Sunday, May 6, 2018

Censoring myself, or not

"And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
But in his final words I found
An ace that I could keep."


I wrote two posts last week and I published neither.

That's a first (and second) for me. Until now, I have always published what I've written.

I mean, this is a blog, right? A web log, a journal, a diary if you like. It's not supposed to be literature. It's a brain dump of whatever I'm thinking about, which will at some times be more meaningful, more interesting, more thought-provoking than at other times.

One of the not-posted posts was about events that took place in my life twenty years ago. A pivotal time, yes, but I already wrote about it, in March and April of 2013. Why I keep going back and poking a stick at it, I don't know. It was a time of great changes for me, steps taken toward a happier life, when many positive things happened. But it was also a time full of emotional extremes, wild joy and deep sadness, sleepless nights, guilt, remorse, hope, and possibility. But must I continue to revisit what is past and done, in some compulsive, recherché search for lost time?

The other post I didn't post might have been called a short history of close friendships. I've written about that before too. It's a thread woven throughout all my self scrutiny. Once more I lay bare all my insecurity, self-consciousness, loneliness, isolation, uncertainty, self-deprecation. I write about it, I think, to explore and understand that part of me, as though through words I can find the seeds, the roots, the implements to weed, the toxicology to fumigate. But no one wants to read about it again, including me.

Blogging, the way I do it at least, is totally self-indulgent. I write about myself, my life, my thoughts, my fears, doubts, successes, failures, me, me, me. There are blogs that are impersonal, topical, objective, partisan, touting every shade of perception, on every subject from politics, to health, entertainment, technology, gardening, sports, on and on, ad infinitum.

There are also blogs like mine, what I'd characterize as a sub-genre of memoir writing. Some have a general theme, some examine a unique attribute of experience, some are about ordinary lives like mine. And I have to admit, I like reading this type of blog, if it is thoughtful and well-written and broad-ranging and not a rehash of the same thing all the time. And I like writing and I write about what I know and what I think and what I feel, and I do it for my own benefit. Because I don't flinch from sharing my ponderings, on the off chance they strike a consanguine chord in someone else, I make it public. Because I'm not sure anyone cares, I don't actively promote it or seek readers.

Yet because I'm sensitive to a possible random reader reaction of, "why would this be any of my business?", I try to be relevant, amusing, provocative, poetic, meaningful, stimulating, and inspiring. Not all of the above, all the time, obviously, but I shoot for something more than a progress report on a to-do list. I try not to censor myself too much or too little, but I do try to recognize when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

Sometimes I know what I want to say when I sit down here. Sometimes I just want to put down words to illuminate for myself some feeling or emotions that is flitting at the edge of my awareness. Sometimes I start out with a vague sense of direction and where I wind up is a total surprise to me. Often it's just a stream of consciousness that may lead nowhere but often circles back around in some revealing way. I'd like to be more intentional about writing but if I wait for an idea to be fully-fledged, there'd be a lot more crickets.

It amuses and bewilders me that I regularly get comments on my posts, mostly from what I assume are bots. They are benign and generic and I'll admit I am sometimes tempted to publish the less obvious ones to create the illusion of a readership.

Here are some examples.
I blog quite often and I seriously appreciate your information. This article has really peaked my interest. I will bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

Hi there very nice site!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I'll bookmark your website and take the feeds also?

Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your article seem to be running off the screen in Opera. I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I'd post to let you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Cheers.

I am satisfied too seek out a lot of useful information right here in the put up, we need develop extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.

The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

I don't know whether it's just me or if everybody else experiencing issues with your blog. It appears like some of the written text in your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This could be a issue with my internet browser because I've had this happen before. Thanks

These are in fact impressive ideas in regarding blogging. You have touched some pleasant factors here. Any way keep up writing.

My partner and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page yet again.
I'm not sure about the comments regarding my formatting, since I am using a standard Blogger template and my posts look fine on on Chrome and Safari. But all the other comments strike me as impersonal, rote, not genuine. Although I can't for the life of me see what the writer hopes to gain. Unless it is like one of those click farms, maybe a commenting site for hire and to hide the fact that the comments are on the same sites over and over, the comments for hire guns make a certain number of random comments, sanitized to have no relation to actual content, i.e., one size fits all. In which case, if true, the comments about my formatting are downright hostile.

So, I just did a little social experiment and downloaded the Opera browser. My formatting looks perfect, fuck you very much. Tossers!

Anyway, I will keep writing because I like writing, because I think I'm not terribly bad at it, because I think I have something to say, if I can just drill down to what exactly that is.

Today is a lovely day here in North Carolina, just north of Charlotte. Neil is playing softball. I might go watch him later or I might stay here in my soft pants. I might make some beads or give myself the day off to rest my arm. I might start writing a book (but probably won't, not today at least). I might take a walk. I might read and think some more.

Those are the things I do.

On a warm summer's evening
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin'
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us
And he began to speak

He said, son, I've made my life
Out of readin' people's faces
Knowin' what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don't mind me sayin'
I can see you're out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I'll give you some advice

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his faced lost all expression
He said, if you're gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep

And when he finished speakin'
He turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette
And faded off to sleep
And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
But in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done.

(Don Schlitz, Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC)


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