I was there.
I loved and I lived it.
Denial never blinded my eyes or prevented me from seeing and knowing. It was both a gift and a curse.
I don’t know when I began to understand it or when it first clicked, but it happened before I started writing about our own mortality.
It influenced what people see in my own eyes just as something influenced what others see in yours.
Someone asked me what sort of impact it had on my ability to deal with walls.
“I never worry about walls because I have never met one I couldn’t tear the fuck down. Never found one I couldn’t scale, dig under or build a door through.
But I have found a few that left me feeling befuddled and confused because I didn’t see what was obvious.”
“Jack, maybe you want to tone it down. Maybe you want to take a deep breath and not let it all hang out, some people just don’t understand you. Is it really smart to say ‘Fuck ’em.”
I smile and nod my head.
“I am who I am. Someone will love my crazy. Someone will love my sane. Someone will care about my heart or they won’t. Not going to change just because I might scare them. If they can’t stand with my ‘Fuck em’ than I don’t need them. They won’t help me and I won’t help them.”
A Smile Is Worth A Thousand
The boys and I are poolside in Texas talking about life and reminiscing.
“Jack, do you remember that wedding in Houston?”
“There were several, but I am guessing you are talking about the Casablanca one.”
They nod their heads and for a few moments we hit upon theÂ highlightsÂ of a conversation between myself and an ex that supposedly resembled a scene from the movie.
Yvonne: Where were you last night?
Rick Blaine: That’s so long ago, I don’t remember.
Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?
Rick Blaine quote: I never make plans that far ahead.
The conversation wasn’t recorded so I’ll never know if I was Humphrey Bogart cool or a jerk but I know she wasn’t happy with me.
“You are not the only one whose heart was broken. Maybe if you learned to share your feelings and to show some compassion you might find someone to love you.”
I nod my head and smile but I say nothing.
There really aren’t any words for a moment like this, but I know a smile will say more than any words I might have.
“Jack, how do you manage to smile at people when you are really angry? I never understood that?”
I nod and smile at him.
“That is the one, how do you do it?”
“It is just practice. A long time ago I got tired of feeling like I didn’t think of a good comeback until three days after an argument so I just started to nod and smile at people. Don’t really know why, I just know it made some people uneasy and that made me feel like I won.
Kind of dumb really, but…”
Write For Everyone
TheÂ expertsÂ tell me that I ought to write posts that are easily skimmed and scanned.
Use subheads and make it easy for people to see what it is you are writing about.
I have two words for the experts and they start with F and end with M.
I am having too much fun writing as I wish to and though it might be helpful to write for everyone I am just not feeling it right now.
That might change. There might come a day when I see a need to focus upon building the traffic around here in a hurry.
There might come a time when I want to write a follow-up post to my friend Mitch Mitchell’s post about the influence of frequency on traffic but I am not sure.
Partly because I think I might have written about it, chances are pretty good that I did.
What is not good is not remembering if I did or not.
Because it suggests that post wasn’t very good and if a writer doesn’t like what they have written, well how is a reader supposed to.
Sometimes I think about writingÂ a post thatÂ covers traffic and engagement in great detail, ya know, something that delves into what metrics are meaningful.
It is the kind of thing that could be very well received, it might not be writing for everyone, but bloggers would love it.
And it might actually generate a ton of engagement,Â build more links to the blog and give my Alexa profile a bump.
Mitch is right, numbers are soft in some of those areas, especially given how long I have been blogging for.
But if I did write that post, well I’d want it to be chock full of useful information.
I just don’t feel like writing a post that sounds like work without getting paid for it, at least not tonight.
The Death Of All Things
Dad called me to say the house sold and though they haven’t moved out yet it means that in aÂ very short time my childhood home will no longer be part of the family in anything but memory.
My teenager tells me grandpa and grandma’s house shouldn’t be sold,Â “it is like the death of all the things that are important to me are coming to fruition.”
I nod and tell him I’ll miss it too.
“It is four walls & a roof. Save the memories and secure the moments. That is what we take with us.”
I don’t think of the Whitman quote until after our conversation so I don’t get to use it but I play around with talking about it later on with him.
Maybe one day I’ll mention how it applies to our entire lives and tell him how I see his unfolding at light speed and how easy it is for me toÂ remember what it was like to be 15 and how in some ways I just don’t.
Peter Pan got old.
Though nothing, will keep us together
We could steal time, just for one day
We can be heroes, forever and ever
What’d you say?
Heroes- David Bowie
Don’t know if it is fate or coincidence, but the computer I am using to write this sounds like it is dying.
And soÂ writing this has become more challenging because nothing is working the way it should be, but I carry on.
Because a man who says he hasÂ never beenÂ beatenÂ by a wall must live up to his reputation and a father must teach his children how to overcome adversity.
Or something like that, it is the death of all things.
Naomi January 17, 2016 at 2:20 pm
Jack, your work is great. You are one of the very few blogs I bother to read. Your work is poetry, it has power. I wish the numbers were better for you. Read a marketing book, or hire one of those keyword experts, or something. People would benefit from reading your work. All best wishes. Contact me if you want.
Jack Steiner January 17, 2016 at 5:05 pm
That is very kind, thank you. My numbers have been better and I have some knowledge about how to pump things up here. The biggest issue is I just haven’t put the same effort into the marketing side as I did before. That caused a hit but it hasn’t been something I have concerned myself with.
Maybe I should spend more time on/with it.
Larry January 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm
This seems like the angry post. Angry at everyone if they are not fine with what you want/are. I don’t know – adults need to have some flexibility.
Regarding the house – sorry for the sadness it may be causing you.
Jack Steiner January 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm
Nah, not angry like that one. This is just a mind dump, throwing a few things out of my head.
As for the house, yeah I’ll miss it but I am ok with the folks selling it. They don’t need that much house anymore. It is time.
Janine Huldie January 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm
The way you ended this is how I feel at the end of this long week, which found myself and both my kids sick at some point during it. So, trust me I get it and kept writing even though I felt like that old computer of yours for a good portion of this week though, too still!
Jack Steiner January 15, 2016 at 1:03 pm
Some weeks are longer than others. 🙂
If we keep going they generally improve or so I have experienced. As someone once said, I have a perfect record of surviving every bad day I have ever had.
Danny Brown January 15, 2016 at 5:53 am
You’d tell them to blame Fat Sam? Is this an American thing? 🙂
The reason I enjoy reading your content so much, mate, is that I know I will always be taken on a journey.
Whether I agree with the end destination or not doesn’t matter – it’s the experience I have while getting there. For me, that’s all that matters.
And let’s face it, traffic is overrated. Yes, I get it from a business point of view, but unless you have something the visitor wants, that traffic is still dead traffic.
Instead, I enjoy (and value) the deeper engagement that comes from comments and email conversations from these comments. Because guess what? That makes me far more knowledgeable about my audience and their needs.
Which makes me far more effective at creating content, or product or service, that sells. Funny how that works… 😉
Jack Steiner January 15, 2016 at 12:05 pm
Yeah, Fat Sam is an American thing, for certain. 🙂
That journey is important to me as both a writer and a reader, it is what makes it interesting to me and the engagement, well that is the cream filling.
It is all part of what makes it fun and as long as that continues, well this isn’t work.
Miss Bougie January 16, 2016 at 11:05 pm
Sorry to be an ignoramus – I’m from abroad and not always well versed in American expressions – but what is Fat Sam?
Jack Steiner January 17, 2016 at 3:03 pm
We are kidding around, ‘Fat Sam’ isn’t really a person. It’s more of a play on the words I was going to use, the curse words.
Brian Sorrell January 15, 2016 at 1:26 am
Such flow. I enjoy tracking where your mind darts. The ending is lovely here.
Jack Steiner January 15, 2016 at 11:07 am
Thank you, something about this one sort of stuck with me. Not sure what, but it was fun to write.