To whom it may concern

Mom recently said to me that she knows something’s wrong if I’m not writing.  How telling.  True, sure, but nonetheless insightful for its simple clarity.

Fox squirrel (a.k.a. eastern fox squirrel, stump-eared squirrel, raccoon squirrel or monkey-faced squirrel; Sciurus niger) resting atop a fence (2009_06_06_022664)

So yesterday, when my eighth blogging anniversary came and went, I sat on the fence regarding how much I felt like posting about it.  Then the day slipped by, a wisp of smoke grasped and lost in the same moment.  Which didn’t bother me.

Abstract photo of the keyboard of my laptop (190_9006_ab)

Because for months now my keyboard has looked less like a communication device and more like an impassable desert.  I felt daunted as I sat in front of it, unable to resurrect even the most fleeting word combinations from the dark and barren landscape at my fingertips.

Heavy morning dew on a blade of grass (20080824_11348_ab)

Substantial thoughts and ideas, let alone the ability to make them manifest, quickly vanished in the light of day, nothing but morning dew of the mind.

The sun setting behind thickening clouds (20081011_13814_ab)

Yet in the sunset of these ruminations dawned a jarring realization.  Though the past year has held its share of challenges, some of which I must carry with me beyond this eighth anniversary, part of my worsening blog malaise stemmed from a disturbing truth I have to face: in the past year, I broke my cardinal rule by allowing someone to influence—Nay, not just influence, but rather to control what I blogged, even if indirectly.

Why didn’t I post anything about The Kids last year?  Why did my writing degrade into nothing short of mundane documentary, a blow-by-blow, dry, uninspiring mess?  Even though the past several months and their inimical ways share part of the blame, here at the beginning of my ninth year at the keyboard, why has blogging become so intimidating, so resented?  It all boils down to a boy and how I let him indirectly manage my personal journal.

That idea made me angry.  And since anger is more useful than despair, it spurred me forward, urged me back to my roots, forced me to decide resolutely that, like I said five years ago to another friend for the very same reasons, this is my blog, my journal, my home on the web.  If you don’t like it, just go away.

While I still have trials to win and obstacles to overcome, that hangup seems to have stuck in my craw for far too long.  It feels good to finally cough it up.

And to show my resolve in this matter, here’s a picture of the Shadow, al-Zill.

A close-up of al-Zill, one of my cats, as he looks out the window (20080613_06470)

He’s watching things blow away on the winds of change.

— — — — — — — — — —


  1. Fox squirrel (a.k.a. eastern fox squirrel, stump-eared squirrel, raccoon squirrel or monkey-faced squirrel; Sciurus niger)
  2. My laptop’s keyboard
  3. Heavy morning dew on a blade of dallisgrass (a.k.a. water grass or Dallas grass; Paspalum dilatatum)
  4. An autumn sunset at the family farm deep within the Piney Woods of East Texas
  5. al-Zill, or sometimes “the Shadow” and “Little Terrorist”

12 thoughts on “To whom it may concern”

  1. I like your Mom. She knows. I’m feeling the same in a similar way, Jason, but I am not facing the same challenges you are facing now.

    Take a look at your archives and soak it up. Say what you want, when you want. This is your place!

    Mary, huge fan of your photos

    1. Thank you, Mary. Wading through present circumstances notwithstanding, I just want to get back to doing my own thing instead of letting myself be influenced.

      And you’re so right about Mom: she knows. Her mother’s intuition is second to none.

    1. Haha! You’re right on, Scott. I was using the photos to illustrate my primary metaphors, hence putting al-Zill’s photo after mentioning “coughing it up” was intentional, a sly, underhanded insider’s joke.

    1. He’s a very handsome guy, Geek. His eyes are piercing when he sets them upon you. I figure if I’m going to have a terrorist in the house, they simply must be good looking!

  2. I’d like to corner that boy and give him a piece of my mind. You are what you are Jason, and you have a gift with words to express and share your perspectives on the world. I guess you’ve learned the hard way that people who love you don’t try to change what you are. But the great thing about true, gut-deep creativity, is that you can tramp all over it, beat it senseless and leave it for dead, and still the small green shoot emerges to grow again.

    I’m with Mary. Your mom is ‘the biz’!

    1. I don’t want it to sound like manipulation, Clive, because it wasn’t that at all. It was just a case of someone important who hammered needlessly at what I did until I subconsciously began taking that as direction rather than criticism.

      Thankfully I came to my senses: I remembered precisely what you said, that we don’t try to change those we care about. The more I reminded myself of that, the more I said it to him. And in the end, with one of us wanting nothing more than to change the other, it became time to move on.

  3. Jason,

    I soo understand this, sort of.

    ; )

    My blog, also, is edited by ghosts of the past. I ca’;t write freely, without an awareness of them.

    (i hate that!)

    I’m trying to find a way around it, but…

    1. I hear you, Laura. Baggage, as it were, never really goes away; with time, it just stops feeling quite so heavy. It’s like looking over your shoulder as you write, no matter what you write.

      Like you, I’m always looking for a way to get around those influences.

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