Blogging

I’m About to Expose Myself in Public and I’d Like Others to Join Me

Note: The following is an ancient post that I drag out every few years. It’s been modified considerably over time, but the melody remains the same…

 

Before I get to the full-frontal exposition (and it’s not what you think, which will relieve most of you but will disappoint a few), I must make a few confessions.

One: I’ve been a very bad boy. (This will not surprise most of you but will surprise a few.) Over the last several months, I’ve been nominated for a number of blogging awards. As standard practice, I usually (but politely) opt out of such things and carry on with my life. But several of the folks proffered such clever and interesting nomination posts that I succumbed to the siren call and commented that I would “put something together soon”. (Most of you will immediately realize this is a flat-out lie on my part, as I am so haphazard when it comes to follow-through on promised posts, but a few of you might still retain faith in my integrity.) Still and all, I kept a list of those bloggers with whom I had signed a pre-nup.

Two: I have since lost that list. I don’t know what the hell I did with it. I’m sure that, at the time I placed this sacred document in whatever place it now rests, I rested assured that I would instantly recall the placement. This proved to be one of the many fallacies I tell myself. (Many of you will be familiar with this annoying Displaced Parchment Paradox, but a few of my more youthful readers will not, as they’ve never had the experience of writing on an actual piece of paper, having been handed a personal laptop when they shot out of the womb.) End of story, I am now fumbling in the dark with how I should handle this situation. (Many of you will recall this was the same sensation you experienced during your first sexual encounter, but a few of you will deny that you ever fumbled anything, which means you probably voted for Trump.)

Three: I am resurrecting one of the few blog posts where I actually participated in a blogger award. There has been considerable editing, but I’ve added some commentary to get us over the rough bits that are no longer all that exciting. Here we go…

[Cue symphony orchestra to begin playing the overture, with a melody akin to something one would hear during the opening scenes of a nature documentary about how beavers build a dam or some such.]

The Premise:  [Okay, it didn’t take us long to get to a redaction. This section involved me paying tribute to the person who nominated me for a Liebster Award. But this person is no longer blogging, and she hasn’t done so for quite a while.  Some of you will fully understand why someone would stop blogging, but a few of you are still fresh to the game and haven’t hit that point where it sinks in that constant blogging can tear at your soul. Keep the faith and keep writing.]

The Hesitation:  Things like this make me a little squirmy. While I understand that the purpose behind these various “awards” which are lobbed about in the blogging community is to help bloggers grow readership, they are, by default, a bit exclusionary. If I nominate 11 blogs that I like, what does that say to the hundreds of other blogs I follow that I don’t ding with a ping? We’ve all been there. We see one of our blogging friends post that they’ve been nominated for one of these follower-boosting awards, and we excitedly scroll through the list of their nominees. Only to find that not only did we not get a shout-out, we don’t know anything about the other people nominated. The message is painful, especially if you thought the nominated blogger was someone who would surely give you a high-five, and they didn’t.

In a sense, it’s the equivalent of being back in junior-high, where we were first learning how to navigate the complications of social interaction. (Elementary school doesn’t count, at least not for my generation. Those primary years in public school were mainly a whirlwind of figuring out where you classroom might be, where the all-important bathrooms were located, and whether or not you had enough paste in your cache of school supplies to adequately sculpt a decoupage bobble-head of George Washington. We had no concept that we should rank our friends. We only knew that we had friends.) It was secondary school where I learned that people expected you to make choices.

I don’t like picking my favorites. I want everybody to win.

The Reality:  Sometimes we take a tiny thing and make it much bigger than it really should be. (I am fully certified in this particular skill, because my mind never shuts off and I lay awake at night, bandying about the pros and cons of everything I should be considering. Some people can check off a box with relative ease; I wonder why the box was created and why there needs to be checking. Why are there labels? Why are there rules of worthiness? Shouldn’t we all just pass the mashed potatoes when someone asks for them and assume that the potatoes will be passed to us when we need them? There doesn’t need to be a checklist of who is worthy of the potatoes.)

On the flip side, I have been contemplating for some time that I should do a blog roll, wherein I trumpet the blogs that I really like. Doing so means that I have to make choices, cutting and balancing my options (and therefore my friends), something that is anathema to me. But I suppose that I should get in the spirit of things, accept the fact that social-networking is the new “picking teams for Red Rover on the playground”, and just go with it.

  Editor: “Do you have any idea how your neurotic issues are turning a simple blog post into some Greek Tragedy that is blown all out of proportion?”

  Me: “I’m guessing that you were always picked in the first rounds of Red Rover and you never had to be the single leftover who had to sit on the sidelines and hope for another day when somebody might actually call your name.”

  Editor: “Oh. I didn’t realize that there were people who were left out in that game. Are you sure you were playing it right?”

  Me: “And both of those concepts are exactly my points.”

Anyway, (a word that “writing experts” say we should never use to start a paragraph and therefore I do so as often as possible), I decided to take the plunge this time around. I still feel a bit of unease in doing this, but at the same time I know what it’s like to put your heart into a blog post, shove it out into the world, and then tumbleweeds blow by and no one reads the damn thing. So, maybe, I can help somebody out. Let the shenanigans begin…

[This is where I listed the rules for the Liebster Award. We’ve all seen them, and even though I tossed in some absurd commentary, we’re already running a bit long and this is where some of the secondary actors get left on the cutting-room floor.]

The 11 Questions Asked of Me:

[A few of these hit the dustbin for this post.  For example, I woefully made boastful but erroneous comments about the 2016 Presidential election. We don’t need to revisit that pain again.]

1. “What is your favorite book and/or movie?”

I can’t answer this one with a finite choice. There are so many books and movies that are favorites, but for very different reasons. I think I’ll take the easy way out and simply refer you to a post of mine: 51 Things about 49 Movies

2. “Who has been the biggest influence in your life?”

Anyone I’ve ever met who knows the pain of being different, and yet still remains true to themselves.

3. “Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?”

In a place where I can do what I want, when I want to do it, and my best friends are there with me.

4. “Describe your ideal Autumn.”

It’s Halloween, every day.

5. “Describe yourself in 5 words.”

Passionate, Accepting, Yearning, Dreaming, Inspired

6. “What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?”

I’m still waiting for that moment.

7. “Zombie attack or alien invasion, if one had to happen, which would you prefer?”

I survived growing up gay in Oklahoma. I think I can handle either one of these situations with experience and jazz-hands.

10. “Do you have any regrets for 2020?”

Many. This is what makes us human. Well, most of us, anyway.

11. “What did you want to be when you were little?”

The one who actually got to make the decisions instead of the one who had to deal with the ineptitude.

 

11 Random Facts about Myself (Wherein I get a bit more serious about things than I usually do):

1. In my youth, I would go into my bedroom closet, shut the door, turn off the light, and then use a flashlight to read Stephen King novels. This upped the creepy factor for me, and I loved it. (I also used this same method to play with my Lite-Brite, but I soon lost all the little colorful pegs and that avenue became pointless. I stayed with the Stephen thing, though. Well, at least the reading part. I came out of that closet a long time ago.)

2. In that same youth, I lived across the street from another boy named Brian, who was slightly younger. We were known as Big Brian and Little Brian by the other neighborhood urchins. (You know, back in the day when kids actually played outside and you had to use your imagination to entertain yourself and not an online password.) I choose to believe that the “Big Brian” moniker was an acknowledgement of my seniority and not the fact that I was a bit portly as a child.

3. I could spend a lifetime in a second-hand bookstore, wandering the aisles, looking for treasures.

4. I wrote my first book when I was 12, banged out on a crappy typewriter that somebody, I no longer recall who, shoved in my direction as a diversion to keep me occupied. This glowing example of literature was lost many decades ago. I really would like to read that thing now…

5. My concept of ideal fashion involves jeans and a worn-out t-shirt. I’ve never been interested in the packaging, only in the contents.

6. I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in my senior year of high school. Such innocence, then, even on my own part. The hope and the promise, diluted by time. Still, I have embers that will never go out…

7. I love falling asleep to the ocean waves rolling in, incessantly. I don’t get to do this very often, but maybe, someday…

8. If someone asked me to pick my favorite life moment, I couldn’t do it. We are a composite of fleeting images, trickling through our fingers, and it is impossible to point at one thing and say “there, that was it…”

9. I am grateful for people who understand that they are not the only person in the world who matters. I am mystified by the sheer number of people who cannot grasp this concept.

10. Every time I hear the Cat Steven’s song “Father and Son” the relevancy in my own life is overwhelming. (“I have to go…”)

11. There is something about sitting on my patio, alone, late at night, hearing the wind rustle the branches of the nearby trees that speaks to a part of me that I cannot explain.

[This is where I posited 11 questions for the people I nominated. As is my nature, the questions were a bit absurd and the nominees who did respond did not necessarily appreciate the creative flair.]

[And this is where I listed my 11 nominees. Some of them have never forgiven me for doing so, and I’m not going to stir that pot again.]

[By the way, if you’d like to see the entire original post without all the Nixon-tape erasures, you can click here.]

[And then we have a wrap-it-up section, one filled with mea culpas. I apologize to the people I nominated. I apologize to the people I didn’t. I apologize to all the readers who might feel inordinately compelled to click on all the links. Essentially, it’s a frenzy of self-flagellation. The whole section is a little sad, really, but it does remind me that sometimes I try too hard to make everybody else happy. Always be kind, but first and foremost you should be kind to yourself.]

[We end things with one of my typical sign-offs, wherein I proffer the softer side of my humanity to counteract the possible harshness of my previous words.]

Cheers,

Big Brian (The Boy Who Read in the Dark, Looking for Light)

P.S. If you are wondering why I used such a severe pic of myself for this post, let me try to explain. Those who know me well fully understand that this is my generic expression for every situation in my life, from complete euphoria (“We’re going drinking on Bourbon Street!”) to utter defeat (“The toilet is clogged again and I don’t have the strength to deal with it”).  I chose this pic to emphasize the fact that first impressions are rarely what they seem, and we should always dig deeper to get to the heart of the matter…

 

Previously published, updated here and there to protect the ghostly innocence of bloggers who have moved on to other projects. Long-term visitors to Bonnywood with a keen eye will note that certain sections of this piece have been snatched and reused in subsequent posts. After all, the past always comingles with the present at the Manor. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something true…

 

49 replies »

  1. To question #8: I have been happy just to hear my song…

    And the ocean waves… yes

    And the wee hours, alone…outside… reaching out and touching… everything. Yes!

    Your picture says the same thing Older Daughter’s face says… RBF🤷🏼‍♀️ I think I used to have it too. I trained my face to always smile. Not full Beauty Pageant… more Mona Lisa😌

    Liked by 2 people

    • My RBF has been perfected over decades of slight variances, so I hesitate to throw things out of balance at this point. Besides, I’d have to buy a whole new, happier wardrobe, and who has time for that?

      Here’s to outside, alone, at night, listening and touching and singing our songs…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reminds me, I still haven’t marked my blog as being ‘award free’ but, as it happens, it doesn’t matter yet.

    Anyway, I’m still really waiting for one so that I can post the humorous, cutting and vitriolic post about how pointless I think they are that I have in my drafts folder.

    It may be a while.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I should put up a disclaimer as well, but there’s already so much crap on my home page that it probably wouldn’t get noticed.

      If you need me to, I can nominate you for something dubious, so you can clear out your cache. Just be gentle with me…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with how time seems to erode both the followed and followers. Sometimes what starts of as a jaunt into Blogland somehow turns into a slow soul sapping search for clicks ticks combined with the fear of dreaded self-appointed deadlines. When, if (?) it happens, walk away. We owe it to ourselves to say if its no longer fun, f^ck it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The self-appointed deadline is perhaps the most irksome for me in this phase of my adventure. I actually feel guilty if I don’t shove something out there every night, and I need to work on that angle. My neglected books-in-progress no longer recognize me when I open their dusty files…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the deadline… now I’m like that sulky coquette I knew(?) at school; I only put out if I feel like it! But I know how it is, three or four days go by without posting and somethings gotta give. Its not the need to put out anything, but the want to, at that stage. Plus, Orangeade keeps on making me want to scream or decide to make better use of the internal rage. So, write time…
        Give yourself a date to get back to your books-no-longer-progressing. I say well before November 3. After that its going to a month of celebrations or four years of bitter depression. Either way, get started. Brian, Bucko, hit them books!

        Liked by 1 person

        • First, I can’t imagine that any respectable coquette could resist your obvious charms. Shame on her.

          Second, yes, the pressure of the posting is more the want than the need.

          Third, a small part of me is well aware that if The Dumpster is indeed dumped in November, my blog-post inspirations will plummet overnight. I try to ignore that voice and focus on the potential win…

          Like

  4. a brilliant way to resolve this dilemma. I went through this same thing my first year, with the same promises made, and same worrying about it off and on. my resolution was not quite so pretty or funny. I rounded them all up by category, linked to all, thanked them all, and posted them all in one big, and what sounded like braggy, post. I don’t think I even answered any questions or nominated anyone else, but just a list and a big thank you, looking back at it now, yikes! now I just say thank you and don’t act on them .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you. It’s an honor just being nominated… oh wait, I wasn’t. Where’s my straight razor?
    I actually have fun with those stupid things. Although being chosen by me isn’t an honor as my questions are completely bizarre and near impossible to answer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oops. Perhaps your nomination got lost in the mail. Sure, that’s it.

      But I can get behind “bizarre and near impossible”, as I’m always fond of a writing challenge. One of the few things that will compel me to violate my own “I don’t do awards, but thank you” stance is a set of questions that are creative and unique. Don’t ask me what my favorite color is. Ask me about the most unfortunate instance in which I found myself naked or what my thoughts might be concerning people who wear socks with sandals….

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You stirred a list making post writing pot, even if you said you hid the spoon and wouldn’t tell where… I’ll post the link at some point, but who knows when? We all have our moments when we’re reminded that there’s snow on the roof (not yours, not from that pic anyway, and at least you have a roof, whereas some of us (women included) have lost so many shingles that we’re now virtually bald); snow on the roof and our memory and resolve went where ever the shingles did. You inspire. Let it be enough young Jedi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Take your sage words under advisement, I will, Mel-Yoda.

      Speaking of snow, though, I’m getting more and more on my roof. No missing shingles, happy for that, but certainly snow. (And my eyebrows? I’ve got these vicious, thick white spikes that refuse to align with their darker brethren. Think mad scientist, but not in a fun way.

      And now I’m off to see what you’ve done, based on the link appearing under your comment…

      Like

  7. Oh, I remember this one! It’s the one where in your list of recommended blogs, I was FIRST (said with all humility). Thanks for the reminder.

    I also like to fall asleep with the sound of waves rolling in. I’ve probably mentioned before my fantasy of living in a dilapidated cottage by a rocky shore, ideally haunted? If not, I’ll offer that as a random fact about myself. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your response on the original post was VERY cute, and I almost worked that into the latest revision, but I got distracted and forgot about it until after I had hit submit. (True story, really.)

      Yes, we have discussed the cottage, and if I’m remembering correctly, I shared my enthusiasm for such. In fact, I was just commenting with Melanie, revisiting a previous discussion concerning a yearning to work in a Carnegie Library. Perhaps I should combine the two visions? Live in an (ideally haunted) cottage on a shore that is near a Carnegie, where I only work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m going to fall asleep thinking of that tonight…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is beautiful and poetic, and I loved all of it. I especially liked the idea of being outside, at night, listening to the wind. It really spoke to me. Right now I’m outside, catching up on my blog reading – the sun is casting a golden early-evening glow on everything and the birds are singing, and it feels like a perfect moment.

    Also: I know exactly what you mean about second-hand bookstores, and if I’m ever in your area, I’m showing up unannounced and will demand you take me on a tour of all such shops in your city.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! This post, even in its modified form from years of tinkering, is one of my favorites. The flow of it just satisfies me in some way.

      And it’s a deal: When you show up, we will take the Grand Tour of Used Bookstores in the area, starting with a joyous structure in North Dallas, a huge building (I think it used to be a warehouse for a sporting-goods chain?) that is crammed with all kinds of delights. But we’ll need to pack a lunch, because it will take us all day to barely scratch the surface… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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