Missing Shmatas

Sometimes you walk under a moon lit sky searching for a missing shmata and sometimes you do the same under cloudy skies.

In light and in darkness you search because the echoes of the past reach into the present and the future and you wonder.

Wonder if what you hear is a lie told many times over many years or if it is the simplest and most powerful truth you’ll ever know.

Conflicted you stand in a field wondering if you’ll always wonder of if one day you’ll be able to say you know the truth without question or concern.

Once there were two souls…

The Kind Of Blogger You Want To Read

Sometimes I play around with spending time rooting through the archives here to try and do a thorough analysis regarding the evolution of the blog.

I am curious to see a breakdown of the types and kinds of posts that have run here and see if that gives me any insight as to how it has grown or regressed.

Probably won’t happen because I don’t have enough extra time nor enough interest to do it. Maybe I’ll win the lottery and take it on then or maybe not.

The Kind Of Blogger You Want To Read

That is the single best and worst thing to happen to me as a blogger.

It is the great contradiction that has pushed me to become better and at times stifled my words.

The desire to have more people read me and the concern that they’ll dislike or even worse be so bored they won’t return.

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Not going to lie and say my ego doesn’t love being told something I wrote was good, but what really resonates with me is when someone says my words move them.

There are times where I am sincerely surprised because I didn’t think what I wrote was particularly good.

Moments where I wonder why no one cared that in the prior post I bared my soul and yet this piece of nothing caused them to cry.

Times where I shake my head because I issued a call-to-action that was met with ambivalence and the story I wrote in five minutes has people asking for more information.

It is just more proof about how subjective our feelings about writing is.

Speaking about subjective, I get chills watching this video below.

Sometimes I forget how much Chicago is in me and that even though I am forever a California boy, I wouldn’t exist without Chicago.

It made and molded so many people in my family it is impossible for it not to influence me.

Who knows, I may even live there one day.

In spite of my love for Chicago, I still wish my Dodgers had won it all, but this isn’t bad.

What Comes Next?

That is a question I have been asking myself for a while now.

What comes next?

I am still growing and learning how to become a better writer and storyteller but that is not really the question here.

The question is what direction do I want to take the blog in. What will make me happiest and serve the greatest good.

What will drive me to sit down and just write with reckless abandon.

I am still evaluating and thinking about those things.

There is no rush to come up with an answer either.

If you stick around for the ride you’ll see what happens and if you don’t, well maybe our paths will cross again at a different time or place.

Am I Killing Twitter?

I am another white guy listening to NWA’s Straight Outta Compton thinking about how I have run into Ice Cube twice.

Both times were at the same IHOP but we exchange greetings or acknowledge each other either time and it is not because we went to rival high schools.

Ok, that is not entirely true, we nodded heads at each other, me as I walked towards my table and he as he walked out of the restaurant.

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Funny thing is when a neighbor asked me last week if I ever saw celebrities in LA I forgot to mention Ice Cube.

Didn’t think of the time I saw Bruce Springsteen, Tom Selleck or Diane Keaton.

The list is far longer than that and not made up, it is just proof  I don’t spend much time thinking about celebrities.

There are relatively few I really have significant interest in and most of the time I don’t feel like I am entitled to go insert myself into their world.

Where Are You Now?

I got some news today about stuff going on back in LA that reminded me that moving to Texas would present some challenges.

News that reminded me that while Ma and Pa Steiner aren’t old they aren’t young anymore.

There are things going on with them that reminded me of conversations I heard my parents have when they were around the same age I am now.

Makes me wonder where my grandparents are now and what sort of conversations we would have.

The past bubbles into the future and I hear my grandfathers telling me to do exactly as I have done, their advice no different from the words my parents shared with me when I told them I was going to take this position.

But I don’t think they would have appreciated my concerns about being part of a sandwich generation so I didn’t voice them.

Didn’t say that while I was obviously concerned about my kids I worried about them a bit more because they aren’t getting any younger.

Am I Killing Twitter?

Twitter and I were really tight.

We spent a lot of time together and I looked forward to my time there because I knew Twitter and I would have a lot of fun together.

But time passed and things changed and it wasn’t quite as it was.

I never did figure out if it was me or Twitter that changed.

Might have been both, but man from 2008-11 we had a lot of fun together. Hell things were probably still good in 2012, but the impact of whatever changed finally had its way with me.

Hell things were probably still good in 2012, but the impact of whatever changed finally had its way with me.

I started spending less and less time there but because I didn’t want to disappear I used automation to maintain a presence and to make sure my posts were still promoted.

Sometimes I jump on Twitter and I see sparks of the past and for a while I am live and around. I make comments and engage in conversation and it feels like it once did.

But eventually I get pulled away and I leave but the automation stays and I wonder if I am part of the problem.

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My windows ache and there is a part of me that has gone missing. One day it will return but I don’t know when that will be.

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Sometimes I forget how old I am and how much life experience I have.

It doesn’t occur to me that I have lived through John Lennon’s murder, the attempted assassination of President Reagan, two space shuttle catastrophes, a series of wars, terrorism, Rodney King, the LA Riots and OJ.

That is not a complete or comprehensive list either.

I suppose I could say I have lived through eight presidencies and am about to hit my 9th but I am not sure how significant that really is or isn’t.

Maybe what this really means is that I am working on getting my rhythm as a writer back.

Maybe it is because it is time to return to certain stories.

I am not  a priest or a rabbi but chances are good that just as many people look to me for absolution of their sins. Hell, probably more because I get the agnostics and the atheists too.

Don’t ask me to tell you when it started or how bartenders got a reputation for being the person you can spill your guts too because I don’t know and if I did it is probably not something I would talk about either. It would be like a magician telling you how he saws the girls in half- some things are trade secrets.

What I can tell you is a good bartender is more than someone who knows how to make the best Martini or the latest cocktail fad drink. A good bartender knows how to listen and when to speak. Sure, alcohol helps loosen the lips of the customers and makes it easier for them to tell us about whatever is on their minds, but that is not all.

They share with us because we don’t share what we hear and we don’t judge. We are like the Swiss bankers except our currency isn’t traded on Wall Street.

Some stories provide answers to questions and some stories just raise more questions.

When your windows ache and your doorknobs throb you always know it is the latter.

Don’t blame me for Twitter but don’t release me of responsibility either. The search for absolution is never so simple.

Are You An Illiterate Brand Whore?

A short tour of the parent blogosphere today provided a fresh reminder about how many illiterate brand whores are masquerading as bloggers.

Can’t tell you how many times I came across advertising that was camouflaged as a blog post or all of the times I wondered if the brands spent any time reading the posts they paid for.

It warms my tiny black heart and angry black soul to see the sort of drek people slap upon their pages.

Really, it is good to know that fortune can smile upon you and provide you with products and trips even though you haven’t a clue how to tell a story that includes a beginning, middle or end.

Jack’s A Cranky Jerk

Some of you will label me a cranky jerk and provide a litany of reasons why people shouldn’t take me seriously.

You’ll say I am jealous or suggest I should keep my mouth shut because my prose isn’t perfect and wave your fingers back at me.

That is cool with me because I am not here to get your approval any more than you need to get mine.

I have spent the last 12 years blogging because I love to write and because this world had been one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.

Bloggers come and go and very few last unless they have fun doing this and that includes the people that are going on all of the trips and getting all of the swag.

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Why Do I Comment/Complain?

I love writing and I believe it deserves respect. I believe it is a skill and that it is possible for all of us to improve.

I get cranky when bloggers devalue writing and our work by throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks and by working for free.

I believe a rising tide raises all ships and that Illiterate Brand Whores are dropping bombs through the middle of our ranks.

It is hard enough to make a buck this way and to make things work without those hacks blindly lumbering around.

Show some respect for yourself and for others and take a moment to proof your work. Get to know your spellchecker and take some time to ask if your stories have a beginning, middle and an end.

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Do with this what you will.

Call me a crank, a saint or something in between.

I am the guy who bleeds at the keyboard or whatever the hell it was Hemingway said.

You may not ever find perfection here but you will find passion and a desire to do better every time.

My words mean something to me even when they suck.

There are many fine writers in the parent blogosphere. Many men and women whose command of the language makes me strive to do more and become better.

I just wish the brand whores didn’t get as much attention as they do. It is a real shame that and a disservice to those who deserve better.

End of rant.

A Writer Shares A Thought

Beams of sunlight are supposed to gently rouse your body from its slumber, but that is not always how it goes.

Maybe that is why some people use blackout shades or do things to help ease their way into a wakeful state.
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I am not really looking out at the mountains or staring at the beach below.

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I wish I was staring at either of those places and that I was the writer who had enough money and or resources to set up shop wherever I want to.

It is not because I think it would bestow magical powers upon my skills as a writer and storyteller.

No, it is a simple and selfish reason.

Because I think it would be cool and because my imagination tells me if I could afford to do that I would be a happier and more peaceful person.

It is a theory I’d like to test one day but I have a sneaking suspicion there is no truth to it.

Money and resources may ease some of my concerns but they are unlikely tofix all of them

It Won’t Make More People Read

It won’t make more people read my words here or at TheJackB.

Might make it easier to promote and reach more potential readers, but it is not going to make them stick around.

That doesn’t happen without providing interesting, engaging and entertaining content.

I know from experience that this is not a theory and that a good imagination can help take you a long way so maybe it is not really a big deal to not have those resources.

But damn, it sure would be nice not to have to worry about paying the bills once in a while.