious to the truth and unaware that cross purposes here are the equivalent of crushing a dream.

The Art Of Writing

A better artist than I would express these sentiments more eloquently but I am not yet him, although I strive to be.

I tell the children daily the trick to becoming better is to do more than say you are going to practice. Action begets improvement and that only comes from practice.

There are words that I share with them verbally and those I share by action.

The Lonely Blogger
A five state commute is punctuated by many things but the primary one is the empty desert and the things you use to fill the time as you pass through.

If you don’t get lost between empty and desolate you discover a rich landscape you had no idea existed because until that point your eyes had been closed.

It is not as hard to find as some people suggest. You don’t have to ask Charon to ferry you across the River Styx or be able to do quantum physics.

You just have to be willing to look beyond your nose and to be open to possibility.

The real art of writing is to take a skeleton and dress it in a couple of rags and have your readers believe it to be the most magnificent and meaningful piece they have ever laid their eyes upon.

It happens because somewhere in your words you convinced them to allow possibility to become opportunity and their imagination does the rest.

Is It Gibberish?

We spend a few minutes after dinner talking again about what happens in high school and whether he is prepared.

I tell him he will be fine and explain life experience has a huge impact upon the impact of words and stories.

He asks me if people ever tell me they hate my writing and I laugh because it has happened many times. Some people love me and some people hate me but relatively few are ambivalent.

“Do people hate your stories because they are gibberish?”

“Maybe. Sometimes it is because they relate too well and the pain is too fresh and sometimes it is because they can’t relate at all.”

“Dad, is there a trick I can use to become better?”

I give him a few ideas and when he asks me for my favorite I pull his head next to mine and whisper, “Learn when to say ‘fuck em’ and when not to.”

When he pulls his head back there is a mischievous look in his eyes and I wonder if my advice will bite me in the ass later on or not.

But tonight I am not worried about it.

Tonight I am thinking about how to get back to the path and wondering how many adventures I’ll have in the process.

More story fodder is on its way, no doubt about it.

There Are Headlines No One Reads

dream by day

There are headlines no one reads because they get lost in the chaos and clutter of the blogosphere and life.

That is the kind of declarative statement some people take issue with because they miss the forest for the trees. They look at it and say something about how people read it and moved on because it had a weak call to action. That may be true but it doesn

They look at it and say something about how people read it and moved on because it had a weak call to action. That may be true but it doesn’t negate the truth about its lack of visibility.

What you see and don’t remember might as well have not been written/created because if it doesn’t move you it doesn’t work.

I didn’t use it today because I want to talk about headlines but because I thought it would be read and shared by more people than “What Kind of Father Hides From His Dreams.”

Or maybe it would be better to say something like “What Happens When You Get What You Want?”

That is really where my head is at.

One Slip & It is Over

My cousin died last week.

Three days before my 46th birthday and about six months before his 48th.

It was an accident.

I don’t have many details to share but even if I did I probably wouldn’t. I am too busy thinking about…stuff.

For a while he was like the older brother I never had. He was a wild child and trouble never had to find him because he found it.

He had a big heart and we had a lot of fun together.

And then comes the proverbial ‘but’ where I tell you I haven’t seen or talked to him in years. It wasn’t because we had a falling out or anything like that.

It is because he spent time working on fishing boats and assorted odd jobs that took him far away and life is busy.

The last time I saw him he invited me to come see him at his place in the Pacific Northwest. He told me you could only get there by Jeep or some other four wheel drive vehicle.

We would ride in ATVs or motorcycles and catch up, but obviously it never happened and now it can’t.

*****

My cousin’s death is a reminder to me about what kind of father and person I want to be. It is a not so gentle nudge to be an active participant in life who doesn’t wait until the perfect time comes to try to live my dreams.

For me the hardest part of living those dreams is trying to balance the wishes of my family against my personal ones.

It is trying to look through the mist that obscures the future to see if trying to rope the moon is going to help or hinder my children.

What Happens When You Get What You Want?

If you go way back in the archives here you’ll find posts I wrote about my dysfunctional digestive system.

Some of those are funny stories.

People love A Little Digestive Distress- Chicken Vindaloo and Jack’s Experience In the Ladies Room.

Most of the time I tend to laugh at them too but lately I haven’t laughed about them because since I started the new job almost every day has been filled with some rough moments that make it clear to me the old digestive system is not a fan of the new employment.

The old gut feeling doesn’t like this much and I don’t like the response of that old gut feeling.

There is no reason to feel sick each day and I am actively working on making a change to correct that.

But here is the rub, there is a part of me that is a bit nervous about it all. A part of me that says there is merit in dealing with the devil you know.

A part of me that says I should suck it up and stop whining because this is all ridiculous.

Except, it is not ridiculous. It is not necessary to feel this way and I refuse to do it any longer than I have to.

Active change is the only answer here.

It means that if what I hope for happens I need to ignore the fear of the unknown and walk through the door.

I need that for me as a person and I need it as a father because my children need to see that dad does more than what is required.

He works to make things better even when he can’t tell if he is holding a winning hand.

I can’t let being concerned about the inherent uncertainty of change prevent me from going forwards. Better to take the risk and find out than to spend the rest of my life living with the regret of not knowing.
dreampaint

Are Your Expectations Killing You?

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My biggest problem with being shot wasn’t the pain from the bullet in my shoulder but the shock that came from discovering I wasn’t bullet proof.

Had reporters been covering my life none of them would have found it newsworthy for the reasons I did. They knew I couldn’t fly, leap over tall buildings or out drive a locomotive.

Ok, that last part is tied into a true story in which the 20-year-old idiot I used to be took his ’77 Camaro and beat the train across the tracks.

That same idiot trained for hours at the gym and in some ways was a musclebound fool who mistook dumb luck for being something other than what it was.

I have more than one stories about how dumb luck provided cover for the idiocy my dumbass got himself into but we’ll save those for a different time.

For now let that car story serve as the prime example of why my biggest fear surrounding my children is not pedophiles but imitating their father’s reckless behavior.

Expectations and Time

We are a week past the moments where I wondered if I was standing in my own sunshine and those where we discussed how life is about painting a picture and I’d like to think my head is screwed on straight again because for a moment it wasn’t.

I am not used to that.

I don’t panic.

I don’t flail around when things are going wrong.

I handle it.

I talk about how I have a perfect record of surviving every bad day I have ever had.

But I didn’t handle last week the way I wanted to. I didn’t go into the challenges feeling confident or certain and it threw me for a real loop.

Why?

Because my expectations were that I would handle whatever life threw at me and I would make it work.

Except the thing was that the prison I keep the demons we call doubt, uncertainty and insecurity locked up in was breached.

The damn things figured out how to slip their chains and we went to war.

There was an extended moment in time where those three had me on the ropes and I found it hard to quiet them down.

Instead of looking at accomplishments I kept seeing failure in places where I should have succeeded. And my expectations of myself made it impossible for me to reconcile what was happening.

Are Your Expectations Killing You?

Tuesday night I lay on my bed in my hotel room, closed my eyes, counted to three and swore I would hunt those three demons down and lock them back up.

And that is what I did.

I shined a light in the dark corners of my mind and challenged what lay there to come out and fight.

I did it because I felt an obligation as a father to show my children that when things get tough you can figure it out, but sometimes you have to hang on.

And I did it because I needed to remind myself that I had a choice about whether I would let those three beat me.

I did it because I needed to work through the moment where I had forgotten that our personal expectations about what our lives should be like sometimes hurt us more than anything else.

Eventually I found my center again and accepted that I can climb the mountain in the picture. I don’t have to fly or jump to the top.

Fact is the joy is often in the journey and it is the experiences that come during it in which we learn the most.

Freedom To Write

If you ask me why I have multiple blogs I’ll tell you they serve multiple purposes and that I get something out of each of them.

One of the best is the freedom to write unencumbered by fear of who might read these words.

Why?

Because sometimes you need a place where you dump out the contents of your mind and see what sort of junk has taken refuge within without concern about family, friends or employers getting involved.

Sometimes what you need is the freedom to look at your expectations without judgment so that you can see for yourself that you are the source of your own Kryptonite.

And once you understand that, well then you can fly again.