what is the purpose of what I write?

Break Time

I’m sorry, am I late? Sometimes I lose track of time…

In all seriousness, I do apologize for the hiatus. It was semi-intentional; the busiest week I have is Memorial Day Weekend, and has been pretty much for the last ten years. This year was particularly heinous, and by Monday, when the thought came “Gray, you should post a blog,” the response was a pretty-much instantaneous “No.

I needed a break. For a few reasons:

  • I needed, for a few days, fewer responsibilities, even from myself;
  • I needed to evaluate if I was just blathering on or if I was saying anything here of value or substance;
  • I needed to discover if I would miss writing; and,
  • I was idly curious if anyone would notice.

The results were, in order: a particularly giddy sense of freedom, undetermined, yes, and yes. Interesting point on the last one, though: while apparently many people noticed, hardly anyone said anything. Two text messages, one oblique, one direct, and one person who, when I said “I’m taking a break from the blog, not sure if anyone will notice,” looked at me and said “I’ve noticed.”

With a non-judgmental smile, because she’s like that. But I was surprised at the effects of the break. It’s true, life is easier when you’re not writing three days a week on constrained topics (if “life” can be considered constrained). It’s also true that now, as I type these words, I feel a sense of rightness and this is what I do.

The question is, am I doing it right?

The Question:

So I ask you, dear readers, what have been my posts that you’ve found most or (let’s not presume) least helpful and/or entertaining? Personally my favorite is “The Keeper of Lost Things.” If you can’t think of a particular title, vague references will also help; one reader told me she enjoys the posts where I have data to support research and logical conclusions (sorry, this isn’t one of those posts). If, on the other hand, you like the armchair ramblings of a nascent Grandpa, let me know.

Basically, I want to keep writing, but I want this blog to reflect value and a purpose, not just making something up because it happens to be Monday. In a sense, it’s like a microcosm for life, I suppose: you reach a point where rather than just going day-to-day you want it all to lead in some particular direction.

You can only wander so long before you eventually end up somewhere.

4 thoughts on “what is the purpose of what I write?”

  1. I’ve read all of your blogs, (for previously stayed reasons) so here we go…

    I loved ‘Keeper of the Lost’, too, as well as ‘The Samurai and the Strawberry’ (though I’m biased; strawberries are my favorite food, period).

    I like it when you tell stories of your past, especially your time in the Marine Corps. I really liked the one where anger pushed you through torture by your Drill Instructor and kept you from washing out. I also enjoyed the one with joke where the Marine told the Commendant of the Marine Corps to go fuck himself.

    In general, I enjoy reading about trials in your life and how much better you are now having survived/overcome them. (‘Rock On’) One entry that comes to mind was the one about your tattoo, how you were going to put a blue ghost on your skin but instead it was a red hero, which mirrored where you were in life.

    I love it when you talk about your grand kids. Whether it’s you trying to use them for writing fodder (‘Loveday’) or just how your life is better with them in it (‘love makes you happier’), I connect more with your words when you write from that part of your heart.

    On a similar note, I cracked up when you told the story of you and one of your daughters in the car. You’d read all the books and thought you were prepared if “the talk” ever came up, only for her to ask, “Why do girls get their periods and boys don’t?” And then you choked and told her to talk to her mother.

    Oh, and the story about the child (was it one of your grand kids?) asking where on the Presidents place mat was the lady President.

    Also, though it was heartbreaking, I still really enjoyed ‘love should be witnessed’.

    And, once again being biased, I always smile when you drop Easter eggs.

    I could probably keep going, but I think that’s enough for you to start.

  2. I like reading your posts. In answer to your post I would suggest reading Seth Godin’s blog post on June 5th about making 5000 posts to his blog.

  3. Your absence was indeed noticed, and your posts missed. I guessed you needed a break (entirely possible), were insanely busy (more than likely) or were ill (I hoped not). Either way, you didn’t need pressure from outside sources to blog, so I kept quiet. 🙂

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read most, if not all, of your posts here. One of three things tends to happen after I read them:

    1) I wonder if you’ve been hanging out in my head when you hit topics I’ve been trying to figure out myself.

    2) I realize you’ve given me something new to think about or a new angle from which to look at something.

    3) I find myself unable to wrap my head around what you’re saying and end up thinking “What the heck was that about?” Fortunately, this has only happened a couple of times!

    Generally speaking, I relate better to the “Practice” posts than the others, although they are all of interest on some level. I appreciate being directed to potentially-interesting TED talks (it’s hard to keep up with them sometimes and I’m sure I miss a lot of good ones). I’m highly amused by your posts on and references to the “gravy hose”. I always find it interesting to hear tales of your varied career life. I will never complain that you talk too much about your grandsons…I have nephews around that age (who live MUCH too far away).

    Specifically, some of my favorite posts include, but are certainly not limited to (and yes, I had to search back to find the titles):

    * Ve’s Top Ten Tips for Dealing with Burnout

    * Invalidate Yourself

    * Pragmatism vs. Protocol

    * Enough

    * The Geek in Hipster’s Clothing

    * Spinning Diamonds and Rocket Ships

    * The Samurai and the Strawberry

    Your blog, your rules…but I’ll continue to be interested in hearing whatever you have to say!

  4. We tend to be a polite bunch. I also haven’t posted in why too long, and my traffic numbers have gone up. I’m trying to interpret that as despite my absence instead of because of it. Which brings on a whole new guilt spiral. Guilt ride. Guilt-A-Whirl. What have you.

    I tend to read your blogs as a way of keeping in contact. Which is wrong, but I tend to take the long way around. As a side benefit I occasionally learn stuff, and it’s a useful interaction channel (yes, I’m at work where I use phrases like that) to pass stuff along. For example, I learned the other night that the voice of Bambi was also a highly decorated Marine and thought, hey, Gray would be interested in that. So, bennies all around.

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