Journaling every day isn’t for me even if I might want it to be. It becomes a burden when forced and is only meaningful when something is burning to escape from my brain to my fingertips to the page. This observation seems appropriate given that I’m just now making my first entry of the year with nearly a month gone.
Journaling proponents I’ve read advise putting pen to paper for a more tactile connection to your writing. Since I learned to type well years ago, I’ve never been able to return to longhand writing. I like the speed with which I can type my thoughts before I “lose” them, the ease of making revisions, and the neatness with which sentences appear on the page compared to my slow, messy writing.
I also have the urge to publish nearly every thought I put down, like some sort of public record that will be here when I’m gone to prove I existed. Most people prefer to keep some thoughts private, but I have the idea that our most private thoughts—the ones we wouldn’t want anyone to see—make the best writing.
Is it weird to think about your high school football coach when you’re 52? Don’t answer that.
I used to think my coach—a legend in our small town who brings to mind the country song lyric, “I’ve got some famous friends you’ve probably never heard of”—was above the mystique of being Wayne Jamison. He didn’t care about all that adoration.
He saw himself as a teacher of the game who’d rather be left alone to play golf after the final whistle blew than talk about what just happened. His postgame interviews were brusque, and he avoided interactions with parents that might influence decisions about playing time. Ironically, his very aloofness created a curiosity about him that contributed to the attention he tried to avoid.
I think I was mostly right about him, but after he retired and began attending games and sitting in the press box, I got the idea he actually did enjoy the large shadow his image cast and took pride in that field that was named after him. He liked being Smiley, the four-time state champion with the quirky personality and even quirkier offense.
Until I gave it some thought, I preferred my earlier, idealized image of him being above petty concerns. Later, I came to appreciate him as an ordinary human being like the rest of us, except that he was a damned good coach who resisted the temptation to make a simple game of blocking and tackling any more complicated than that.
He drove other coaches nuts trying to solve the mystery of Bridgeport football when there really was no mystery. He just drilled his teams in the basics until they did them really well—a lesson I’ve applied to weight training and to life in general.
If anything, his stature as a giant in our community should be enhanced by his humanity rather than diminished by it. He fought the same battles we all fight yet still managed to positively impact so many lives. And really, why was I so uptight about the man evolving beyond the grumpy coach persona in his later years and being pleased with the way his life turned out?
Maybe, like his brand of football, I was searching for mystery in him where there really was none. Well, perhaps a little, like the way he could call a timeout when we were reeling, stroll into our defensive huddle in an oddly reassuring way that promised he was about to right the ship, tell us to watch for a certain play after the timeout, and then, like magic, here came that play into the awaiting buzzsaw, just like he said.
|I'm smiling uncomfortably because I am... uncomfortable that is. Get me out of here!|
But what if I have to be at a meeting at the exact moment I’m having a revealing thought about an article I’m writing or may write? If I rush to the meeting, that seed of creativity is lost, perhaps gone forever.
To hell with the meeting. No one is going to remember I missed the stupid meeting. They won’t miss the article I didn’t write either, but not writing it will eat away at me.
Am I the only one who feels this way? People sure seem uptight about time, and I often feel alone on an island with my thoughts.
Good, but just give me time to have them.
Richard Hugo’s The Triggering Town
Indisputably, Tom Brady, Tool, winter, western films, and weight training are all better than any five things you might name. No really, Tommy actually is the best and if you can count to seven you know that in your heart even if you don’t like it. The rest might be opinions, maybe, but that one’s just a simple fact, Jack.
|Better than whatever you like, factually.|
|Also better. He'd shoot your boy scout superhero in the face.|
I think the government should stay out of our lives, but in a society where we all have to live together under certain rules that might inherently favor some over others, I also believe in government safety nets as a helping hand up for those who may fall behind trying to play by these rules invented by other imperfect people. I can barely articulate that. I certainly have no business trying to argue it.
In the end, all arguing does is drive a wedge between us. Even if we say a disagreement is forgotten, it’s not. We remember little pieces of each, and these pieces add up. We didn’t even have a real argument and you’re a little pissed at me about Brady. Eventually, we’d rather not bother talking with that argumentative person because the talking just leads to more arguing.
|I know you're mad, but I can't even.|
I guess some weirdos actually enjoy arguing. Some of them probably even went to law school with me (file that folly under lessons learned the hard way). Beware of their traps lest they draw you in and drain your creative energy in their pointless vacuum.
If one makes a genuine effort to avoid arguing and other boorish behaviors, then what’s left to talk about besides trivial events like the weather or what we’re having for lunch? Lunch is safe. Since I like everything indiscriminately, I’ll even agree with you that whatever you’ve chosen is an excellent choice.
Enough already! How about sprinkling a bit of genuine honesty, vulnerability, and emotion into these snoozefest conversations?