Tag Archives: writing

Another Why I Write

You (both of you) have been eagerly awaiting an update on my new workout so I’d like to take a moment to share.

Actually, my mind is a jumbled mess right now so I’d like to take a lot of moments to share (and sort) a lot of things.  Indulge me?  Look, I’ve been through a lot lately.  Consider it your work of mercy.

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If I didn’t blog, how would you ever see fun pics like this?

At work today where I joyfully bounced around between the spiritual battle raging all round us as relayed in Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters and the concept of authentic freedom as being something wholly different than license; the subject of this blog came up.  I don’t hide my blog from my students but I sure don’t advertise it either.  “If you can find it, you can read it,” I tell them.  I just like to keep things by and large separate on this one front as I feel I can be more authentically free that way.  A student asked “So why do you blog?”  I thought about it and said “I blog because I need to.”

The truth is that I do love to write.  As I said to my trainer-friend recently “Some men can move heavy weights around.  I play with words.”  Looking back I truly hope he didn’t take that as an insult as I always wanted to be able to one of the former and I greatly admire men like him who actually can move heavy weights around.  Weightlifting gives you an enviable body.  Writing can, well, let’s talk about that…

I write because I am a twin.  Sound odd?  OK, I was born, in all likelihood, speaking a secret language that only one other person understood.  So I spent the next few decades trying out different forms of communication to get my message across to a larger audience.  That period of monosyllabic grunts was kind of awkward for sure.

No?

OK.  Here it is.  I write because I love to write.  I don’t know who reads it and I don’t always care.  After my dad died I got a comment on a post about his funeral.  A woman said she had been reading for years and felt that she knew me and wanted to convey her sympathy.  I was touched.  I have never met her but we have a connection.  Words, you could say, are sacramental.  They make real in the physical world that which is invisible — namely our thoughts.  And when we write we are committing our souls to posterity.  It might not ever be very good writing but a piece of my mind and heart will live on as long as there are eyes to see it.  I have seen this so clearly over the past two months while reading The Chronicles of Narnia to my son at bedtime.  I have become enthralled with these books, with Lewis. I said to my son: “How amazing to think that this man wrote these books so long ago.  He’s dead but the thoughts in his mind are still speaking to us.  His brilliance lives.  The soul lives.”

To me, it’s fun.  I know what I’m capable of.  It is probably the only area of my life where I feel any measure of confidence.

I certainly don’t always feel that confidence in the gym (or the home gym as the case may be).  And that’s where we end for this post.  Did you really think I’d ramble on for 2500 words about a mess of different subjects with no underlying theme?  Ha.  Guess again.

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Miss Me?

So I’ve been away for a while.

Sue me.

I’ve got to stop inviting that upon myself, the lawsuits.

So how’ve you been?  Everything good?  Oh me?  Where’ve I been?  Funny you should ask…

It all started back around Easter when I heard from someone that a mutual “friend” thought that my writing was not very good, that in fact I was the only one who believed it to be decent in quality.  I had also heard around the same time that another friend believed I had used my brother’s death as a way to garner sympathy.

So, 1) I don’t need sympathy from anyone for anything.  To clarify what this person was saying… I posted a picture of my brother – the last picture from the last time I would see him alive.  I mentioned how I hadn’t known him all that well.  What I was trying to say was that I hadn’t actually known him that well and this was a source of sadness.  But I was thankful that God had given us this time in the final moments of his life to spend any time with him.  To be of any service to my brother as he lay dying was a blessing to me.

And 2) who cares if you don’t like my writing?  I like it.  My kids will like it when they eventually get around to reading it.  That’s all that matters.  So there.

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So here’s the deal…  I was captured by aliens and trapped on the pages of a coloring book.

Want to catch up?  Work’s good.  Still teaching.  Nothing new on that front.  Running?  It’s still hard as hell.  But I’m sticking with it.  I forget sometimes to celebrate the accomplishments.  I ran five miles the other night.  That’s a PR for me.  I also learned that this is runner-speak for “personal record”.  Hey, I’ve never run that far before in my life.  It was slow but I did it and I’m happy.  Trainer’s been busy so I haven’t had a chance to get a tune-up on my routine – you know, see what needs tweaking and the like.  Of course trainer’s still rockin’ the fitness world.  I’m still not sure how he finds time to teach and pose for covers of men’s fitness magazines while raising a family.  Perhaps we’ll get to catch up before my body catches up to my schemes and starts hiding fat in places I’ll never find.

I also noticed that my feet have grown.  Ain’t that a bitch?  But I looked it up and it’s apparently for real.  When people start running on a regular basis their feet can actually go up a size.  This would explain why my now-size 12 feet are stretching out my size 11 dress shoes.

Finally, my amazing son just had a birthday.  He turned 8.  I don’t know where the time went.  It’s like I blinked one day and a young man was standing before me sharing his ideas for what we should get Mommy for Mother’s Day.  I love him so much (and my little girl).  We had a party for him, a small affair.  In fact, it was even smaller after the Texas-tornado-season weather forced a few people to drop out.  He didn’t mind.  We went to play lunar mini-golf.  Yep, there’s a place in the mall that does glow in the dark miniature golf.  My mother-in-law found and booked the place.  We both determined that it was the kind of place that would be occupied by a different business the next time we were at this mall, like a Christmas-all-the-time shop or something.

While playing “golf” one of my son’s friends expressed a desire to use the bathroom.  Being the only man in the group of adults, I was given the task of taking him.  Being a fly-by-night operation, this place did not have it’s own facilities.  Out into the mall we headed, me and a kid I had just met, who’s name I wasn’t quite sure I had remembered.  To top it off, he wasn’t really listening to me and my pleas that he walk a bit faster and keep up with me as we headed down a mall corridor to a public bathroom.  Gee this is sounding like a Dateline special.

I walked into the men’s room and saw my little party guest head for a stall.  Being a dad I jumped in front to check the cleanliness of the stall.  Three stalls later I allowed him some privacy.  And then it happened.  I stood outside a bathroom stall while its occupant began making the most ghastly whining noises I’ve ever heard.  “You almost done in there, buddy?” I asked.  “NO!  My stomach hurts,” came the reply.  “And what time is it?” he bellowed.  “About 7:15, kid,” I replied.  He shouted back “It’s almost my bedtime.”  Fifteen minutes later I think he must have finished.  Either that or cholera is a quicker moving malady than I thought.

We walked back to the party where our little friend proceeded to lie on the floor.  What he was doing there I know not.  My wife did happen to reveal to me that his mom had mentioned that this was his first time going to a party by himself.  “Aha!'” I thought.  “Time for me to slip into best friend mode.”  And that’s something I’ve always done well.  I think it comes from my childhood.  Growing up without my twin I always felt a little out of place in the world.  I’ve been extraordinarily blessed to have such wonderful people surround me through those times where I’ve felt more alone than others.  My sisters taught me great kindness.  Always.  My best friend Dan (I’ve mentioned him before) has been a kindred soul, a brother to me and ever since we met in college is always around with a bawdy joke or an encouraging word.  A thousand mile distance only means it’s usually by text.  And more recently trainer has been a good friend, albeit one who pushes me around (in a good way) when he has a spare minute between running mud marathons.  Why the tangent?  Because these people have given me example and reinforced what I always knew – that sometimes people just need a little bit of kindness.  So I sat down with our son’s guest and started with the questions.  “So, kiddo, got any brothers or sisters?…”  And like that, he opened up and after a few minutes, the dysentery was gone.  Our little friend was happy for a moment.  And all because some people in my life were kind to me and I could extend a little of that kindness to another.

Forgive me for my length.  I wanted to say thank you to my dear sister Maureen.  We spoke the other night and she asked why I’d stopped writing.  “[My daughter] and I both agreed it would be a shame for you to stop writing.  Trust me your words help all of us.  We laugh.  We cry.  We share.  It all helps.  I found myself needing to read your work today.”

Someone needed me.  And that’s reason enough to keep going.

Thanks, guys, for sticking with me.  Now tell your friends.

New Bloggers… It’s OK to Take Time Off

Hey friends!  I’m back.  And after a few posts that will be appearing later this evening, it will be as if I never left.

What I want you to take away from this is the lesson that it’s OK to take time off. One thing I’ve learned over the past few years of blogging is that having a goal (say, posting every day) is a good thing.  But, remembering to take a week or two off is good for the soul.  As a writer, you’ll find refreshment and peace.  If you don’t take some time to yourself (without writing) your writing could become stale and you might just find yourself bitter.

You can always catch up.

And don’t worry about your stats.  They’ll still be there.

Inviting Questions from New Bloggers

OK, friends, you’ve been at this for almost a month.

So, what’s on your mind?  Any questions I might be able to help with?

I want you all to know that I’m proud of you for sticking with it.  Remember, you’re writing because you love writing.  Don’t let lack of results get you down.

And KEEP WRITING!  Even if it’s just a picture from you phone.  No caption necessary.  It will keep you in the habit of writing.

Cheers to You!

Thank you!

That goes to everyone who’s ever read this blog but especially those of you who’ve taken the time to hit the “follow” button. There are, as of this evening, 401 of you. Just three weeks ago that number had been stalled at 265.

Thank you!

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New bloggers, I share this so you know that it seems to have worked (my give to get plan). If more followers are what you want, start following.

It’s YOUR Blog

Hey new bloggers!

Earlier I introduced you to two people who have always been a part of my blog.  Now, I’m going to introduce you to a group of people who were once a mainstay feature of my blog.

Ready for them?  OK, here they are…

What in the world?...

What in the world?…

Confused?  Don’t be.

The Weebles were simply something I enjoyed as a diversion in my blogging endeavors.  When I was tired, pressed for time, or simply couldn’t think of anything to write I’d snap a few pics on my phone or iPad and blog up a cute little story.  In fact, you can check them by simply searching “weebles” on the sidebar.  Here’s one sample story.

I liked doing this.  It was fun.  I’d bring the Weebles out once every two weeks or so.  In reality they were always there.  Remember, I’m a dad with (at the time) very small kids.  Did they always “fit” the theme of my blog?  No.  But did they speak to who I am as a creative engine?  You bet!

Unfortunately, I took the advice of some people who would read my blog and question the place these little plastic people had in a blog about dads and their adventures dad-ing.  Basically, the Weebles got the wee-boot.  But it’s a new year and a new day.  I’m bringing them back.

My point is, don’t be afraid to go all over the map with your blog.

Your blog.  Your map.

I always believed that any writing is better than no writing.  So if there’s something you want to say, don’t be afraid to say it.  Express yourself on your blog and NEVER let anyone stifle that.  Take creative advice for how it’s meant but always be you.

For New Bloggers, A Slight of Hand

I am having so much fun sharing the things I have learned from my blogging experience with others.  Thank you all for reading.  It is gratifying.  I am trying to get to your comments as well.

So, did you see what I did there?

Didn’t catch it?  Well, I can’t repeat it without going into another post.  Here, I’ll just tell you.

I write this post to you on Wednesday January 14, 2015 in the 6 AM hour.  And yet, the post appears to have been written sometime around 11 PM the night before.  You know that’s not true because you didn’t see it then.

Trust me, you'll like this function.

Trust me, you’ll like this function.

It’s called pre-dating/post-dating your post and it’s possible by clicking on “Change Status” on the right inside your post editor.  Then, adjust the date and time under “Scheduled”.  Remember that the time is going to appear in a 24 hour format so 11PM needs to be entered as 23:00.

Now, why would you do this?  Simple.  Let’s say you had something awesome to share and the thought came to you late at night before you drifted off to sleep on your couch watching a DVR of Downton Abbey with your wife even though you protest that you aren’t into it but she’s had it on so often in your presence that you know… you just know.  Then, let’s also assume that you’re keeping a journal-type blog where you write about something each day.  There you go!

But why I like it, and I learned this from my friend Debbi (check her out, she’s amazing and she’s the one who got me blogging on Worpdress years ago), is that you can write posts ahead of time and have them post when you want to.  I used this function when I had major surgery almost a year ago.  I was able to “post” before I was out of general anesthesia!