Tag Archives: Online Writing

The Writing Itch and a Love Song for One

I've got the itch.

I’ve got the itch.

I woke up today and thought to myself for the first time in my entire life: I can write a book.

I’m not saying anyone will read it.

I’m not saying it will be good.

I’m not saying I have any good ideas. I don’t.

However, I can write a book.

I believe that because of what I’ve been able to do here. It’s a productivity thing. I’ve been averaging north of 1,000 words a day for close to a half year. You can fill a couple books with that many words.

There are people in this world—amazing, creative people—who splatter good ideas all over the place. These are how successful businesses are made. How great movies and television shows are made. How the most delicious food is made. And how the best books are written.

They start with ideas.

And that’s kind of a problem, because…

I Never Have Good Ideas

Case in point: My 10-year career as a newspaper reporter prior to my layoff in late 2009.

I could write a decent story when news was happening. Piece of cake. Event X happens. I write about it.

Same’s true of this blog, really. Some life event happens. I write about it.

Easy. Don’t have to think about it. Just tell you what happened and how I feel about it.

With the news, I just had to tell you what happened.

But some days, I had to come up with “enterprise” stories. That means, I have to dig. Find an angle on some random thing and manufacture a good story out of it. Those were my most-challenging days.

The same is true here with my daily blogging efforts. If I don’t have something specific to report on, I have to come up with some enterprise idea. I try to resort to what’s top of mind, when in doubt. To document the journey as best I can. And this is what I’m thinking about.

I Want to Love Myself Again

I stood in the shower first thing this morning. Hot water stinging my neck.

I thought about something I read before bed last night about how a man changed his life by making “I love myself” a personal mantra. By truly learning to love himself again after the rigors of adult life had stolen his innocence.

And then I got to thinking about how shitty I feel sometimes. About how I felt awesome as a kid. Every day. Even with my parents divorced. Even being alone a lot.

I felt great. I was sad when people died. I was sad when one of my best friends moved away. I was sad when I had to say goodbye to my dad after summer and winter visits. But I was also resilient. Bounced back quick.

I smiled. I was positive. I was kind. I was friendly. I loved.

I loved my family. I loved my friends. I loved myself.

Then adulthood hits. Christmas stops being magical. No one cares about your birthday. You lose touch with all your friends. You don’t go to huge parties with a hundred people anymore. You don’t get the same attention from the opposite sex that you used to. Your hopes and dreams begin to die as you watch other people achieve things and wonder what they have that you don’t.

You make bad choices.

The sins pile up.

Your insides get poisoned.

And then you frown a little more. You laugh a little less.

You darken. On the inside.

I’ve spent most of my adulthood believing this phenomenon happens because we have the wool pulled over our eyes as children. We’re innocent. We don’t know how ugly the world can be. Most of us—the really fortunate ones—don’t experience extreme tragedy and hardship as children. Those moments tend not to arise until we’re wading through adulthood. We thought we’d have life figured out once we got here.

Then we arrived. And we feel less ready than ever. Less confident than ever. More unsure than ever.

The clock ticks a little bit louder now.

Tick, tick, tick.

The bottom of the hourglass constantly filling, reminding us that time isn’t on our side.

Then we feel sad.

Angry.

Depressed.

Lonely.

Unfulfilled.

We search for meaning.

Believers ask: Why me, God?

Some believers stop believing because of this. Why have you forsaken me? I guess you’re not really there at all.

Non-believers say: I told you so. Nothing matters.

Some of us die hopeless and alone.

But not all of us.

Because maybe I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. Maybe the wool wasn’t pulled over my eyes.

Maybe I just really loved myself as a child. Respected myself. Took care of myself.

I chose good over bad. I was physically fit. I got plenty of sleep.

I had friends. I felt purpose going to school. I had goals and hopes and dreams.

But mostly, I had love.

Meant to Be More

I think I stopped loving myself after my layoff.

When I would lay around all day, unshaven in sweats and a t-shirt watching TV with my two-year-old son at home while my wife went to work.

It was a new kind of worthlessness.

I don’t remember how long my wife put up with me, but I should be grateful for whatever amount of time she did.

How could I expect her to love and respect me when I didn’t even love and respect myself?

I came close to getting it back.

In 2011, I started eating right and working out every day. I lost 30 pounds and became physically stronger than I’d ever been before. People would always compliment me when they saw me. That’s always an amazing feeling.

My confidence soared.

I was offered and accepted a job in June 2011, right around my son’s third birthday. I was now making significantly more money than I’d ever made before, plus I had income from my freelance writing business.

I thought I’d finally beat back my demons at that point. Everything felt really good. Back on track.

And then in October, just a few months later, the bottom fell out again when my father-in-law died suddenly. We had dinner with him. He was the same amazing guy and grandfather he always was. Then we left. And got a phone call the next night.

Then my life spiraled out of control.

I lost everything that mattered to me when my wife walked out the door on April 1 of this year.

I fell hard. And I’m still on the floor. I just fake not being there sometimes.

And I was reading that book last night before falling asleep. I love myself. I love myself. I love myself, the guy repeated over and over and over again.

He faked it for a while.

But then the message finally started to sink in.

I love myself.

He started to believe it, because we can trick our brains.

I love myself.

Then he started living like he loved himself.

Took care of his body. Took care of his mind. Took care of his soul.

Because he loved himself. Genuinely.

And then everything changed.

He felt happy again. That really pure happiness we feel as children. Not fake happy. Not drunk happy. Not drugs happy. Not sex happy. Not money happy.

Real happy. And then all the other pieces of his life fell into place, too.

This idea makes sense to me. You say we can’t go back? We can’t have what we lost?

Maybe we can. I’ve never bothered to ask. I’ve never bothered to try.

What if life didn’t ruin us? What if we just stopped loving ourselves the way we did when innocence was all we knew?

And what if starting again is how we get to where we want to go?

Can’t hurt to try.

It’s okay if it feels corny. It’s okay if it feels fake. It’s okay if we don’t believe it.

Because if we just say it enough times, we’ll start to believe it: I love myself.

An Idea Machine

That’s what I want to be. A guy who has ideas. So I can write something that matters.

And to have ideas, I need energy. And to have energy, I need to feel good. And to feel good, I need to love myself.

I like the hot shower first thing in the morning. Some of my best thinking happens there.

I want to work out. I want to look and feel good.

I want to be good even when no one’s watching.

I want to be a better friend, father, son, grandson.

I want to be financially responsible.

And then.

I want to write a book.

I’ve always wanted to write a book. For many years, my ultimate fantasy was to sit in a movie theater watching a film based on something I’d written.

As I aged, becoming more interested in the things that make human beings do human-being things, I began to gravitate more toward non-fiction.

I like simple stories. Few characters. Emotional heartache. Forbidden lust. Poisoned hearts. Ruined lives. Healing and forgiveness. Redemption. Or stories of greed. Deceit. Or simple comedy.

I like complex stories. An EMP attack. The world goes dark. Society breaks down. It’s everyone for themselves. What’s a husband, wife and two kids to do? When the cops don’t come. When there’s no more grocery store. Or pharmacy. Or hospital. Or military defense. Or anything.

I like ongoing stories. Like great television shows or novels with reoccurring characters.

I like books that offer solutions to problems. Books that help human beings become better versions of themselves.

I need to pick one and try. Because I finally believe I can do it. And that’s a big step.

But first I need energy.

Physical fitness. Spiritual wellness. Reduced stress.

And I’ll get that by treating myself with the love and respect I feel for those who matter most.

I love myself.

I want to take risks.

Take my shot.

Choose myself.

Because I miss that happy kid from all my old photos.

And I intend to find him.

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Writer’s Block

I need this to matter. For someone. Because I don't know how to write for just me. That might make me vain. It definitely makes me needy.

I need this to matter. For someone. Because I don’t know how to write for just me. That might make me vain. It definitely makes me needy.

I lose sleep over it.

Writer’s block.

Because this project matters to me. Other than my son and job, I don’t dedicate energy to anything like I do this.

I’ve grown to love it. I might even need it.

As more people begin to pay attention—some I know, most I don’t—the pressure mounts. To punch these keys in such a way that provides value for those of you kind enough to read.

And that right there—is where I try to stop myself.

Because my goal here has always been to simply work through this unexpected new reality in which I find myself.

Divorced.

Alone.

Scared.

Depressed.

My journal. To explore who I was, who I am, and who I want to be.

And if telling these stories—stories told with honesty—can help just one human being feel better about themselves or rethink their life choices a little bit, I’ll have done something meaningful.

It’s a wonderful fringe benefit of being honest with myself—having people tell me that these stories matter to them. That honesty matters.

I feel a little better about my life each day now.

I credit friends and family.

I credit God.

I credit time.

I credit you.

I credit this.

What Is This Thing?

And now this exists. This… thing. This place where I write. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what it can be. I don’t know what I want it to be. But I know it needs fed.

And I know I want it to matter.

I want it to be relevant.

I want it to be cathartic. To write and to read.

I want it to entertain. And inform.

A small, positive contribution to humanity, regardless of how many people ever see it or ever care.

I just need one.

Just one shitty husband to change his life—to actively choose to love his wife and save his family.

Just one lost soul lying to herself and everyone around her to start choosing honesty. To choose the truth and feel freedom free from the shackles of living a lie. To really start to feel alive—outside the shadows, with nothing to hide.

Just one young man to learn from the sins of my past and build a strong foundation with the girl he loves to create something lasting. A relationship that will produce beautiful little children who will get to find out what family is supposed to look and feel like. The blueprint for marital success. So that they may grow up making positive choices and being part of generations of people who contribute positively to this planet.

It only takes one. One brave person to influence somebody so profoundly that this new person develops the courage to do the same.

The ripples take effect. And good spreads.

I’m not strong enough or smart enough or credible enough to be the influencer. I don’t know a goddamn thing about what it takes to be a good person, or the meaning of life, or what happens after we die, or how to feel peace when you lay down at night.

I’m an absolute failure at marriage and at always doing the right thing even when no one’s watching.

But I AM brave enough to try. To shine a little light on my skeletons. To try to reach that person who IS strong enough to instill change in their life and the lives of others.

In the hopes that some other husband doesn’t lose his family. That some wife doesn’t have to be afraid. That some innocent children aren’t poisoned by the anger they had no part in creating.

I’ll never know. And that’s okay. Because I have a good imagination. And that’s my fantasy. That one story can make a difference for one person who can REALLY make a difference.

Now What am I Supposed to Write About?

Before, there was scandal. Sex. Drama. Anger. And sadness.

I actually cried writing at least three of these posts. Maybe more.

I understand why people read that stuff.

But, what now?

As the scandal fades. As my anger fades. As I transition from Total Freakout Spaz to Typical Divorced Single Dad Guy, is any of this going to matter?

What will I write about?, I wonder.

I’m scared to lose whatever relevance this has.

Things will come to me.

Old, embarrassing stories. Things I remember from my marriage that are applicable to the idea that we all need to be giving more and taking less.

New stories about dating whenever I get around to trying that again.

Stories about my son as he continues to grow and evolve and experience life and the human condition now that he’s being exposed to all of the challenges that school brings—academically, socially, spiritually.

Even though I want this to be a healing mechanism for me—a way to grow as a human and as a writer—I’m absolutely guilty of wanting to keep you.

I don’t know how to write for nobody. And I don’t want to know what that looks and feels like.

I wrote once about The Fear of Losing What We Love.

And now I’m afraid to lose you. To lose this. Because this is the first and only good thing to happen to me as a direct result of my wife leaving.

Now, I feel like I need you.

I’m going to write a bunch of self-indulgent crap once in a while. I think this may even be self-indulgent crap. But it is sincere.

I’m going to write a bunch of nonsense once in a while. I’m nothing if not juvenile. But I want this to be bigger than that. (*wink*)

I’m afraid of so many things in this world. Some big. Some small.

And that fear is paralyzing. It prevents us from trying.

This—the words on this screen—is me trying.

This is what I know. All I know.

And I hope it’s enough.

Not for me. I’m never satisfied.

Not for everybody. I’m just not tall enough.

But for one.

Just one.

Maybe it’s you.

Hi.

I need you.

And so does everyone else.

Go be great.

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