Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On Not Writing Well

So, here am again, after another absence of many months. Apparently I am the absentee father of this blog, AWOL much of the time, showing up every once in a blue moon with a toy (piece) that the child (blog) has long since outgrown. "What's the matter," says I, "I'm here now, ain't I? Better late than never, right? Don't I get credit for the effort?" To which the proper answers (oh, if only this blog could talk. Oh wait it can, if I do. Never mind.) are, "So?" "No." and "Hell No!"

The reasons for my absence are many, but they all boil down to a single one: "Ummmm... (scuffles on the ground with one foot and chews lip awkwardly)". Yes I am a real father now, and therefore this blog and my live satire and comedy are kind of like my mistress's kids-- ya love 'em, but you don't take 'em to Little League games-- or, more germane to my situation, to the doctor to see if there's an ear infection. Again.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all ear infections. The child is adorable. He is smart, confident, happy, makes friends easily, has a sense of humor, loves to play, and is supremely comfortable in his own skin. He takes his own time doing everything ( "When will he crawl?" has been replaced by "Will he never stop crawling?"), makes friends easily and charms strangers. If we were in college at the same time I'm sure I'd hate him, or at least talk smack behind his back. But I can't. I'm still gobsmacked by his presence, this new little man, chin jutting, head held high, pointing and going "Ahh-Gah!" to God knows what. And because he is my son, I get to take some credit, rightly or wrongly, for the ebullient miracle that he is. So I tell myself, no way can my mistress' kids compare with this. There just does not seem to be the time, and since for me writing and performing are almost monastic activities, done before just enough eyeballs to prove I am not a fictional character (more than twenty years in, and I've worked my way up to the point where I can proudly say I've become a narrative space-saving composite of several different people.) It has been easy to push this stuff to the back burner. And that's why this blog has been gathering iDust (hey, I'm a Mac guy) for so long.

Which of course is just more convenient rationalizing. I mean, I haven't spent every waking moment tossing him in the air, blowing raspberries into his stomach, playing peek-a-boo (well, there HAS been a lot of peek-a-boo), feeding him super porridge, reading from the classics ("Goodnight Moon" in my hands is what "My Favorite Things" was to John Coltrane). I have gotten so good at not-writing-- anytime, anywhere, in almost any conditions-- that maybe I fear the writing won't be able to compete with the boy, my wife, with working, traveling some, getting out every once in a while. Nothing interesting enough to write about-- or (heywaitjustaminute!) maybe SO interesting that not writing is the only option. If you've been watching this blog waiting for something to happen, how would you know the difference?

But you haven't been waiting. You're probably doing what I have been doing-- reading some other blog. And I have discovered while doing that a lot of posts just like this one. These memoirs of not-writing are like a negative image of addiction stories. We not-writers apologize to people we may have harmed by living healthy, balanced lives. We strive to make amends for not letting our text addiction take over, and promise to remedy that as soon as possible. You have been seeing way too much of me on the streets and bars and pediatrician's offices, but all that's about to change. I am back where I belong, alone in a room or at some coffee house taking up valuable table space, nursing a latte for hours, staring a hole thru the blank grey rectangle on the screen, as the industrious computer thoughtfully saves and resaves the empty space at five minute intervals, my fingers stock still, waiting to pounce on any halfway amusing clause like a cheetah on a baby antelope, my mind desperate for a concept yet blank as a Zen master's. Ah yes, it's good to be back.

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