Kind Of A Test Post…Sort Of

The ape ought to jump off the page and slap some sense into me.

He ought to tell me to give up, move on and walk away from some things but he won’t and it probably wouldn’t matter.

I am going to do what I am going to do until my gut says I don’t what had to be done.

It is not just because the heart wants what the heart wants either but because I hear music and I am following it.

In the interim I have undergone one hell of a battle to recover and restore this place. Came within a heartbeat of losing every damn thing here.

Given the lackluster efforts to keep the doors open and the blog breathing you might wonder if I care.

The answer is I do and I suspect a few others do too.

So if you stick around I expect you’ll see some movement here…soon.

You Are The Most Dishonest Blogger Ever

{Take A Chance}

Sunday morning is here and in the back of my mind I am still thinking about Superman Sam and his family. The shrinks might have a word, expression or description about it.

Maybe it is because that August day has been burned into my mind and Sam’s story reminds me of it.  Made me think about Mookie again and then again maybe it is because right now life feels a bit like I am living inside a cereal box that has been turned upside down and is being shaken by someone who is determined to get that last piece of cereal.

Not sure about any of it and I am more ok with that than you might realize because a big chunk of life is about being able to just roll with what comes and not to make sense of it.

Music Plays

iTunes is rolling out the songs and I am just floating alongside them. Imagine Dragons just played Demons and now Van Halen is singing Hot For Teacher.

A few moments later The Beatles will sing about Golden Slumbers and Carrying That Weight.

I am sifting through more posts because it feels like I need to find one, but I am not sure which one it is. Maybe I am supposed to share Endless Blue Skies with you or maybe it is Preserve Your Memories.

Maybe I am suppose to listen to Bookends with you and hope that it helps you see what I see.

Somewhere in this wild and woolly blogosphere is a post where someone has written about anonymous bloggers as being the most dishonest bloggers ever and I am laughing.

Laughing because Jack Steiner isn’t my real name but even if it was that wouldn’t mean that everything you read here is real or the truth.

I have my reasons for my pseudo anonymity and I have no regrets about it.  I haven’t hidden the fact that my driver’s license has a different name on it nor have I shouted that out.

Why should I.

You Can’t Handle The Truth

That doesn’t roll off of my tongue the way it does when Jack Nicholson says it but that is ok. Sometimes I think we forget the importance of vetting whatever we read.

A “real” name doesn’t mean that a post is “real” or “truthful.” Sometimes we intentionally take artistic license to make the posts about ourselves and our families look better.

We self censor what we share and what we write. That is not a bad thing. There are boundaries in blogging and not everyone needs to know every detail about you.

I try to make a point not to write about anything I don’t want others to know about because if it is online it is discoverable. That is life. It happens.

Lack of a “real name” isn’t indicative that someone is really hiding things either. If I told you that I wrote a post about having a hard time crying you probably wouldn’t think it is anything special.

Well when I wrote it almost a decade ago I wasn’t comfortable having that discussion with people so writing under an alias allowed me to put it out there in a way that felt comfortable.

Ask me about it today and I’ll tell you it is not something that happens easily and I’ll say I don’t care who knows. Can’t tell you exactly why it bothered me then, but it did.

More Music Plays

Fleetwood Mac just played Monday Morning and Never Going Back Again and I am getting ready to shift gears. The personal blogging time for the moment is almost over.

Won’t be long before my son gets home and I’ll be dad. Won’t be long before I have to help him with some writing assignments and I’ll remember how much I dislike homework.

Won’t be long before I feel like writing teachers to complain about busy work and to ask for an explanation about how 4 hours of homework helps with education.

Laughing because I just stumbled onto Wipeout by The Fat Boys with a special appearance by The Beach Boys. Kind of goofy but it makes me smile, good memories associated with it.

Can’t hear it without thinking about Walk this Way with RunDMC and Aerosmith, more good memories.

Memories and The Present

Superman Sam has left the present and is nothing but memories now. My heart aches to type it but I need to remember the importance of being present now.

Homework sucks, but it is one more thing my son and I will share and life is more than just memories of magic and mystical moments.

Mundane moments make up big pieces too and that is ok.

Baruch Dayan Emet to Sam’s family again, so very sorry.

Was 2010 The Year Of The Dadblogger?

dadblogs

Don’t ask me to tell you about 2009 and why it was the year in which the universe decided it would be fun to see how much crap it could fling at me before I would break or why I consider it to be about the worst year of my life.

I don’t have much interest in revisiting much of it but I suppose the nature of blogging lends itself to sometimes revisiting the past.

Somewhere during the normal chaos of the weekend I stumbled back onto a post I wrote called If I Was a Professional Blogger and then revisited a guest post I wrote for my friend Ron called The Random Thoughts Of Jack Be Nimble.

And that led me to a post in which I announced I felt like I had failed.

How Much Life Have You Lived?

When I think back on those moments it is with mixed emotions because in many ways it feels like it happened to someone else and I realize that I am not who I was.

That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Life forces us to make choices and to change or be changed. You roll with the punches and figure out how to keep getting back up or you just lie down and take a beating.

I took a beating but I never did give up in large part because I went through a big portion of that with the real world friends and a bunch of dad bloggers.

We did our best to support each other and to encourage us to know our own worth and to fight to get it.

And now almost four years later I look back and mostly smile because that sad and angry man is mostly gone. He was replaced by a man who feels a lot like he has been to hell and back.

That sort of life experience has value because when you look at the scars you not only knew you lived but you gain confidence in your ability to weather other storms.

Was 2010 The Year Of The Dadblogger?

2010 was the year I really pushed hard to change how about I went blogging and made a concerted effort to try to help build a stronger and more cohesive dad blogger community.

I don’t know how effective I was at building a larger community, if at all but I felt like I finished the year with new friends and that was worth a lot to me.

Sometimes I laugh at myself when I think about how serious I was at trying to convince more people that dad bloggers were a force to be reckoned with and that it was a mistake for brands to have such a strong focus on mom bloggers.

Hell, I still think it is. I still think that many of the brands have a very poor understanding of how decision making in married households work and that they don’t pay enough attention to single and stay-at-home-dads.

I still think that relatively few people understand metrics and that inertia and or laziness keeps them from digging as deep as they should.

It wouldn’t be hard to write more about engagement, reach, pageviews, unique users and a rant about how there is often no uniform metric for measurement but that is not what this post is about.

The Evolution of A Blogger

How To Make More Money and Have Better Sex Through Blogging  makes me smile because I can use it gauge progress or more accurately I can see how much happier I was when I wrote it.

That is a good thing.

It is one of the things I love about blogging. I love how it can serve as a chronological history of what has happened. Ultimately that is a big part of why I write about my kids here.

I can go back and see snapshots in time that remind me that the kid who is about to have his Bar Mitzvah asked me not to die when he was 3.5 and I can see how I responded.

One day these rug rats of mine are going to appreciate being able to look at these moments.

But in the interim it will be me who enjoys looking back and seeing how a guy who started blogging on a whim used it to reinvent his life and career.

The Best Bloggers Are Storytellers- 2013 Edition

Generations

Yes, this is content ran once before and so did The Best Bloggers Are Storytellers Part 2 but I wanted to test something out. I’ll share more in a coming post.

The best bloggers or at least my favorites are master storytellers. They know how to take a simple sentence and make it sing for them. They are artists who weave tapestries of sight and sound that I can see in my mind’s eye. Every time I sit down at this chair and let my fingers dance upon the keyboard I strive to meet the mark that they set for me.

And dance is exactly how I see this. Words are my partner and my job is to lead them into creating a construct that creates something out of nothing

The seventeen longtime readers have grown accustomed to my criticism of my own work. They know I rarely edit or rewrite the posts that you see appear on this page. More often than not I save those words as a draft and use insert them as needed into the posts that I write. I suppose that you could say that I see it as being similar to being a Football coach or Baseball Manager. When the Dillon Panthers are looking at 3rd and long I’ll sometimes look to the end of my bench and see that walkon that couldn’t quite make it as quarterback and I’ll put them in.

They never know when I might decide to use them so I always tell them to stay ready and be aware because when the call comes I expect them to perform for me.

That might sound silly to you but it is how I write. The words are my companions on a journey and the players on my team. They are close family members that have my back as I have theirs. Most of the time it works for me but sometimes it doesn’t which is why you occasionally see fifty or sixty words in blockquotes. Those are words that didn’t make the cut and instead serve as an example to me of what I don’t want to do or a direction that I didn’t want to go in.

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It is hard for me to believe that we have passed the halfway point for this year. The summer days are racing by and I can hear the footsteps of the coming school year approaching faster and faster. 2011 has been a very peculiar year for me. In many ways it has been among the worst that I have ever had to endure and that bothers me greatly. Life is far too short to be described like that. One shouldn’t feel like they need to count the minutes in the day…every day. But I have done that with greater frequency than I care to admit or think about.

The experience is making me harder and not in the way that anyone will appreciate. But then again there have been many moments of levity and more than a few times in which I laughed so hard my stomach ached for the following days.  Though I will tell you that I feel like I am that rock and island that Simon & Garfunkel sing about I can also say that I know that I am not alone. The boys and I have had many conversations about our respective situations and while they are all different we are all fighting fires at home or abroad.

The most frustrating part of these moments for me is that I am not able to take control of the entire situation the way that I would like to. So I wait for others to do what they must and wonder how long I must walk through hell covered in gasoline. Not so long ago I wrote the devil a letter and said that when he finished fighting with that fiddler down in Georgia he should come look me up. Smarter men than I wouldn’t go looking for trouble but sometimes I’d rather swim out to meet it in single combat and get it over with.

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But as the Stones sing we can’t always get what we want so we make do with what he have and see if we can’t turn those situations to our advantage. And because life is the greatest contradiction I have ever encountered I find myself feeling like the best really is yet to come.I feel that change in the wind and picture myself walking across some sandy beach in Hawaii or hanging out for a weekend in New England. The way I see it if I have to keep battling then I can do it with a big smile on my face which is often how you see me

++++++

Really, ask that wacky broad I call The Shmata Queen and she’ll tell you that I have the sort of smile that makes you wonder what sort of mischief I have gotten into. Frankly if you are smart you’ll spend less time wondering what I did and more worrying about what I might do. That is the joy of hanging out with 42 years of insouciant man. My son has decided that I must have been really good at talking my way out of trouble and I course deny that. I never got into trouble in school- I got others in trouble. Oops, did I say that out loud.

I have to get back to writing the stories that pay the bills but before I do I have just a few more thoughts to share with you. I am trying hard to just let go and accept that good things are coming. It is not easy for me to do. It is not easy because I believe that good things come to those who work for them but at the same time I have this crazy feeling that I can’t shake that something really good is about to happen. I figure that there is no harm in accepting that.

This quote really resonates with me: “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think that I am guilty of it so part of my acceptance is acknowledging that I have been getting in my own way. It is also why I may ask you to move out of my sunlight. I am happy to share it, but if you are casting shadows upon me, well you have go to go or risk being defenestrated.

See you on the other side.

How I Became A Serial Killer- Or The Headline You Hate

Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (...

Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Technically it is the day after Yom Kippur, or the Jewish Day of Atonement, but in reality it is only a handful of hours since I broke my fast.

It wasn’t the most spiritually fulfilling of days for me. I have had other “Yom Kippurs” in which I felt moved, refreshed, rejuvenated and recharged.

But that didn’t happen today. Didn’t happen for a bunch of reasons and now I feel disconnected. Or maybe I felt disconnected before and that is why I didn’t get as much out of the day.

People Don’t Pay Attention To Headlines

Do people pay attention to headlines. I am not really asking the question. I am just sharing a few, random thoughts that are floating around inside my head.

I suppose it is because I have blogged about building community and talked about whether comments are currency. I suppose it is because I have been thinking about my definition of what success is and have wondered if it would change me as a blogger.

If I captured lightning in a bottle would I spend more time trying to keep it locked up in a jar. Would success make me feel freer than I feel now or would it place invisible fetters upon my body.

Sometimes I think it might create the sort of shackles I don’t want, but then again I have a hard time truly picturing that. I suppose it is because I do as I will here.

I don’t spend much time working on headlines because I don’t want to spend my time there. It is not where I want to focus my energy.

That has an impact upon my traffic. I wish that it didn’t, but I am fairly certain it does. If I spent more time there I could probably help bring more people through the doors.

Yet I don’t want to because I want to play with many words and not just a few.

Chagall's Parents

Chagall’s Parents (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a writer but I wish that I could paint. Marc Chagall is one of my favorite artists. I look at the painting above these words and see a million different stories and ask a million different questions.

When I look at the painting it makes my heart hurt and sing. Part of what I love about being a writer is the ability to use words to paint a picture. Much of the time I use words and hope they make you feel something.

Up until now I haven’t discovered a hidden ability to paint, although I suspect I could do a decent impression of Jackson Pollock, but I don’t want to be him. I want to be me.

I Am The Reason Why My Headlines Are As They Are

I am the reason why my headlines are as they are. Old Jack writes them for you and not for the search engines. I write them quickly and hope that you will take the time to read the words that lie below and that the content will captivate you.

Does this make me a lazy blogger. Does this mean I am shooting myself in the foot and sabotaging my effort to be successful, whatever that may mean.

Maybe.

Maybe my refusal to focus on one topic hurts me. Maybe I would be nominated to be the best dad blogger if I did nothing but focus on writing about my children and what it means to be a father.

If my son/daughter wrote these words you have read and asked me to share my opinion I might quiz them about the headlines. I might ask them why they don’t spend more time there when they clearly have the ability to write.

And if they were me they might respond by saying it is because they are irritated about the constant chirping from the ten thousand experts in social media. Maybe they would talk about why they hate the term content marketing and how some bloggers have gone nuts when I have shared that.

Bob Dylan- Wedding Song

You might wonder what Dylan is doing here and how he fits. That answer isn’t blowing in the wind. It is simple, the man is an extraordinary writer. I could share a dozen different songs but right now I am having too much fun with the Wedding Song.

These lyrics paint a picture and I see stories in them. I wish I could do what he does, but I haven’t found that skill just yet. But I have more hope here than I do of becoming that painter.

In the end it doesn’t matter because who I want to be is me. I know who that is today but tomorrow is yet to be defined. I’ll leave you with a few lines to ponder.

“You turn the tide on me each day and teach my eyes to see
Just being next to you is a natural thing for me
And I could never let you go, no matter what goes on
‘Cause I love you more than ever now that the past is gone.”

 It is almost 2 am and the dawn breaks here far too soon. See you on the other side.