A Bad Case Of Blog Avoidance

It is a damn good thing I am a blog doctor and am able to self-diagnose and treat.

I have been suffering from a bad case of blog avoidance and am working on the cure as we speak.

Don’t mistake it for writer’s block because it is not, it is different.

In the interim dear reader you are welcome to share your thoughts and ideas for future posts in the comments.

The Mightiest Dad Blog

They asked me to describe this joint as it stands today and I said it is the mightiest dad blog.

“What does that mean Jack?”

“It means I might publish today or I might publish tomorrow. Or I might not publish for a week and then I might publish every day.”

In other words this place isn’t dead, haunted or dying–it is evolving.

And when you are in a state of transition you try to be the smart guy who understands you have to let things unfold and play out.

Drinking More

I suppose it is worth mentioning that I haven’t slowed down my writing in general.

Hell the other blog is moving at warp speed, but this one is a bit more like a teenager in some ways.

It is moodier and more likely to surprise you with fits of unexpected rage or profound insight.

This place is where you’ll come to find stories of fights with Santa Claus, clowns and tales of how to talk to kids about death.

And it is where you’ll see posts and pieces about the growth of those kids and get just a little insight into what happened to the boy who helped push me into blogging and the teen he has become.

But as with all good blogs there are boundaries and we follow those carefully here until we don’t.

You just never know what you will or won’t find because when you stay drunk on writing all things are possible.

That is truth and not fiction– search for the write stuff and you might just find it…maybe.

The Write Thing To Do For Bloggers

Very few of you have ever met me so you’ll have to take my word that shopping for clothes has always been a chore because of my size.

At 48 there is no hiding that I have filled out a little bit but you wouldn’t look at me and say that I am a giant fat man.

Nor would you say I am the tallest/shortest person you have ever met or seen.

No, you’d say I am broad and if you use a little imagination it would be easy to understand how once upon a time my shoulders made it impossible for me to buy shirts and suits that absolutely had to be altered.

Did I mention that my feet are wide? I wear a 12, triple E.

Even though I may have filled out a bit, right off the rack is still a challenge and part of why shopping is a process.

I rarely feel like my clothes fit the way I really want them to.

The Write Thing To Do For Bloggers

Sometimes blogging reminds me of clothes shopping.

There are no lack of ideas, sizes, colors and options but I wrestle with which ones I really like and can’t always get comfortable with the words I wrap around myself.

That is because I can’t write with the sort of reckless abandon and freedom I want to.

Well, I could but there are consequences there that I am not sure I want to deal with.

For example I don’t write about my kids the way I used to because they’re teens and I don’t want to create a situation that embarrasses them.

They and their friends Google each other and I don’t want to be the reason they get teased or messed with.

Sort of reminds me of an old suit I held onto. It is in good shape and it is one I loved wearing, always felt great and it brought me luck.

Well, I can’t get the pants to zip and the jacket sort of fits…sort of.

So I either have to force it or make some changes.

Drop some weight and I can get back in or give it away and move on.

Let’s say I get back into it, will I still feel the same way about it? Will I still love it and think it brings me luck?

Maybe, or maybe it is better not to try and turn back the clock that way.

Maybe it is just better to accept the change, but still work on getting into better shape because that provides other important benefits.

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That Virginia Woolf quote makes a lot of sense to me as all of my experiences inform my writing.

Hell, friends and family who read my material often ask me if a particular post or story is about them or something we did together.

Technically I can write about anything and everything that I have experienced and so there have been times that I have done that.

But the older my kids get and the more I see people Googling each other the more cautious I become about some of it.

Because it impacts others.

So the question I find myself asking is where are those lines.

If I tell you about the time a bear interrupted my girlfriend and I (true story) do I need to worry about her getting upset?

It is almost 30 years ago and as far as I know she has never read a thing I have written. I haven’t used her name and I use a pen name here so it is probably fine.

But the stuff with the kids, well that is different and that is going to be something more recent.

Lines are blurry in some places and clear in others.

Sometimes the words fit just fine and sometimes, not so much.

Things I Could Write About

Some of you ask why I dance around topics and wonder if I’ll do more than dip my toe.

I refer back to blurry lines and privacy as reasons why I don’t go deeper.

It is intentional.

And it is because I am concerned that I won’t provide the depth, feeling, clarity and nuance in my words that I want them to have.

It is because some conversations really need to happen in person and then maybe the words can be written because there is less opportunity for misunderstanding, but it is not a given.

The only given for me is that sometimes we are connected to and with others and it doesn’t matter whether we want to be or not.

The ties that bind keep us tethered and it is up to us to decide whether those tethers are metal chains or a soft feather like substance.

69 Bloggers Who Hate Saint Patrick’s Day

You might see the headline as linkbait but I see it as an entry to memories of being a kid in school.

Days long past when people would pinch you for not wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day and your beloved author would punch those who pinched him.

Perhaps you think that is an overreaction to a child’s game but the rebel in me has always run deep and I didn’t want to have to wear green unless I chose to.

Doesn’t mean I didn’t or that I always responded with fists of fury because I did wear green and I didn’t always use my fists.

It was something that evolved over time and when I chose to stop wearing green I gave notice that pinching me would yield an unpleasant response.

Be nice to me and I’ll be nice to you.

69 Bloggers Who Hate Saint Patrick’s Day

If you are wondering if there is going to be a list of 69 bloggers here the answer is no, there is not.

I am not a fan of list posts for a host of reasons primary of which is because it is the province of lazy writers and or popularity contests.

Granted if you want to pull in eyeballs running a popularity contest can be an effective technique for doing so.

The Sneetches of the blogosphere are glad to wear stars or not wear stars if they think it will bring them more readers and opportunities to speak at conferences or brand ambassadorships.

Anyway, I haven’t any doubt that in giant world there has to be at least 69 bloggers who hate the day. And if you disagree, well I am just following the lead of our president who is never troubled by making statements of fact regardless of whether they are truthful or not.

A Time For Goodbyes

I am making a mental note to ask my daughter if her school experience still includes harassment by the green police.

It includes a separate thought about friendship in general.

Daughter is responsible for having prompted some of this by telling me about the shenanigans going on at school with some of her friends.

Many of those stories make me shake my head in part because I hear the women in my life share stories that don’t sound particularly different than what I hear from my not so little girl.

She is in 7th grade so I am not entirely surprised to hear some of it but when I hear this stuff about forty-somethings I shake my head.

Do people ever grow up?

It is not that men are perfect, because we aren’t but I don’t see the game playing and one-upsmanship that I keep being exposed to.

My issue with men is more focused on those who stay in touch and those who don’t.

That is ‘cuz there are guys who never write nor call and I wonder why I am connected to them on Facebook or anywhere else.

If we are not important enough to check in with, well maybe it is silly to be friends on Facebook because we aren’t acting like friends.

Might be time to say goodbye to some people, wonder if they’d even notice. Wonder if I would notice.

Maybe not wondering is the answer to whether I should let them go.

987 Silly Bloggers & Stupid Readers

Purple Rain is playing but the thunder from outside is the reason my windows are shaking.

The song set off a pinball inside my head and there is a memory from long ago floating around inside my head.

I am 14 or 15 years old and standing in the corner at a school dance watching the girl I want to dance with kiss some other boy.

She kissed me, not tonight, but maybe a week or two before and I am just learning about how quickly a girl’s fancy can move from one boy to the next.

That is not to say we don’t do it too, but I am too naive and inexperienced to have any idea how that works, let alone that it exists.

All I know is one moment she was pressed up against me, holding my hand and telling me things that I thought made me special and now I am just another guy.

987 Silly Bloggers & Stupid Readers

Saturday night finds me doing some early evening shopping at a local Trader Joe’s.

The store is almost empty which is part of why I have chosen to be there now. Parking is plentiful and I can fly down the aisles with reckless abandon.

Or so I think.

There is a guy standing in the middle with a woman and they are busy trying to snap the perfect shot of something for their joint food blog.

I know this because they have told me that if I can just wait they’ll be done and it is really important to give them the time because their blog is really important.

I look at them and tell them that in 2011 I was one of the sexiest dad bloggers and that if they looked at the list now I might even have moved up from number 4.

They just stared at me and I told them that I have been out here in the wild and wooly blogosphere for 13 years and followed it up by saying I started before they hit puberty.

It is fun being old.

And then I told them if we are all really lucky we can be among the 987 silly bloggers and stupid readers.

Don’t ask me where that came from, just accept that I tried to come up with some really cool line and failed miserably.

It happens.

Just Go For It

My teenage son and I are talking about life and I am telling him about how sometimes we have to ignore fear of failure and just go for it.

He wants me to give him an example and I share a couple of work stories but they don’t seem to be resonating with him.

I tell him how about a couple of presentations and a project that didn’t go as I wanted as well as one that did but I know I am not getting through.

So I tell him about a girl who made my heart pound and left me tongue tied.

I tell him about how every time I talked to her I felt stupid, awkward and couldn’t ever do the right thing.

He surprises me and asks for more details and I tell him about how one time I was so flummoxed that I had trouble looking her in the eyes.

“What happened dad?”

“She thought I was staring at her boobs.”

“Were you?”

“Yeah, but not really. I wasn’t focused on them. I just couldn’t look her in the eye and was sort of staring through her and she snapped at me.”

“What did she say?”

“I don’t kiss men who don’t look me in the eyes?”

“Does that mean she kissed you?”

“Nope, I told her she would be lucky if I kissed her and she got pissed off and walked away.”

He laughed and asked if I ever talked to her again and I told him we ended up dating but that was much later on.

“How did that happen?”

“Sometimes you have to just go for it. A long time later I ran into her at a fraternity party and she made sarcastic remark about me. I told her I’d make it up to her, but that she’d have to kiss me.”

And then my kid reminded me he wasn’t really interested in hearing that kind of thing. I get it, I wouldn’t want to hear those stories from my parents.

Funny thing is my daughter wants a complete dossier on every woman I ever dated, but girls are different than boys so…

The Stories We Share

I have been thinking about the stories we share and the things I can blog about.

Since the kids are getting older I have made a point to try and be more cautious about the stories I share about them, but my stories are different.

My stories are mine and the choice to share or not is my own.

Been playing around with sharing more, if for no other reason than I can use them to practice my writing.

It is one of those things bloggers do.