01 March 2009

Tidbits: Lessons In Humility

Ah, Sunday, another day of rest. In so far as it is possible to really rest trying to keep an eyeball or two or a four-year old with more energy than the Sun. It is a bit unfair to blame all my current malaise on Wee Lass; she is an innocent in all this. Sometimes I think if she were a story the title would be “The Accidental Vampire”.

The primary reasons why I am feeling an overused Coppertop is…well…everything else. Keeping up with the blog and all the great bloggy friends I have made and looking for a “real” job while trying to write enough stuff to jump start a budding writing career and deal with some profound personal changes: all this has depleted my reserves to an all-time low. Life right now seems a bit like watching a really exciting soccer match between two great teams, but not having enough energy to do more than say “yay”. No stomping of feet, no jumping out of my seat, just “yay”.

There are some notable exceptions, a few of which I will share herein, this my randomish Sunday post for the first day of March.


People talk, you hear things. More accurately, people comment, they blog things. Recently, I may have blogged some things that apparently had a deep effect on some nice folks of my acquaintance. They were kind and generous enough to let me know. Witness this from That Baldy Fellow at Nick Nack Blog Attack/The Tales Of Squire Kirk the Elder, on “Books, Unwritten”:

I wasn't going to comment as I can't think of something adequate to say that does justice to this post. But I didn't want to not comment and leave you thinking it hadn't been read.So I'll simply say that it's another post that makes me wish my own writing was a lot better...”

He is a fine writer in his own right, so this was complimentary, indeed!

Then there is this lovely sentiment from one of my favorite bloggy/doggy friends, Henry the Dog at Henry the Dog Blog, on “Taken down a Peg”:

“…To be honest, you're sometimes much too intellecutal for mum and me (and I'm going to leave the transposed spelling of that word 'cause I think it's funny given the context of my comment) and so we don't always 'get' you. But we 'get' you more often than we don't and anyway even when we don't 'get' you - the sound that your words make is nice, like music.

It isn’t everyday that a wonderful little dog can make me all misty, but Henry did it. “Music” he says. The musician in my heart weeps with joy at such a high honor!

And then there was this one, from Jan at Jan’s Sushi Bar, on “I’ll Stop the World and Melt”:

“….I just sat and cried while I read this. No, really, bawled my fucking eyes out. I've got a companion piece coming. Sort of. It's about feeling overwhelmed, anyway.”

The lovely Jan did write that companion piece here, and in it she linked to my post. And if you haven’t seen it yet, READ IT NOW. It is a well-written and powerful (and when I say powerful, I mean it made me tear up) account of confronting some uniquely female issues. If you are a woman, I suspect there will be some “amen, sister!” responses; if you are a man, I sense some enlightenment in your future. Her honesty and candor and deeply heartfelt essay will stick with you. Not unlike some of the tasty-sounding recipes she has posted, mmm, mmm.

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that comments such as those leave me gobsmacked. I am thrilled that people are interested in what I have to write, and I am also deeply humbled that something I have said could have such an effect on people. It is a needed reminder of the reach of the electronic medium we inhabit, and of the potential we have to affect someone else. The computer screen has a way of making us forget that there is someone else on the other side of it. All the fermentations of the brain that we pour into it end up somewhere, whether we remember it or not. I am fortunate and deeply grateful to have a method of effectively emptying the flea market/brewery/dance hall/wildlife sanctuary that is my mind. That there is someone returning the serve I’m dishing up, well, that is tasty icing on a very nice cake.

There a whole bunch of good folks I need to think, and many of them know who they are. I’ll get to you, my pretties, I just need to rest a bit, get some energy back…


Speaking of people I need to thank, I want to direct your attention to the debut of an interesting new website/magazine called The Open Case, devoted to solving unsolved crimes. According to the creators, it is “Part magazine, part social networking site, part private investigator, the site is a cross between Facebook and America's Most Wanted.” That description alone is reason enough to spend some time on site. I do have an ulterior motive, in addition to that. See? Motive? Pretty good for a crime-related site, yeah? Hehheh.

The motive? Well, one of the contributing columnists is a gentleman by name of Rich Shea. Rich is, unlike myself, a professional journalist and writer (and a good one, I can tell you!) and is writing a column/blog entitled “Popular Forensics”. This debut edition for Rich revisits Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”, which is coming up on its 50th (50th!) anniversary later in the year.

I, uh, have not, um, read “In Cold Blood” yet. *shame* It is one of those books that is perpetually on my To Read list. However, after reading Rich’s very fine explication of the book (and the movie based on it) I am inspired to bump it to the top ten on my reading list. I was familiar with the story, but Rich illuminated it in a whole new way for me, one that made me want to read the book and really understand it. It’s a pretty safe bet that you will too. So please, drop by The Open Case and check them out. Who knows, you may have some useful information on one of those cases…

Disclosure: In addition to being a fine journalist and writer, Rich is also my former neighbor* and current good friend. Rich and I have had numerous discussions about writing professionally and all that it entails. We both are also pursuing creative writing avenues, and have shared stories and volunteered editorial time critiquing each other’s works. His advice and guidance have proved very valuable to me**. Seeing as he is a professional and has the credentials to back it up, that is another example of the icing on the cake.

*The reasons he is a former neighbor have nothing to do with me. Really. He and his family simply needed more spacious digs. Besides, the records were expunged, so you’ll never know, will you? Hehheh.
**Such as teaching me the value of disclosure. It can save a lot of hassle in the long run.


  1. You write wonderfully. I wish I could even have half the talent and I profess myself to be a novelist in real life! Truly your posts often touch on things people don't maybe want to think too hard about. But I find that's the beauty of reading your words. They make me think. And that is cool :)

    You should really try to publish your work. It's a dog eat dog business and all that but after that first scary moment of sending it out into the ether to await someone's professional opinion, it does get easier.

  2. Well buddy, you do write well, someone recommended me to you based on my own style (I think the difference is that you write excellence, I write verbiage), and one post was enough to add you to my blog list.

  3. I loved In Cold Blood but then I really love all(ok, not at the very-very end of his career)the author's writings.
    Humility. Me, not always, but sometimes extremely humble, then not again, then really not, then....you get the idea. I only have Pride, Lust, & anger of the seven deadly sins. Covetousnes, gluttony, envy & sloth aren't me kind of things, luckily.
    Hope the writing work bears fruit since I believe that is what you would enjoy most.

  4. One day when your published Irish Gumbo,, I can say I knew you when...........:)

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  5. Oh, bless your heart! Thank you SO much for the kind words and the link!

    I do believe you are in danger of suffering from "blog burnout" - very common when your blogroll becomes a bit longer than you anticipated. Do you use an RSS reader? It can help immensely in keeping your blog reading in check (she says as she sneaks blog reading in while making monkey bread for Sunday brunch).

    I, too, hang my head in shame that I've never read In Cold Blood, especially since Beloved read it last year and loved it and it stares at me from our increasingly over-crowded bookshelves. I'm bumping it up on the "must read SOON" list myself, and wonder if I should give it priority over To Kill a Mockingbird (there's some irony for you).

  6. Oh Irish, I hope you are feeling better soon - being overwhelmed is a terrible feeling.

    Thanks for the links. I loved reading Jan's spin on change... can relate to all of it.

    Happy Sunday,


  7. Well, now I'm blushing a bit. Thanks for your complimentary words on my complimentary words, squire. We might need to stop this befiore we're inadvertently trapped in an infinite flattery loop...

  8. I do believe that you are in what teh I Ching calls "critical mass." I also beleive that all things good will come of it.

    Here's to keeping your spirits up and your pen to paper! You are an amazing writer.

  9. Jan is one of my very best bloggy friends in the entire world. Isn't she fantastic? I love her to death! I'm so happy you linked to her! ;)

  10. I hope you don't get blog burnout, but if you do, just take a short break and come back refreshed and ready to dazzle us with your writing prowess. 'k?

  11. I remember reading Baldy Fellow's comment and thinking. . . That's exactly how I feel! But then I went and said something stupid anyway!

  12. You are a wonderful writer. I think I have told you that more than once.

  13. Irish, my man, you are a wonderful writer and ocean-deep. Henry is an adorable adorable person-dog (so is his mummy of course, but without the dog bit :), and always makes me feel wonderful when he/she writes. I know the feeling you're speaking of...am doing it right now myself. Life is amazing but I don't have that little something inside right now that makes me leap with joy and daily I ask myself, "Is this temporary, what happened to life, will I get it back?" and I just go on and when I feel a little spark again I get hopeful...all things must pass and so too will your down days....hang in there buddy...

  14. Here's In Cold Blood according to the dayton time:


    Get it? I'd keep it on the list.

  15. i read in cold blood in high school for freshman english. i always hated being forced to read books. i should read it again, 'cause i'd totally dig on it this time.

  16. Irish, my God Rex, but you make me feel humble too. I have not a blink of the talent you have, so it kind of makes me feel a bit of a fraud to have you say such nice things about me. I think there are lots of us going through changes in our lives at the mo and we're all feeling it and dealing with it in our own ways. It's all part of the journey n'est-ce pas? Keep journeying with us. xxx

  17. Braja: (smile) Somewhere in my head, I hear the gong that was spunded on the far side of the world...

    Pamela: As a review, that works quite well!

    Mommymae: I bought the book yesterday :)

    Henry: No fraud, friend. Truth :)


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...