Sometimes people ask me to describe what kind of writer/blogger I am now and my gut response is always better than I was before.
That is the goal, the objective, the hope and the idea that the 10,000 hours I have put into writing shows proof of improvement.
It would be sad and disappointing to suggest that I used to be better than I am today because it implies that either my skills have slipped or I don’t care enough to provide good content.
Sometimes I wonder if I have suffered from any sort of burnout because that is the one excuse I can live with. After all of the time I have put in and the life changes there would be legitimacy in saying I have less interest because I burned the candle at both ends.
I don’t base my success or improvement on readers or engagement though I suppose I could. Most of the long time readers have dropped off and even SQ isn’t a consistent visitor to all the joints any more.
If it were a professional endeavor I would have real questions that need to be addressed but I would have different benchmarks and metrics.
I have different answers for when I started writing and when I started blogging because the latter came far later than the former.
A few people have mentioned there are a growing number of flecks of white in my beard. When I began writing there wasn’t any facial hair at all upon my lips or chin though I anxiously waited for it.
In eighth grade a number of us hopped on bus and took it towards Central California to attend a writing convention and a write-off.
One of the guys in my hotel room passed out condoms that he took from his Dad’s dresser just in case we needed them.
I put mine in my wallet and figured that it being there might be a good luck charm and that maybe the idea of it being around would help with that follicely challenged lip.
It is impossible to say what role it played but not long afterwards I reached a point at which I could start shaving…occasionally.
Many decades later shaving is kind of irritating and you could say my lack of interest in giving it time is partly to blame for why people have the opportunity to notice how the black hair is fairing against the invasion of other colors.
The kids used to ask me if I shaved my legs because they aren’t particularly hairy. For a number of years now my son has enjoyed being able to say he has much hairier legs and chest than I do.
I point out that if he could grow a real mustache he could have a cool beard but that lazy lip just doesn’t want to fill in.
Maybe that has changed and it fills in now, I haven’t spent any time trying to figure out. We have had many conversations but I haven’t focused on that aspect of the man he is becoming.
Note to self, that last part is kind of dad bloggerish and so are the posts in which I have written about my baby going off to college.
That is particularly exciting and particularly strange because it marks a big change in life.
It jumps out at me further because someone made a comment and tried to explain what it meant to me because they didn’t think I was old enough to follow it.
When I pointed out they are less than five years older than me they were surprised that I knew their age and said they figured I was around 45.
Made me laugh a bit because that is a long chunk of years behind me, not that I mind because 45 was a particularly bad year.
In a short time there will be multiple people from out of town coming in to witness and celebrate my daughter’s high school graduation.
And of course there are a half dozen things that crept up unexpectedly that are significant irritants and hassles to contend with but that is how life is sometimes.
Kids asked me if I was concerned and I shrugged my shoulders and said I have been through far worse because I have.
They weren’t here during that first year back in Texas when all hell was breaking loose. There were some very dark moments and I remember looking in the mirror asking the reflection who could possibly talk to us that way without repercussions.
The answer is no one but me.
I wouldn’t let it go from anyone but we are all our own worst critics and there is no bigger devil in my life than the one that sometimes breaks free from his chains.
He knows all the tricks and every soft spot and was particularly adept at digging his fingers into them. Those flecks of gray, the lines and some of the other stuff all comes from those moments and a few others.
Wasn’t anyone here to ask for help so it was all me and I handled it. Beat every bad day I have ever had…for now.
One day that record will come to an end but I am ok with that because we all lose to time sooner or later. It is a natural thing.
The goal for me is to be able to say I lived a hell of a life and to have a short list of regrets because I will have either come to accept some things or know that I did all that was possible to move heaven and earth.
One of the coolest things about writing is that it is not tied into keeping your body at its peak level. Don’t mistake that to mean you can abuse it and do nothing to take care of it because that is not what I am saying.
Nah, this is related to sports and acknowledging that the fifty something year-old version of Josh isn’t the physical specimen that he once was.
And even if I took every step and every measure to wind the clock back I won’t ever be him again. That is kind of depressing and disappointing in a way but science hasn’t figured a way to change that.
I can still train with heavy weights and get back to where I once was I can’t do it as easily as I once did and it is so much harder than it used to be.
But put me at a typewriter and I don’t have to worry about whether my joints can take the pounding I want to give them. I don’t have to put in rest days unless it is to rest my mind.
And that mind, well I like to believe it is sharper than ever and that wisdom gained by life experience provides more opportunity to produce better and deeper content than before.
At least that is the hope, the dream and the theory. The application and truth of it still lies in the eyes of myself and others because so much of this is subjective.
What kind of writer/blogger am I now?
The kind that writes.