Write Dangerously

It is well past midnight and I am back here trying to do what that headline suggests I should do:

Write dangerously.

It is a constant battle and a quest for the sort of brutal honesty where you are stripped bare of all that you hide behind. There is no pretension, no bravado and no mask to prevent those who stand outside from looking in.

The words that I write here are not like they once were. I don’t write with the same reckless abandon and the deft touch that I once wielded is muted by outside influences.

Some of that is by choice and some by chance. Some by loss of innocence and concern about who will do what with my words.

They have been used against me on more than one occasion and I wonder will it happen again.

It is not my nature to sit back this way. It is not my nature to do things differently because there is concern about what could happen. I want to say that the choices I make now are based solely on wise words and wisdom gained from experience but it wouldn’t be entirely true nor completely false.

So I strive to write dangerously and break down the walls that stand before me. I take advantage of Heather’s Just Write projectand dance in the fire that forever burns in the places that I don’t show…most.

– Far better is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. Theodore Roosevelt – The Man in the Arena

Johnny Cash is playing in the background and I am remembering moments in time, people, places and things that have happened. You who read these words on a regular basis know these songs and remember that in some ways they are like hymns that I sometimes sing along in silence with.

I Hung My Head

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

In My Life

I finish listening and decide to listen to Johnny sing One,  Hurt and If You Could Read My Mind. Not entirely sure why I go this route but it feels appropriate and I figure WTF.

If I am going to truly dance in the fire than I might as well turn up the heat until it burns so brightly I cannot stand to look at it without a shield for my eyes. This is part and parcel of how I have come to write the tale I tell here.

This story surprises me. I never would have guessed that this is what I would work on or that it would be the focus of my first attempt at a book but it is that. It is proof to me that truth is stranger than fiction and life is one hell of a ride.

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)

I hadn’t intended to use that picture of Johnny but I am experiencing technical difficulties. The blog refused to save my post and crashed twice and I have optimized the database with the hope that it prevents the loss of continuity that keeps coming from the crash.

So I need to take a moment to try to recreate and reconnect which is why I am sharing this video with you:

Every time I hear that version I remember listening to Tears For Fears sing it. I was in high school and there was a girl who loved that song. She used to play it on a tape cassette player, the kind that my children refer to as old fashioned or ancient technology.

I wonder when they will be old enough to appreciate that their dad made a sea change in his forties and decided that he didn’t like the life he was living and decided to turn it upside down and inside out. I wonder whether it will take them a ton of life experience to appreciate the who, what and why.

They see me as this over grown kid. I chase them around the house and growl like a big dog or monster. My girl shrieks and pretends to run from me but she always slows down so that I can catch her.

And my son, well he slows down so that we can wrestle. His smile lights up the room and he tells me that this time he is going to win.

Death At The ATM

Later on I hear about a man who was shot and killed at an ATM. I don’t know this man but I knew someone else who was murdered at an ATM. A man took his life for forty dollars. I remember seeing his girls after they found out and now I see them decades later, mothers.

Tonight at my basketball game one of the guys tells me that he went to say Kaddish for his mother. I ask him if it is because of Shloshim and he says no, she died three years ago. She was 59.

A RadioShack brand cassette recorder, with bui...

A RadioShack brand cassette recorder, with built-in microphone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That girl who liked Tears For Fears used to write sad poetry. She would sometimes ask me why I was so silly and how come I laughed so hard. I told her that if you didn’t laugh hard there was no point in laughing. I still believe that.

When I really laugh my whole body shakes. Some people try to tease me about that but I don’t care. What is the point of laughing if your body doesn’t laugh with you and your sides don’t ache.

That tape recorder reminds me of the one that I had and one that I think I still have. I know that I have lots of cassettes. Some of them contain mixes I made and some contain words. I haven’t listened to my words in forever but I hope to one day. And I hope that when I do I find that I spoke dangerously.

I am on a quest and a journey whose end isn’t yet in sight. It is somewhere in the distance, off in the misty mountains and I am good with that. What is the point of life if everything is just given to you.

I don’t know if this post did what I wanted but I know that I tried to write dangerously. I wonder how many people actually read it.

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  1. Susan Silver April 9, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I have been blogging for so long now, that I have forgotten what it feels like to write something that leaves you feeling raw. I entered my first nonfiction writing contest and I hesitated in case my “readers” didn’t like it. That I was overexposing myself by talking about family instead of social media. Then I remembered that the best writing is the kind that lays us bare, that is truly honest, and is dangerous.

    Sure, maybe that post is a little to intimate for the online world, but those words and experiences are also apart of my life. To fear them, is to fear an aspect of myself, and that just does not sit well with me. So I submitted it anyway. Just hoping to get a reaction from other writers, even if I don’t win.

  2. Beth March 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I just can’t stop reading your blog now that I’ve started. I love reading blogs that I can relate to, blogs I can learn from, and I especially love you word smith types. I am a horrible writer myself. I’m sure my comments have given that much away. My hope is that someday, if I continuing reading blogs like yours, the talent will rub off on me. haha. O.K. Maybe not the talent, but at least the verbiage.

    • Jack March 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      The two most important things you can do to improve your writing are to read a lot and to practice writing. Do both of those things and good things will happen for you.

  3. Kristen March 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Write dangerously. I hear that. It seems to me that you’ve lived dangerously – you’ve followed your heart to pursue the life you want to live – and now you write about it. Writing about living dangerously? I think you’ve got it covered.

    • Jack March 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm

      My friend, I can’t argue with what you have written. I have moved from the calm and become a full fledged stormwalker.

      Sometimes it sounds far more romantic than it is- but the call of the heart requires something more substantive and I have chosen to answer it.

  4. Jens P. Berget March 27, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Hey Jack,

    It took me a while to realize that the song is originally by Tears for Fears. The first time I heard it, it was in a movie. I keep forgetting the name, and then I heard it on American Idol 🙂

    When you sit down and write, do you know what you’ll be writing before you sit down? So, when you’re writing dangerously is that a decision you make before you do it, or do you just start writing and see what happens?

    That’s what I do. I just start and usually I never know what to expect.

    • Jack March 27, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Hi Jens,

      I rarely if ever know what I am going to write about. I just sit down and let the words take me where they will.

      I love not knowing where I am going to end up. It is kind of fun isn’t it.

  5. Bill Dorman March 27, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Write like your hair is on fire? I read something yesterday from Ashley Ambirge http://ow.ly/9UCp6 and made me think, ‘now, that is letting it all hang out’. I wonder if your station in life dictates how dangerously you write? My guess is either that’s Ashley’s persona, or she’s not married and not likely to be because it would be one volatile relationship. But maybe that’s her point, live life passionately, no short cuts.

    Do you think you can write that dangerously where you just let it all hang out, or do you hold something back knowing your children, family and friends will be reading these words?

    Where are you my friend?

    • Jack March 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      There are boundaries in blogging that crop up when others are part of your world.

      Some stories I don’t tell because they aren’t mine to share. What happens to me is what happens to me and I deal with it but sometimes I have to think about what will happen to the others.

      I let a lot hang out here. There are stories that I would prefer not discussing with people, but sometimes I tell them any way.

      The rule of thumb I try to live by is to never write about anything I can’t talk about in person.

  6. Gina March 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I read it! Sorry about your blog issues. Hope you were able to sort them out.

    “their dad made a sea in his forties and decided that he didn’t like the life he was living and decided to turn it upside down and inside out.” Very scary and courageous move that one day they will understand because you will do a fine job of explaining it. We all have to keep the movement going forward!

    • Jack March 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      Some of them seem to have been sorted out, although I suspect all I have done is put a bandage on it.

      As for the kids, well I am sure we’ll get it sorted out sooner or later.

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