Thursday, October 31, 2013

Words, language, tone, I would agree with you but you are an ass...

Okay, so the title to this blog is more of a list, but that's what you are in for right now.

I always pay attention to words, word choice, meaning, all of that good stuff. It's not a shock to you that I do this, it is part of who I am. And it also is the source of much frustration at times because I'm not sure why no one else is paying attention. For instance the word entitlement. Did you shudder? It's gotten a pretty bad rep from people on the conservative side of our (meaning the USA) political spectrum. Oh those entitlements! How dare people feel they are entitled to that! But did you know what an entitlement is? I'll give you a hint, its synonym is right. You have a right. It's your right. How would you feel if the Second Amendment fell under the Bill of Entitlements, would it change your thought process about it? A right is something you are legally or morally entitled to. Entitlements and Rights. Same thing, thought of completely differently. Just because of the tone people have used when saying one over the other.

Rights! This is my Right! And the angels sing and the inspirational music plays! I am entitled to this! This is my entitlement! And the wa waa sound is made and the crying baby is heard in the background. But they are the same thing. It's just how you've been conditioned to hear them.

And what happens if you are in a discussion with someone who doesn't hear things the way you do? I was listening to a story about coal transportation this week. Basically one group wants to be the port to ship coal to China for their use and one group opposes it. Job creation versus environmental protection is how it's being framed. If the port is set up for transportation then people will need to work there, but the concern is if the trains are running coal through the town and in to the port the resulting coal dust is going to be an issue. It's more complex than that but I'm not here to debate this point, I want to get to an argument I heard and the absolute confusion of the two people arguing. On one side was a woman who stated it was an issue with people being able to do what they want with their own land. On the other side was a man who said it wasn't her land to decide what to do with. Even though the tracks ran through part of land she owned.

So I thought, now that's a group that would never see eye to eye. Those that believe you can own the land and those that believe you cannot. Why do you own land? Because someone sold it to you. But how did they have the right to sell it to you? Because someone else sold it to them. And how did they have that right? And eventually you get back to to beginning of someone deciding that since they were there first it was theirs. Or the government saying you get this piece of land, now it's yours. But if you really believe that the land was here first and cannot be owned by someone, and really how ridiculous to think you can own the land you are sitting on, do you own the air you breath? The rain that falls on your head? The sunbeams? The wind? Land rights versus the sense of entitlement that because you were there first it's yours. (see what I did there with rights and entitlements) And I have to admit I would be in the I own it camp. Though I can see how silly it is for me to think that I do, when I die any land I own might be passed along to future generations but they will just be borrowing it as well.

So we have words and the fact that they mean things but we don't pay attention to what they really mean. We have concepts that mean one thing to you and another to me like ownership.

Oh and here is another one! What if you are talking to someone and they say something that they think is really negative but you think it's great? I had one of these the other day. A friend shared a status from someone else "What one generation tolerates the next accepts." What do you think of that? Is it positive or negative? It struck me as a good thing. My generation started down the path of tolerating gay people. C's generation accepts that sexual orientation has nothing to do with what sort of person you are. Toleration to acceptance in one generation. Woo hoo! This is excellent! But they looked at it as a negative. If you tolerate bad language in your generation then bad language is the accepted language in the next. And that sort of thing. Hmmm...okay. I can see that. But I viewed it as a positive progression instead of a negative one.

Oh! And there's another one, progressive. I had someone spit that at me like it was an insult. You are a progressive! Well thank you! I really do try. Much better than being regressive and preferable to being stuck. I also don't think it's insulting when people call me out on changing my mind on an issue. I have changed my mind on a lot of issues. When you know more your opinion should change. It can be more evidence that you were right in the first place so you feel on solid ground, or you might find out that you were wrong. It's the people who are resolute and never change that I worry about. What are they doing with all of the new information coming their way on a daily basis? It doesn't make you a hypocrite to change your mind. Being a hypocrite is saying one thing and doing another.

And what about tone? Or even accents? How does that add or subtract from your understanding of people? Brent and I were watching an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives the other night and they were in Albuquerque. The woman who owned the restaurant had a solid Albuquerque accent. Her sentences ended in a lilt, it's not a lilt like a Southern thing, but we almost sing the ends of sentences back home. It's not something I really noticed until I had been gone for awhile. And vowels are different. I turns into E. Instead of a Philly sandwich she made a Pheely. She did say sandwich instead of sangwich though...


I don't have much of an accent. I didn't even when we lived there. My parents are Midwestern, my siblings were older when they moved so their accents are more in line with my parents (warsh instead of wash). But when I was hanging out with my friends there were phrases that were just said with a certain intonation that is pure New Mexico. Eeeeee, orale, umbers...And phrases..I know, right? That's directly descendant of It's all bad, no? Those are the changes I've made over the years. I've dropped the all qualifier. I've changed no to right. Sometimes if I'm trying really hard you can hear the difference between pin and pen when I say them. But if I am home for any length of time my bags all become begs, my rights become nos and my Rs start to roll...

Okay, on to the last part of my random blog.

Voice. You've got your words and your tone and your meaning and your accents. What about voice? I mean this for writing specifically. When I write something I write in my voice. People that know me can actually hear me when they read. They know exactly how I sound and I write like I talk. My non-fiction voice is strongly my own voice.

I had three voice issues this week. One was in a fiction book. The author writes in first person. Which seems like it would be easy and it can be, except if you are switching between characters. This was the last book in a series and for the first two she wrote from one character's point of view. For the last she switched between two. She had a reason for it, I won't get in to that this isn't a book review, but it really bothered me. The reason was she hadn't given the second character a strong enough voice. He was the same as the other. So I would be reading along in a chapter and forget whose head I was in. They were too similar. If you are writing in first person your voice has to be strong. I can never forget who you are.

The second was a non-fiction group of essays. It was a closet book. These are books I have collected over the years that I am "getting" to. Finally this year I decided if they aren't read by January they are out of here, so I've made due diligence in clearing them out. Well anyway I'm reading this book and I don't like the author. He's spoiled. What is supposed to be amusing, I know it is, is coming across as pretentious. And I'm starting to wonder why in the heck I have this book of musings from someone I obviously don't like. Then as I was staring at the cover the author's name finally worked its way through my files and made the connection. David Rakoff.  David Rakoff. I love him. He was on This American Life. Very amusing, dry, funny. Okay, well now I have his voice in my head maybe I will like these essays more. I was obviously reading them with the wrong tone. But no, I could never capture the bemused, dry, witty, cadence he had in these writings. They still came across as pretentious and spoiled. I felt a little like I was betraying his memory, but his voice was just not there for me.

And then sometimes someone's voice is so strong you can't get past it to get to their message. There is a blogger/radio personality out there that drives me crazy because of this. I've read a lot of his posts because he appeals strongly to a demographic that is well represented on my friend list. And I try to make sure I am reading things people post, at least until I understand what I am going to see. If I know it's going to be something I won't be able to tolerate due to experience I skip it (Bill Maher and Ann Coulter for instance) and this guy is quickly falling in to this camp.  Because see, even when I agree with his main point I cannot bear his blog. His voice is that strong. And his voice is condescending asshole. He's pretty sure he has the world figured out (though he does the whole false modesty shit A LOT) and takes some pretty strong stances on things that are not as black and white as he would like them to be. He dismisses personal anecdotes from other people while holding his own experiences as infallible. It's hard to take.

Oh he's just snarky people say! Well, snark is tough. Trust me, I have experience here. (And all the readers go no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no...) The problem with snark is that if you present it as fact you come across as an ass. If you decide that you are right and any one who disagrees with you is obviously a brain dead sheep you are an ass. If you are completely unwilling to accept that the world is a complex place and there are very difficult things out there that people are dealing with because you are fine and you made it okay then you are an inconsiderate ass.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted a blog of his where he mentions in the blog he doesn't understand why strangers who read his work think he would be an ass in real life (paraphrasing). Umm, dude, read your blogs.

So this brings us to this week. He posted about something that if I had been given an outline of I would say, Yes! I agree with this person! But then I read the blog and could feel my jaw tightening. I had to tell another friend that I am glad that he is getting a message out there (basically we shouldn't look to medicate our kids for being kids, and being a little different than the crowd is a good thing) but I just wish it wasn't done in his way. Because I found myself tearing apart his argument by the end of the blog. And I agree with him! But the way he presented it? Too strong of a voice.

And how often does that happen in real life? I had a job once where I swore I needed to add interpreter to my job description. Because I would sit in our conference room while our owner would say one thing, another member of our staff would say the SAME thing just in a different way and they would argue over who was right. They couldn't hear each other over their tone, or voice, or preset thoughts. So I would have to say, well, I think that...blah, blah, blah is a great idea. And they would both recognize that blah, blah, blah was their own brilliant idea that I was backing and everyone would leave happy.  Well except for me who was left in the conference room pounding my head against the table...

And that brings us to the end of my list of random thoughts about communication that have been bouncing in my head all week. It's kind of amazing that we understand each other at all isn't it?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

T minus two and counting...

Quick NaNo update time!

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out a new software system for writing. It sounds really great and I am sure it is, I just couldn't really figure out how to effectively use it. I think part of it was the tutorial was a bit overwhelming. A lot of information thrown at once. I will go back in tomorrow and see if I can make it work, and if I can't then I will just use Word like I had planned. But the main thing was while I was messing around with that I settled in on Practical Magic as the book I am going to write.

The other piece I decided on was to take the little short blog stories I have already written and expand them as the start of the book. The first one or maybe two will be the introduction chapter, then chapter one will start with Deeds at school. The first part of the book will lead back up to that first glimpse you get of her and Aska. I've already decided to make some changes and am treating those first stories as outlines.

The schedule thing seems to be a good plan. Though I didn't follow it today. Skipped the workout and messed around this morning, well if you can count the annual drape and scrape as messing around, but anyway I flipped the schedule, errands in the morning, writing in the afternoon a day off from working out. I don't plan on a lot of those in November, the days I have appointments are the end of the month and I am hoping to have reached goal by then so the schedule will be tweaked at that point anyway.

Workouts are good. Sitting still for a few hours at the computer is easier to do after a workout. I'm not so twitchy. Though I am at that tipping point of "why did I let myself get so out of shape? I will NEVER let this happen again!" and "holy shit I am so out of shape, everything hurts! I should NEVER workout again!" I'm pretty sure I'll tip the right way, but if I don't you have my blessing to push me.

Back to the schedule thing, writing in the morning is good as well. I've noticed as I sit here writing this blog and thinking about the other blog that I want to write I am MUCH more distracted than I have been. I think I just need to get the focus oriented things out of the way early in the day.

And that's that for the update portion of our day.  Tomorrow should be a straight up ranty/rambling/randomy blog. I have a lot of different ideas that sort of tie together in a theme so expect that. Then....dum dum dum....NaNo starts...  Eek!

Monday, October 28, 2013


And here we go. Day one of setting up new habits and schedules and such. NaNo starts on Friday but as I mentioned earlier starting something on a Friday just seems like a bad idea. Especially since I am not sure yet how much I will actually be writing on the weekends. So today was the start of setting up new schedules.

And me being me I decided since I was setting up a new schedule anyway and I need to get back in to a consistent work out routine again I wove the two together. So as of right now my mornings are breakfast, Brent to work, workout, shower, writing. When lunch time rolls around I will break for lunch and if I have put at least a few thousand words down I will move on to the rest of the day, chores and then reading or watching something on TiVo. If I haven't then after lunch I come back in and write more. Exercise, discipline then affection. Yep, I'm treating my new schedule the way Caesar Milan trains a dog. Because it amuses me. Well that and I'm not likely to push off reading but I will push off a workout. Do the harder stuff first so you have the treat waiting for you at the end.

The number count part will start on Friday, the first few days this week are still prep work. For instance this morning I re-read the Practical Magic story to see if I could really turn that in to a book. I have 3,000 words invested in it already do I have 50,000+ more? Also I started that story as a lark. Something to post only on the blog and only as the ideas came to me. If I use it for NaNo I will be taking it off the blog and putting it in to a book. Or at least trying to. But on the other hand if it works out that I write it and still don't think it's something to send to a publisher I will have weeks of things to post in the bank. I'm not completely settled on the idea of writing that story for NaNo but I'm leaning enough that I've added Aska to my spell-check.

The biggest habit to make (break?) will be not being online when I am writing. That's the discipline part. No Facebook or email running in the background. No quick dashes off to to read about something. Actually sitting down and focusing on my writing. So far I've made it 45 minutes without checking my notifications. Go me!

Right now I'm also deciding if I just give up on my inconsistent blog posting for November, knowing that you all understand I'm here, writing, I'm just not posting, or if I try to make sure that I fit in some time for some writing that doesn't count towards words and goals and is just head clearing or fun. Most likely I'll post here keeping everyone up to date on how it's going. I have a feeling I will need the head clearing. And the venting.

All in all I think that November will be good for me. Getting back in to a schedule will be fun, at least for awhile, and if I can get that workout ingrained again I will be a much happier camper. I'm always really happy when a workout is done.

Okay, off to take notes on PM and see if I can get a few more ideas for a few thousand more words!

Aska and Deeds and Cal await!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

So who thought this was a good idea anyway?

Okay, well, Friday is November 1st. That means NaNoWriMo is upon us. Or me. Or us. Or whatever. Words. Bah!

Yes, that's about where my brain is right now. The reality of what I am doing is sinking in. Schedules. Deadlines. Discipline. I'll take Things Denise Doesn't Like for $100, Alex.

So anyway as my brain is giving me 1000 reasons why I should bow out now I'm fighting back with the one main reason to keep doing it. To show that I can. Which, as most of you know, is usually my reason for doing anything challenging. I've got this.

Because Friday is a stupid day to start something (reason #478) I'm actually going to sort of start on Monday. Not writing the novel part, that would be cheating, but writing for a set amount of hours. So there will be a few blogs up next week. Probably nonfiction but maybe a little fiction might leak out. Only if I can't possibly turn it in to part of the story I will be writing for NaNo, but it might happen. That has been one of the main realizations I've had heading in to this challenge, my entire schedule needs to shift. To get the writing done as well as the other things I want to do I have to go back to managing my time. And for someone who hasn't worn a watch since C left for college that's saying a lot.

Here's the real kicker though, I'm still not sure what I'm going to write about in November. I had settled on an idea, the sort of short stories I do most of the time just all tied together with recurring characters. Those of you that have read this blog for awhile know I've had these people in my head for awhile and thought about doing this so this would be a good time. And to be honest I felt that would probably be the easiest. Those stories come to me fairly regularly. I could just fluff them up a bit and be on my way. So after spending a few weeks making notes and plans to do just that I thought... wait! maybe I want to go ahead and go back to that science fiction fantasy story I started on here ages ago and then just left to wait.

Blame Susan for putting that idea in my head.

But the sci/fi/fantasy story actually does have the makings of a real structured novel. Not just a thread of short stories tied together. So maybe I should go ahead and do that instead. But what if I don't get any more inspiration on that front? I know the story I want to tell there I just have never really been able to figure out how to get there. Maybe this is the kick I need to get that world out there?

Words. Bah.

So for the next few days that will be my challenge. Figuring out what I want to do for the real challenge. And calming down the gremlins in my brain. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

People let me tell you about my best friend...

Gary picked at the line down his pant leg. He wasn't sure why he had let the salesman at Men’s Wearhouse talk him in to the permanent crease. He didn't even like a crease normally. But he had heard the magic words, “It will make you look taller” and he had fallen for it. Which is ridiculous, how could a crease in his pants make him look taller when he would be sitting down most of the time while wearing them? Oh well, now he was stuck with the crease. First world problems right? Or as his friend Anne would tell him, “Take a spoonful of cement and harden the fuck up, princess.”

Gary closed his eyes for a minute. Deep breath. He could and would make it through today. He hated speaking in public. Hated it. Hated dressing up. Nothing good had ever followed when his mother told him to wear dress shoes. He still believed that to be true. Dress shoes meant endless church services, funerals, weddings, diners at fancy restaurants. All things his 12 year old self rebelled against. And as an adult you could add job interviews, meeting the parents and public speaking to the list. Nothing good ever followed putting on dress shoes, except maybe the time you could take them off again.

Driving across town Anne filled his thoughts again, which often happened when he needed to do something difficult. What would Anne do? They had met when they were 6. She had been in Mrs. Carter’s class and he was with Miss Angel but they were put together in the same reading group. They were Gold Star readers. He had been really proud of this; until Anne pointed out that he was a good reader because he had no friends to play with while she was a good reader because she was smart. Anne wasn't trying to be mean; she was just stating a fact. He hadn't had any friends and so spent all of his time reading and she was very smart. He liked that she told it like it was, not only to him, but to everyone, teachers included. From that day on they were best friends. And because of Anne he ended up with a lot of other friends. She drew people to her like moths to a flame.

It was hard to explain why exactly. She wasn't who you would picture when you thought of popular girls. Gary’s mother had said that she was the most sober-sided child she had ever met. And it’s true. She wasn't bubbly, or perky, or overly friendly. She didn't have any sort of sense of whimsy about her; clouds never looked like anything but clouds to her. But still, there was just something. She always had an idea of where to go, what to do. She had a strong sense of not only who she was but who you were as well. You couldn't hide from Anne. She would tell you exactly who you were if you tried. And Gary had relied on that strength for as long as he could remember.

When they were 8 they had decided that it would be a good idea to catch tadpoles for a “science experiment.” Basically the experiment was could they catch tadpoles but they still treated it very seriously. They spent a week gathering their equipment, scouting the perfect pond location, getting a crew of adventurers together and giving everyone their assigned parts. Of course it all fell apart once they got to the pond and the excitement of scooping up the swimmers in jars took over. Ten 8 year olds wading through the muck and mud with pant legs rolled up not quite far enough, gloves abandoned in the grass because wet gloves couldn't grip the slick mason jars. It was probably the best morning of his life so far. The plan was for each of them to have a jar of tadpoles and then watch them for a week and then release the frogs back out in to the pond. That was the plan anyway.

An hour later standing in Anne’s living room, dirty feet on a white rug, explaining to her mother that she was going to keep a jar of tadpoles, well two jars because Gary had a cat and they knew Sebastian would never leave the swimmers alone, two jars of tadpoles in her room for a week then they learned the one part of the plan they didn't have worked out. Parents. Calls were made and they all ended up back at the pond releasing their hard fought catches a little earlier than planned. And then Anne and Gary spent another hour cleaning up the footprints they had left on the carpet. But it had still been a great day.

And Anne learned from that mistake and from there on out plans were worked through with parents in mind.  Sometimes that meant swearing everyone to secrecy so they wouldn't find out, but parent’s likely reactions were always taken in to account.

Always a plan. And always the next plan percolating. When they were 24 they ran a marathon. It took a year of training for Gary to go from occasional runner (late for a train, maybe a game of touch football in the park) to marathon ready. Running in the heat, running in the rain, running when he wanted to do anything else but run. But he did it. They did it. Crossed the finish line with decent times and then she looked at him from the corner of her eye and said, “You know a 50K is only 5 miles longer.” He threw a glass of water at her.

Gary pulled in to the parking lot and took another deep breath. Showtime.

Standing in front of the group he smiled and then started his speech.

“I got two cards in the mail this morning.You know the type? The ones you buy because you have to? The off the rack type, where you go to the section you need and pull the card out, then you put a little personal note inside to make sure the person you are sending it to understands that you were really thinking of them. I’ll spare you the premade note and just share the personal touches. The first one said, ‘When you see a rainbow, think of Anne’ and the second one said ‘Cry me a fucking river, asshole.’ 

The second one was mailed two weeks ago and somehow took its sweet time getting to me. See, I had a cold and had been whining about it to my best friend. Because that’s what we do when we are sick and not feeling well, we whine to our friends. Of course when your best friend is dying from cancer you can see how she might respond to your complaints of a stuffy nose.

I thought at first that the second card must have gotten lost in the mail, but then I realized that more likely it was Anne’s plan that I would get it today. Her way of making sure I made it through this speech. Made it through this day. Just a little reminder that now it’s up to me to be the strong one. To be the one to tell people who point out rainbows,‘You know calling them rainbows is sort of dumb.They should be called refraction circles.’ I can hear from the laughter that some of you had that conversation with Anne. She was one of a kind.

Thank you all for coming today. Thank you for being here for each other as we try to figure out the what nexts without her.

As we remember her, as we mourn her, as we move on without her in our daily lives I want to leave you with another Anne story.

When we were in high school she and our 10th grade English teacher got off to a rocky start. You all know how Anne could be, she was smart, she knew it and you should know it as well. She was also easily bored. One day early in the semester Mrs. Gilbert tried to trip her up. ‘Anne, what are your two favorite words?’ Anne instantly came back with, ‘Priapism and defenestration.’  You could see the glee in Mrs. Gilbert’s eyes. ‘Use them in a sentence.’ See, she just knew that her smart aleck student was just tossing out words that she didn't know to look cool. She didn't know Anne. ‘He had always thought defenestration would be the worst thing that could happen to him, then he discovered priapism.’ Of course by this time we were all madly looking up both of those words. Anne won.

Anne almost always won. 

Almost always.“

Gary took another deep breath and walked back to his seat.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Write, write, write....

Okay, I did it, after much back and forth I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I first heard about it a few years ago, though I can't for the life of me remember who was trying it out. I thought at first it was my friend Shay but she said no, and then when I thought about it I realized no way would she do it, she would have to slow down her production too much. Last year I forgot about it until halfway through November and so that wasn't going to work. This year another friend was peer pressured in to signing up and posted about it so I thought...well...hmmm....maybe?

For those of you who don't have any clue what I'm talking about; NaNoWriMo is a little contest of sorts that happens every November. The challenge? Write a novel of 50,000 words in a month. You sign up, you submit your completed work at the end of the month and you win a...umm...a certificate I think? For me it's all about the "can I do it?" this is the biggest writing challenge I've ever given myself. You all know I do mini challenges on here from time to time, blog every day, write a certain number of fiction pieces, submit something to a publisher. But this will be the first time I commit to anything of that length.

And it terrifies me.

Because I have just about reconciled myself to the fact that short stories, micro stories practically, are really my sweet spot. That's how they come to me. That's how I write them down, one quick blergh all over the page and then move on. But yet...

There is still a part of me that wonders if the one or two longer story possibilities I have bouncing in my brain could come to fruition as a full length novel? Granted one of those ideas is really a series of short stories all tied together by the characters in them, but still, it's a long term concept. And maybe it's time to give it one last push.

November as a month to do this sucks. Thanksgiving, the boy is home for a week, but I have no other real time commitments so there is nothing to stop me from writing extra during the first three weeks and just finishing up that last week right? Fifty thousand words in a month breaks down to 1,666 a day if I wrote every day, 2,173 if I don't write for the 7 days C is home, 2,500 if I write 20 days out of the month (weekends off) and so on and so on... I've thought a lot about it. And about all the ways to talk myself out of it.

But a few things made me decide to give it a try. One when I first posted about it I drug my brilliant friend Dana in to the mix. And she's going to try. And she has two kids, a job outside the home AND still will find time to write so I can't really beg off on time. Second when I posted and drug Dana in I had other friends who decided to give it a try as well and seeing them give it a go makes me think I can. Third my friend Nadine put it very well when she saw me post about it and said, "Do it. It's time to stretch yourself and your abilities, woman." And then the last piece came when I started debating whether or not to try my friend and happiness guru Dr. Brian King posted the following as his status: "The only obstacle between you and change is the fact that it's hard. Are you that eager to admit defeat?" I always say when the universe starts talking to you, you should probably listen so...

Oh fine! Fine!! I will try it...

So what does this mean? Well it means that for the next few weeks I will be planning my November writing. I KNOW! So odd for me, I never outline and plan and shit, but if I am going to do this I feel like I really need to. I also will be shuffling through my schedule and doing some trial runs on how long it takes me to write a good chunk and still get things done I need to and want to. Schedules and planning and me. What could go wrong? But it's supposed to be a challenge right? And challenges are fun. Especially at the end when you get your gold star. I do love a gold star.

But still...right now 50,000 words is a bit daunting. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Oh look it's a blog!

This morning as I worked my way through my Facebook feed I stopped to read a few blogs from friends. I have one friend who is off on a big adventure doing volunteer work in Thailand. Another who writes beautifully about the challenges of parenting, catch this post quick it's already going viral in a big way, you can say you were one of the first to read it. And another who is giving a sneak preview for his sermon on Sunday. Quite the collection, and this was just today.

I love reading what my friends write. I have a few people out there that write fiction. A few that write about specific topics, parenting, marketing, cooking. And even few who take my "totally random" approach. It's interesting to see. It's a great way for me to see how people I haven't seen for years are doing. And what they are doing. And how they are coping.

I also read a few professional bloggers. The Bloggess for instance. And the blogs from a few published writers. Those are interesting as well. But in a different way. Even though it's still insight in to what is happening and their view of the world there is that point of separation, it's not a personal connection. Though it does make you feel a little bit like you "know" the person writing. Which I imagine would be weird for them if they meet their readers in person...


I wonder when people stumble on my blog what they think. Especially the people that I knew when...

I know reading Kerry's blog (the aforementioned minister) I hear his voice. Or at least his 16 year old voice. Which amuses me. To imagine a 16 year old leading a congregation. But it fits. And I'm glad he is doing something he feels called to do. We grew up together, I'm a few years older( a FEW!) and I'm glad he still finds the comfort in the church that I didn't. Though I have to say, reading his blog I think his church would be a mighty fine one to attend.

Reading Amie's blog (adventure!) I see her and hear her. Our friendship is newer, has it really been 10 years?  But it's completely her to do this sort of thing. I have enjoyed reading about her vacations in the past and her sense of "what next?" and this is just a great next for her and her husband.

Donnie and I have been friends since middle school. Reading about his challenges day to day caring for his daughter India as well as maintaining a great relationship with his other children has been inspirational. As well as knowing that this great loving father that I read about isn't that much different than that rowdy kid I knew back then. He's still there, telling horrible jokes, being more than a bit off color, but still being the best dad facing the biggest challenges any of us could have imagined.

So what do others think of me? Am I presenting who I am to the world through my writing? I like to think so.

Last year I was talking with a friend and he said I can get a bit ranty. Just a bit. But that it always seems to come from a place of wanting people to understand a different point of view. So if his impression is correct then I'm giving you exactly who I am. A bit ranty with a different point of view.

And totally random but...