Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shaving: Chore or Affirmation?

I quite like the idea of writing daily again. Actually daily pages as suggested in the book The Artist’s Way. The idea is to just do a mind dump first thing in the morning. I liked the idea when I read it yesterday, but I didn’t really prepare for it. I should get my laptop all set up on a clean desk with it opened to a word processing program and just be ready to ease out of bed, open the cover and go. But today I at least thought about it. I got up to pee and then while I was downstairs decided to shave, but didn’t shower. Came back up and cleaned off my desk and opened this document and here we go.

Which brings me to the question of shaving. Do you enjoy it? Why or why not? How often do you shave? How do you shave? Razor? Electric? Where and when? Before showering, after showering. In the car on the way to work? What do you think about when you shave? Do you ever look in the mirror and tell yourself, "Man I'm lucky to be alive. Lucky to have whiskers and a razor and hot water. Lucky that I don't live in the age of straight razors where I could do some major damage to this handsome mug." Do you talk to yourself and enjoy the moment in the mirror, or is a more of a chore. Sure, you're using the mirror but only to see to shave, none of this introspective, self-talk, affirmation bs. 

Oh, and to go along with the amazing Steve Walker painting, have you ever been shaved someone else or been shaved by someone else? I'll confess it's happened to me three times. Once by a nursing student who had an assignment to shave a man. I was that lucky man. And twice in a barber's chair. I did it to do it, but unless I really like the barber, probably won't do it again. 

Ok and one last thing for you, Duck. I realize I've written this from a man's point of view, but I'm also interested in the female shaving or non-shaving experience. Every once in a while I'll find a razor in the shower and know that a daughter has decided to get rid of her stubble. If you'd care to weigh in on these questions, please do. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

David Rakoff, my radio buddy

David Rakoff died last Thursday. I didn’t realize until then how much I liked him. But now, I’m searching for online appreciations, for YouTube videos, and looking forward, much more than I think I ever have before, to listening to This American Life this weekend which will feature a full hour with a man, I realize now, was my friend and an advocate of my writing, my coming out, my being myself.

Why couldn’t I realize that while he was alive, so I could have at least written him some fan mail? And said, “Thank you for speaking the truth in such a humorous way. Thank you for being out, but not being out and proud so much as being out and just your genuine neurotic self. Thank you for sharing that talented, caring and cynical self with the world. You made my world better because you were here.”

If I’d have known it would have been my only chance to actually meet him, I’d have probably hung around trying to get an autograph when he appeared at Kingsbury Hall a few years ago. But I didn’t know he was going to die, and I didn’t know how much really liked him until last Thursday, until it was too late.

Or is it? I haven’t read his books. They’re no different now than they were when he was alive. And if I really believe my religion, I’ll see David again. Who knows maybe he’s already met my mom and dad and stepdad and grandparents. Maybe they’ve told him what I could not, “Our bisexual son and grandson, really appreciated you. Your voice on the radio kept him company on a lot of weekends.”

And maybe it’s not too late to learn once again to value people here and now. And, maybe, just maybe, if you love someone, to tell them. Face-to-face.

If you don’t know of David, here’s his Wikipedia bio. And here's a vid of him talking about the difficult process of writing. If you’re interested in hearing more, catch This American Life this weekend.

As I think of David, I find myself hearing an old Bob Dylan song:

While riding on a train goin’ west

I fell asleep for to take my rest

I dreamed a dream that made me sad

Concerning myself and the first few friends I had

With half-damp eyes I stared to the room

Where my friends and I spent many an afternoon

Where we together weathered many a storm

Laughin’ and singin’ till the early hours of the morn

By the old wooden stove where our hats was hung

Our words were told, our songs were sung

Where we longed for nothin’ and were quite satisfied

Talkin’ and a-jokin’ about the world outside

With haunted hearts through the heat and cold

We never thought we could ever get old

We thought we could sit forever in fun

But our chances really was a million to one

As easy it was to tell black from white

It was all that easy to tell wrong from right

And our choices were few and the thought never hit

That the one road we traveled would ever shatter and split

How many a year has passed and gone

And many a gamble has been lost and won

And many a road taken by many a friend

And each one I’ve never seen again

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain

That we could sit simply in that room again

Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat

I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Why do I blog?

A FaceBook thread asks these three questions:

Why do you blog?

I blog for myself, for the discipline of writing for others, to create record of my thoughts, and to address an imaginary person who may or may not become a real person in my life. I also enjoy getting immediate feedback and sometimes delayed feedback when someone finds and comments on something I've written months or years ago.

Do you blog in "real time" (posting current thoughts immediately as they happen, in "tape delay" (waiting a few days or weeks before posting), or both - and why?

My blog is a mix of real time and delay. I try to proof each entry before I push the publish button, but often don't find a typo or some other needed edit, until I do hit publish, sometimes immediately and sometimes much later. On occasion, I will quote from my personal journal, recycling something that seems appropriate. Why? I guess it's because my editor role and my writer roles are somewhat in conflict. As I writer I just want to get it out. As an editor, I care about how it reads. The editor is sometimes the enemy of the writer.

If you stopped blogging, why? 

Still blogging away, although not as frequently as I used to.