99 Problems & Blogging Isn’t One Of Them
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.
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.
- I Was Wrong– Social Distortion
- Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – Led Zeppelin
- Whiskey Lullaby-Â Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss
- W.O.L.D.-Â 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 Â 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.
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.
Julia June 19, 2015 at 5:55 am
Love what you said about being inspired by music that tells a story. I listen to the same music most times when I write, the same songs I’ve listened to for years that still inspire me.
jacksteiner June 19, 2015 at 11:12 am
Yeah, that is totally me too.
Lewis LaLanne June 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm
I was reading the part of your conversation with your son where you were talking about reciprocity among blog owners and I thought to myself, “Man, if I’d been in this game for the sole purpose of getting jerked off by other bloggers, I wouldn’t have my blog now. I’d been long gone.”
Since late 2008 I’ve published 420-something post there. I think I can count on both hands the times that fellow blog owners have reciprocated and came and commented on my site. That’s a lot of non-reciprocation because I’m not shy about commenting on sites I like.
To make things even more daunting, 85-90% of my posts don’t have comments on them. So not only am I not getting jerked off by other bloggers… but I’m not even getting jerked off by readers.
And yet, for all these years I’ve joyfully and consistently posted content. Why? Because I get massive satisfaction from finishing a piece. It’s cool if it ends up getting shared a lot or if it gets a comment but if that was the pay off I was seeking, I’d would’ve been shamed out of the game long ago.
The satisfaction that I get from finishing a piece and . . . from having clients and customers pour in from my efforts are what keep me happy doing what on this quiet little site of mine.
I thank you Jack for reminding me of this valuable lesson and I honor you for helping your son be a thinker with the talks you have with him.
Jack Steiner June 24, 2015 at 2:59 am
I appreciate your comments. You always take time to write something that extends beyond ‘good post’ and shows you have spent some time thinking about what to say and share.
FWIW, I am not convinced that lack of comments means people aren’t reading or getting something out of the posts we publish. Sure at first glance it looks like that is true but it is also possible they are reading and just not responding with a comment.
Whether that is a reflection of our work or something else is a different story altogether.
Janine Huldie June 18, 2015 at 11:52 am
Jack, first of all, your list of music here is awesome and seriously I am a huge fan of all of the above, especially Fleetwood Mac, which I actually have had the pleasure to see live in concert back in the day. That said, I do often wonder what my younger self would think if she met and conversed with my current self. Think she would totally be amused, but probably not quite get the half of it. Age definitely does put so much into perspective if nothing else.
jacksteiner June 19, 2015 at 11:12 am
I have never seen Fleetwood Mac in person, always planned on it but never did for one reason or another. I bet that was a great show.
My grandfather always said you can’t screw an old head on young shoulders so I am rarely surprised when people say they don’t think their younger selves would totally get it, mine wouldn’t have either.