Archive for July, 2015

Blog Challenge: Why is blogging a chore?

July 27th, 2015

The topic, courtesy of Julie Hutchings: Why does blogging feel like a chore?

The short answer is that it’s exercise. I was, and am determined to be again, a runner. I would go daily when I could, and at least 4-5 times a week. Sometimes it’d be three miles, sometimes eight, sometimes 13.

No matter the length, that first mile was always the worst: painful and awkward and more draining than any of the miles after. Nothing helped. That first mile was just deadly.

Blogging is writing, but only the first mile. It’s painful and awkward and even if something feels pretty good, you want to revise and revise and revise and blogging isn’t made for all that revision.

It’s necessary, though. You gotta go the first mile to get to the second, and the even more comfortable third.

The long answer is specific to me. I was an awkward kid. I grew up sheltered, and gawky, and had big hands and a big nose and pointy-ish ears and a bowl haircut. I had zero grasp of pop culture or music.

I wasn’t the funny one until later. I wasn’t the hot one ever. I was the invisible one. And I was an introvert.

No matter how social I am now, I am still that boy. I am still invisible. I am not the person someone falls head over heels in love with. I’m the Duckie. I’m the guy whose company they enjoy and then wander off with that dreamy Blane.

For me, blogging reinforces that. I can throw words out there and hear nothing.

(I am drawing a line here between blogging, my personal thoughts, and reporting, which I did for years and years. That distinction is fuzzy now, but wasn’t when I was doing both.)

So blogging is a chore. It’s me moving out of my comfort zone and then being reminded that it simply doesn’t matter. (Or, as happened this past weekend, having my fears dismissed with a mocking laugh by family.)

I hate that that sounds like self-pity. It’s not. It’s just the way things are. Writing this is a chore. But I’m doing it. I’m going the first mile and hoping the second is better.


July 22nd, 2015

“What did you wish for?”

When I was a boy, I slipped on ice. The back of my head hit concrete, a shock of white and pressure ending at my eyes.

“If I tell you, that means it won’t come true. Right?”

She was fully there, fully mine for almost a year. Then she wasn’t. A flip of the switch — I have to figure things out — and gone.

I couldn’t breathe for days. I tried turning my feelings away. She’d done it, after all. There had to be some trick.

“Come on.” Her mouth twisted, a mischievous grin. “You can tell me.”

We’d only had months. Time for love to grow, but not so much that it got stale — I thought. Hers led the way. She was all in well before me. And then she wasn’t, just like that.

For months, every time I saw her name on Twitter, on Facebook, on World of Warcraft, I felt a punch at the back of my head. My vision went white. I’d quickly scroll on. I was certain the love was still there, and that she was afraid to admit it. I searched Missed Connections and message boards, hoping she would be wailing into the ether, heart as broken as mine.

I took a sip of whiskey. “I could tell you.”

I could tell her: I wished for you. I wished for the switch to flip again, for the love that had burned so hot to ignite, return to full flame.

I could tell her: I wished for me. I wished it hadn’t taken a supreme effort of will to accept her offer of birthday drinks. I wished I could be as cool and calm as I acted.

I wish you loved me.

I wish you loved me.

God, I wish you loved me.

“Maybe everybody got it wrong. Maybe if you tell me, your wish will come true.” The grin became a smile, a true smile, and my vision went white.

But first, let me take a selfie

July 10th, 2015

I’ll start with a humblebrag: At work today, I got a chance to hang out with a couple of world-class athletes, an Olympian and a Paralympain. We had a really nice chat, talking about our kids and paint colors for my new house and Sam Kavanagh’s bike-helmet tan lines. You know, just hanging out, as you do at your office on a Friday.

I shared with friends as more a bemused aside, an island of weird fun on a stressful Friday. Someone inevitably asked whether I’d taken any pictures with the guys.

Well, no. That would have been… weird. Was that weird of me to think?

A disclosure: I am sometimes rightly called out for documenting instead of living in the moment. After all, I am an introvert and a former reporter. Documenting makes me feel safe. So why didn’t I document this moment?

I think it comes from that reporter background. When I was out interviewing or writing about a famous subject, I was there as the audience. I wasn’t Larry King or James Lipton, almost a celebrity myself. I was just this guy, you know?

The comedy team of DeMong and Grieser

I can’t even think of many folks with whom I’d have wanted selfies (or whatever we called them way back when). Douglas Adams, surely; he’s my biggest missed opportunity there. Who knew he’d pass so soon? I probably assumed I’d interview the guy a ton more times. Lawrence Block, the great mystery writer, because he introduced me to a clean, wry, eminently readable tone.

Nobody else comes to mind. I feel like it ruins the professionalism of an interview, and conversely, that it can turn fun low-key social time (like today) into a weird fandom dynamic.

So: What are your selfie rules? When would you or would you not take a selfie with someone famous?

(One last contradiction: I did take a selfie goofing around with Olympian Billy DeMong when he was here. So who knows?)