Archive for May, 2013

There’s Nothing Wrong With MY Mind

May 17, 2013

The other day my Mom casually expressed a concern that some day her mind would just “go.”(1)

“Relax, Mom, ” I told her.  “Your knees will go long before your mind does.”

“My knees went years ago!”(2) she protested.

“I know,” I said.


1.  Let that record show that she’s been doing this since I was a teenager, so there is at least some justification for my not taking this as a serious concern.

2.  Let the record further show that Mom is planning to celebrate her upcoming birthday by going out dancing, making her dire assessment of the condition of her knees at least somewhat debatable.

I STILL Use This Phrase To This Day

May 16, 2013

When the alarm went off at four o’clock in the morning, Charlie Brown felt like he had been stepped on by an elephant.

You’re in LOVE, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz

Fool Me Once . . .

May 15, 2013

Nothing destroys my respect for a writer quite like the realization that they respect neither their audience, nor their own creations.  Excessive ego and/or arrogance in a writer can lessen my estimation of them as a person, but will never, in and of itself, cause me to think less of their talent.

Once a writer has proven themselves to me that they are crassly manipulative and scornful of both those they write for and those they write, however, from that point on I’ve yet to be able to appreciate their talent, if any.  Every time I’ve tried, it’s never been long before I find myself unable to see anything beyond their cheap tricks and petty conceits.

Sometimes You Just Have To Start

May 14, 2013

For reasons unclear to me, this month has already proven itself as a month in which many people close to me (myself included) suddenly find themselves struggling with a mix of old issues they’d thought put to rest, and some surprisingly new challenges as well.

Some months are just like that.

All of us are feeling taxed, some to our limits and beyond, so I understood perfectly when  someone overwhelmed by questions half-facetiously asked me, “Which question should I start with?”

“That one,” I answered.

Nobody Likes A Quitter (Follow-up)

May 13, 2013

Don’t get me wrong, the answer I gave on Friday regarding why I don’t quit writing is a good one, but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if people would realize that L’s Mother’s answer was also my answer.

Because it is.

Put simply, take away my writing, for all its costs and challenges, and I become a significantly worse person for it.  Saying it that plainly, however, just doesn’t convey the true depths of the situation.  L’s Mother’s answer on the other hand . . . well . . . it doesn’t leave any room for doubt, now does it?  If you think about it, they’re essentially the same answer though.

Hers just says it better.

Nobody Likes A Quitter (Part Three)

May 10, 2013

Well . . . in part because writing, even the limited amount I’m doing currently,  is how I frame my week.  I pay more attention to the rest of my schedule because I know I need to make time not just to write, but to write to the best of my ability.  If I quit writing, I figure I’d have at most a few weeks of enjoying the feeling of extra free time to do other things before I started going, “Meh . . . I have plenty of time to do that; I’ll do it later.”  (If I’m not careful, I find myself doing this during prolonged writing breaks, so this isn’t a guess.)

Also, for all the time and energy my writing takes away from my family, I do my best to ensure that it gives back at least as much as it takes.  Yes, I will automatically decline invitations to do things if I need to write, but I try to time my writing around those invitations, and do my best to spend more time with my family after I’m done than I might have spent if I hadn’t set time aside to write.  (If you sense some fears on my part that I don’t do this well enough, you’d be right, but I’d rather keep that fear and use it than become complacent on this point.)

But as I read those back, they sound more like excuses than answers, don’t they?  So here’s the real answer:

Having written the above, I emerged from my office and admitted to Lala and L’s mother that I may have backed myself into a corner on this one, and that I was half-willing to give up writing just so I didn’t have to keep struggling with finding a good answer for why I didn’t.

Lala suggested I make a Quills reference, which worried, offended, and amused me in equal measures, but L’s mother faced me seriously.  “Rob,” she said.  “I’ve seen what happens to you when you stop writing; I’m not going back.  Tell them that.”

Well . . . there you have it then.  That’s why.

Nobody Likes A Quitter (Part Two)

May 9, 2013

Case in point:

After writing yesterday’s entry, I was asked if I wanted to go see a movie that night.  My answer of “no” was automatic because I hadn’t finished writing and polishing the page I was working on for that day.  Never mind that the question was being asked for a movie that started some eight hours later, and that it wouldn’t take me anywhere near that long for me to do what I needed to do; the sheer fact that I hadn’t done it yet precluded me from saying yes, and the best I could do was “maybe this weekend” because I hadn’t scheduled myself for any writing over the weekend this week.  (I wish I was making this up.)

To use the vernacular, that ain’t healthy, kids.

To my credit, I realized this not long afterwards, and negotiated a simple “you watch L. for a bit so I can decompress and then write, and we’ll see the movie tonight” deal, finished up my page, and went and saw the movie.  A simple solution, sure . . . but one that ran contrary to my initial impulse, an impulse I wouldn’t even have had if it weren’t for my need to write.

So why don’t I just give it up?

Nobody Likes A Quitter (Part One)

May 8, 2013

Here’s a question no one has ever asked me about my writing and storytelling:  have you ever considered quitting?  (Now I can think of more than a few reasons why no one has ever asked me that question, but I’m going to answer it anyway.)

Yes, of course.

Now considering quitting is far from the same thing as quitting, but on days like today, when I can see so clearly how many places my attention is needed, and it feels like my available time shrinks a little more with each setting of the sun, I definitely consider it.  I have hobbies gathering dust, things to try that I’m running out of “somedays” to try them in, and, at the moment at least, I could get a better financial return for my time investment by doing just about anything else.  My house (the building) could do with more of my attention devoted to it, and, most importantly, my family needs every bit of my time and energy that I can give them, and they would also benefit from me asking less of their time and energy just so I have time to write.

Some days I’ve consider it a lot.

No Problem!

May 7, 2013

Now if anyone out there is wondering what L’s mother’s reaction was to my newfound habit of saying “way” to L.  when he starts his litany of repeating the last word said to him and adding the word “no” in front of it, well . . .

Let me put it this way:

She has most definitely not taken to saying “way” to L. like I have.

Instead, she faces him very maturely, then asks him in a quiet, serious voice if there’s a problem . . .

The Tao Of The Toddler

May 6, 2013

As I implied on Friday, last week was . . . rough.

Several factors contributed to this, none of which directly dealt with L., but last week he was definitely acting in the role of the overarching aggravating factor.(1)  You see, just when I thought I’d adapted to his habit of occasionally responding to anything said to him(2) with “No _______!” last week he put that habit up to eleven.

Now, like I said, he’s had this habit for some time,(3) but last week’s nigh-constant litany of “no,” on top of all my other stressors, quickly pushed me to contemplating a desperate act.

I want to make it clear that I’m not proud of what I did.(4)  My only defense is that I was that desperate.  The first time it happened, it just sort of slipped out, but after that, I just couldn’t stop myself.(5)

Now, every time when the litany of “no” starts to become too much for me, I find myself looking at L. and saying, “Way!” just to hear him respond, “No way!”(6)


(1)  Sorry, son, but it’s true.

(2)  And sometimes not to him, sometimes just in his earshot is enough.

(3) He’s two!  It comes with the territory.

(4)  Amused, but not proud.

(5)  And I still can’t.

(6)  Look . . . sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to get though the day.