Give me something thoughtful and I’ll give you something thoughtful in return.  Give me dreck and I’ll reply in kind.

I don’t mind thinking.  I like to reflect.  I enjoy debate and exchange.

My interests are broad, but my knowledge is not deep.  I know a little about a lot but only a lot about very little.  That can be a dangerous recipe for foot-in-mouth disease and I admit I’ve been tripped up a few times.  Once I presumed to give a birthday tribute to a jazz fancier, throwing out references to Chicago nightclubs and New Orleans roots, forgetting that there were two very knowledgeable musicians in the audience.  It didn’t go well.

However, give me a topic and I’ll run with it.  References and associations keep popping into my head.  I’m a great Googler for following up or verifying facts or tracking down my leads.  I toss out bread crumbs hoping that someone will pick them up and recognize rye from pumpernickel and appreciate the baker’s skill.  Maybe someone will have the same “Eureka Moment” that I had when the light dawned for me.  That is the hope.

Writing a piece is like shopping for clothes. It’s a process I don’t particularly like, but once I make up my mind, I’ll go at it furiously, grabbing this and that, regardless of style or even fit. Only later do I consider the appropriateness or suitability of what I brought home.  This is the edit function.  Somehow, I can only think of the right thing to say long after I should have said it.  That’s where writing has a distinct advantage over off-the-cuff speaking.  You have time for fit and finish.  You can work and rework something before you subject a listener or reader to what you’re getting at.  Even after I’ve committed it to paper or post. I’m back at, reviewing every letter and punctuation, phrase and indentation. It takes a long time to get it just right.

I used to be painfully, pathologically shy.  Speaking in public was sheer torture spawned by early childhood terrors brought about by my mother’s ambition for a boy-soprano in the family.  I was the only son so I was at bat. Years of voice training lead to the competition circuit and subsequent encounters with crippling stage fright.  It was a traumatic time. Twenty years on, I found I could express myself in the written word.  I’m certain my mother was shattered.  The years and a certain greying at the temples led to a degree of respect and growing self-confidence that allowed me to rise to most occasions and mumble a few words.  But writing was still my preferred medium of expression.

At first, I dabbled in juvenile, maudlin poetry, (blank verse, no caps, no punctuation, etc.).  The topics were juvenile – my naive idea of Romanticism.  High school English teachers were encouraging but tolerant. Looking over what I have recently published in my blog, I don’t seem to have progressed much.  Then, some time later, when faced with what I considered an existential crisis, I wrote a thinly veiled hint of self-harm (suicide).  That got some attention and ultimately, rescued me. 

But writing was the key.  I could express what I couldn’t say.  Pen and paper became my lifeline.  And the rest as they say “Is History”.

So please, no dreck.  Just substance.   I won’t be offended.

Dreck

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