Obviously, with 2,800-plus journal entries since September 2004, I usually have no trouble coming up with topics and words about said topics. I don’t quite have the diarrhea of the fingers (gee THAT’S a bad image) of many journal keepers – I’m certainly never going to be the John Doe of the online world (plus there’s that whole I-don’t-kill-people thing, either) (*hums some Howard Shore music to make it clearer this is a Se7en reference*) – but I find stuff to say. Even got something of a small following thanks to it. Certainly friends: people who’ve met me through this journal have become real-life people I hug, and as I’m not a hug-random-people sort of person – though I do like hugs – that’s a sign of happy, grateful affection. And that’s thanks to the words I write leading people to meet me and finding they like me as a person, too.
Just as I try to be a mild, even-keeled, fair person, I try my best to be a mild, even-keeled, fair writer. Plenty of times I’ll avoid writing an entry because I realize some blocking thing: I don’t know enough about the subject to write well about it, or I haven’t thought through the logic of an argument to a supportable conclusion. Put it this way: I don’t like being caught talking out my ass. That, to me, is
And honestly, sometimes I don’t write things because I don’t like pissing people off, or getting them spun up angrily. I wanted to rant about something yesterday – and no, I won’t say what – because I felt it would or at least could needlessly anger a friend of mine. Said friend didn’t need reminding of this topic. I do that because I don’t like getting spun up angrily. An angry Chris is a less thoughtful, less funny Chris. I can’t rant entertainingly. I haven’t developed that skill. It’s why I listen to almost no talk radio: much of it becomes this echo chamber of ranting anger, some of it righteous, much of it not. And listening to too much of it makes me angry, and again, there’s the me-being-less-funny thing. (So I’d be a lousy host.) I really like Rick Emerson, but at times I have to take what I call “intensity breaks” from him and his show, and that’s even with liking a lot of what he has to say. Sometimes just the one hour a day I can listen to Rick right now (on my lunch break from TriMet) is enough to prompt an intensity break. I come back to his show, because he and I are on similar enough mental wavelengths that he makes me think and he makes me howl. (Plus our taste in women greatly overlap, to the point where I’m a little surprised when we don’t agree on someone’s attractiveness.) Rick’s a little more subdued and less ranty on his TV gig Outlook Portland (Sundays at 6:30 a.m., Channel 32 Portland’s CW, there, pimping’s done) but he still shows his thoughtfulness, and he isn’t forced to completely dial down his personality the way Daria had to on her last TV gig. (She did short bits for PDX 49. She seemed to be on Quaaludes. She is not meant to be that calm. At least not on-air.)
And there are less supportable reasons for not writing something: misplaced performance anxiety. Worries that I’m not going to be interesting enough. Thinking I’ve gone back to a particular subject too many times. (So write about something else! See? Problem solved!) Even worries that I’m going to be too flat-out weird and make other people worry: Why is he thinking stuff like that? But even the weird thoughts can be valuable: I e-mailed a friend recently with some of the stranger thoughts I’ve had lately, thoughts I won’t share here, and he appreciated the weirdness. He’d been having a slight crisis of confidence when it came to his work, and I wanted to cheer him up, and weird thoughts fit the bill. They helped. I hope they’re still helping.
This is a reminder post to me: Just Write. Here, elsewhere, maybe in a paper journal again like I’ve done sometimes, definitely more for Geek In The City. Bottom line: I’m a better person when I’m writing than when I’m not. It’s that simple. That wasn’t always the case, but A) that was one time a while ago and B) it’s an embarrassing story. Maybe I’ll tell it sometime. Or maybe I’ll just remember it personally as A CAUTIONARY TALE, telling myself Chris? Remember being that way? Don’t be that way..
There. That helped to process some things. On to the next thing.