A(nother) return to blogging, with rules


It's not so much that I've taken the summer off from blogging. It wasn't a planned hiatus or anything. I've busied myself with learning to run, learning to golf, reading (27 books this year and counting – not a 52-in-52 pace, but a book every 10 days), beginning to plan a wedding and continuing the fight with the back yard (finally starting to win that one).

And now I'm sitting at my keyboard, at a writing station I set up yesterday. You can't see the poster on the wall in front of me; it's a signed "Illustration for story on boy and a fox" from Jim Trelease, the noted children's author. The poster is from some time in elementary school when Trelease came by the school to read.

I was a reader then, but primarily I was a math guy. I would memorize baseball statistics, and when my next door neighbor, Andrew (my age but a Catholic school student), and I would shoot hoops in his driveway, I'd calculate percentages in my head.

Yeah, I was that kid. Two-for-11? You're shooting .182. Always in three digits, like a batting average.

I don't remember the story about the boy and a fox; I'm sure the library or Wikipedia would help. It's not that important.

I've carted this poster around now for thirty years, and, while it hung in my bedroom growing up, it has since been in the room where I've wound up doing my most creative work.

I've never been very good at discipline, and if you ask my mother about reminding me to practice piano while I was a child, practice hasn't been high on my list, either.

This summer, though, I've learned that a little discipline and a lot of practice can go a long way. For the third summer, I've thought that burning the yard down and starting over would be the best way to go; the way I'd have to go. But I can see the progress of steadily putting in the work (if you were to come by for the first time, you'd be horrified, but if you'd see snippets in the evolution of the yard, you'd know what I meant). It's taken (and will continue to take) discipline, but I think as we head into winter, the yard will be in good shape to be fully repaired in the spring.

I've also learned the value of practice. I went from being able to run short sprints or not at all (seriously, 3 minutes on the treadmill and I was done) to being able to run for a half hour, even on the street. I've also taken my golf game from 150 strokes to 110. For those of you who aren't golfers, that's still not a competitive game, but it's essentially halfway to par (which is usually in the 70-72 range, depending on the course). Practice has taken me down 40 strokes; I fully expect to be consistently under 100 by the end of next summer. We don't have a year-round season here, and I suppose I'll lose some strokes over the winter and need to regain them in the spring.

So, I've been busy. But writing is important to me, and I need to get in the habit of practicing, of writing, if not daily, then certainly three or four times a week, which is about what it's taken me to advance from no running to being able to run a 5K and still have enough in me to make dinner and go to work.

The rule I'm setting for myself with blogging, then, is a post every Wednesday. The time will vary, largely because my work arrangements are non-traditional and thus my sleeping patterns are as well. It will also give me the opportunity to (unlike with this post which I'm just spitting out as a launch into accountability) write, edit, rewrite, juggle multiple ideas and, should the need arise, move one post up the ladder more quickly if it feels more relevant.

It will also let you know when to expect new material. I'm not saying I won't write more often sometimes, but if you come back every Thursday morning, there will be a post from the previous day.

Have a great week. See you.


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