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.]
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…