Thursday, December 16, 2010
Conflicts of Interest
Yesterday's blog about Music in Other People's Blogs had a very interesting comment in it from my friend Elizabeth, who writes A Moon, Worn as if It Had Been a Shell, and forgive me if I screwed up the capitalization on that, E, I never know if I am supposed to leave it all small, but then it doesn't look like a blog title (even though I used to have Blogzilly be all lower case...but I digress.)
Anyway, regarding my request that bloggers who write blogs, when they embed MP3 Players into their blogs, allow the readers who come to their page the option to hit play rather than have the music start immediately upon entry, Elizabeth said 'OH MY GOD. Thank you for saying this. I HATE it so much when I go to a "musical" blog. It drives me insane. But I'm just too polite to ask -- I'm glad you're a rude guy.'
I laughed. And of course she meant for me to.
But it did get my brain to churning about something I have been meaning to write about.
That blog entry, or the one with the letter to Santa, or The Blog That Almost Was regarding the Holland Essay, or a lot of the other things I have written about, like my problems I had at the ER a while back (the poopy thing), for example, probably wouldn't win me any popularity contests and certainly would not get my blog nominated for any Mommy Blog awards.
And I do, honestly, a lot of the time, sense a division between myself and various aspects of the Special Needs community. I could just be paranoid. I know one friend of mine who would say 'DUH' to that. Because I also sense a division between myself and MANY communities.
I can't explain exactly what I mean.
Now...I have some of that already just because of who I am. Like Elizabeth said in jest I say in seriousness...I can be a fairly rude guy. I'm not always...a palatable person to many people. I curse, I talk about poop and pee and erections and boobies and other uncomfortable subjects that many people find offensive.
I understand that aspect of myself.
It's been that way...well, for as long as I can remember really.
A good friend of mine in high school, and I did/do consider him a friend, lovingly once said to me 'Ken...you are vomit, my friend'. I wonder if he (Scott M.) remembers that? We are friends on Facebook, but I don't believe he reads these things, so I doubt I will ever know, cause I'll never directly ask him.
It stuck in my mind though.
Never forgot it. On the one hand, at the time it REALLY hurt my feelings, but on the other hand? It wasn't entirely...inaccurate.
Because what is vomit? It shows up at VERY inopportune times, is not something people want to deal with, it often has a cascade effect in the sense that it causes other people to think about things they would rather not, and its presence often lingers FAR longer than anyone would like.
A lot of what I write about is like that.
A lot of what I talk about is like that.
I write and talk about some very uncomfortable things that can affect a lot of people (well, I hope a lot of people, I always wish that number 90 of Followers [it was 89 yesterday, welcome to Erika, the NEWBIE!!!] would creep up to 100, but I'll deal with that later). Some get on their computers and go on to the Internet to be entertained by TV or Movies. Some sign on to laugh at silly pictures. Some sign on for blog reading in order to find beacons of light and hope. Others for poignancy. Some sign on for games. Some sign on for porn (yeah, boyeeeeeee!!!). Some sign on for...you get the point.
Most of the time, you go someplace, you know what you are gonna get. You don't have that luxury here. There are times I sign on and sit down to write and even I don't know what is going to come out.
Funny thing is, I'm a lot like that when I talk. I've gotten myself into some trouble a lot more than once by opening my trap and...just saying the wrong thing. The SAD fact is that I don't do it out of malice or bad intention, I just speak what I feel or think, with no filter.
And I don't mean to suggest that this is good, I'm just explaining it.
I remember once, while waiting for some tardy people at a BUSINESS meeting, asking some of the guys if they ever had a situation where their balls turned purple while riding their bicycle and if it ever lingered for a few hours and was that normal?
I may have used the word testicles, but still, several people were just shocked, and I just picked the wrong time, the wrong place, the wrong topic. Everything about it was just...wrong. I just was asking a question amidst a group of guys, I didn't factor in anything else...I didn't use any filters.
Yes I know...I can be something of a dummy.
Recently it was announced that Howard Stern had renewed his contract with Sirius/XM for another five years.
I'm a listener. I'm a fan.
I've listened, wow...for a LONG, LONG time. In fact, I can't remember a time in my life as a young adult when I did NOT, in some capacity, listen to Howard Stern. I was petrified that this year was it...that as of the end of 2010 he would retire. As stupid and dumb as this sounds...I was NOT ready for this. Not right now.
Now, most people hear the name Howard Stern and their buttcheeks clench up. They just HATE this man. Most of those people are non-listeners. And at the very least, in my world, in the comfort of my home, which is in tatters, he MAKES ME LAUGH, and I need that more than I need food and water right now.
Most of the Stern-haters react to what they THINK they know about Howard Stern, not about what Howard Stern is really about anyway. What he IS all about is speaking honestly, about saying what many people think but are afraid to say. And while some of the things that he goes on about and says can offend some people, he is, at the core, an honorable man.
But you would only know this if you were a listener and knew how he handles his life, how he handles his people, his businesses, his relationships, etc. Yes, IN THE SHOW, there is sexual content, yes there is cursing and farts and other foulness. Yes there are occasionally porn stars and freaks and all sorts of miscreants on the show, but there are also some of the most interesting and in-depth interviews of people you will ever, EVER hear. Because no one, and I do mean NO ONE, will ever devote the time and energy to asking a celebrity, or better yet an ordinary person who experienced something extraordinary, about their life as much as he does.
Is The Howard Stern Show everyone's cup of tea? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Neither am I. Neither is Blogzilly. And we all have freedom of choice. You can choose not to listen just as you can choose not to read what I write and I can choose not to read the blogs of people who have MP3 Players that play music too loud.
America. It's beautiful for a REASON.
(SIDE NOTE: I do, however, have ONE issue, but this is only a recent one. I do find myself questioning his over-use of the word 'retarded'. Didn't use to offend me. Does now. I know that if someone that he respects, like his father, were to tell him why the word has the impact it does he would listen, but no one ever has. But it bothers me. This is the first time anything on the show ever has.)
Well, if you ever wondered who one of my primary influences was/is in life itself, there you go. I have always been very quick to say (or write) exactly what is on my mind, for the most part filter-free.
And therein lies one part of a multi-pronged problem.
See, I understand that this blog is kind of at odds with itself, you might say. I started it while I still had one foot slightly wedged into the Toy Industry, and planned to focus most of the writing on toys, action figures, comic books and all that juicy geek stuff, a sort of continuation of the style of blogging I did on the websites for the toy companies I worked for previously. I fired it up shortly after I knew that my own Creatus Maximus venture was stalling out.
This was mere days prior to when Bennett's first set of Infantile Spasms exploded into our lives.
But when those seizures appeared, circumstances changed. And while the blog sometimes goes back to subjects like toys, or games, or other things I am interested in, it always comes back to Bennett. But truthfully, if I were to actually define it right now, the blog isn't really even about BENNETT, or his issues specifically.
Blogzilly is about ME, it's about MY journey and my family's journey as seen through MY eyes.
It's a conflict I have never truly figured out how to solve, because the journey itself, just as I do, lacks focus, and thus so do many of Blogzilly's entries.
So now I have a blog that has some readership that initially came along from that old toy crowd that isn't getting anything from that world, or if they do get some it is VERY sporadic at best. Instead they are served up words like Infantile Spasms, Oligoastrocytoma, and admissions that I cry like a little girl a lot of the time because my son bites himself and can't talk.
On the other side, you have some people from different areas of the Special Needs world, some fellow bloggers, some parents who have children with disabilities of varying kinds, who at first came here to lend support and knowledge and friendship and who've stayed for God knows why, but I fear sometimes think I go off the deep end and stray into subjects either too grim or too gross. Others find their way here from other Special Needs blogs that I frequent or comment in, and stay a while.
But certainly I do not offer the typical type of hopeful, inspiring material one might expect from a blog in the Special Needs community. At least...I don't THINK I do.
And thus I find myself feeling a bit...alienated from both worlds. From all worlds, not knowing for sure how to define myself, not knowing for sure how to define this blog and this space.
Here, then, is a question. Several in fact.
Does it really matter? Am I overthinking this?
Not simple questions, or maybe they are. Maybe I just need the objective eyes of people like you, who read these words, not the bleary, bloodshot, sleep-deprived eyes of the person who writes them.
Why do I even ask? Mainly because I have been thinking lately that I should try to grow this thing a little. Clearly I like doing it. Clearly I need SOME direction, some path. Clearly I need some more focus in my life. Clearly I am a decent enough writer to put my thoughts on digital paper clearly and efficiently and creatively. I've always thought about trying to expand this into something bigger, but the real question is...is IT ready. Am I? Should I change it? If so, how?
Don't know, really.
In some ways I envy SingleDad (well, come to find out, now in MANY ways). But did I make a mistake by not being anonymous? Will I regret this decision to be so open later in life? Will I hurt my kids down the road or will I in fact help them? Should I 'reboot' and start over, anonymously, losing everything I built? These are some very hard things to figure out.
These are, truly, conflicts for me that I have been wrestling with for quite some time. All leading to one simple thing...I am craving more Definition of Self. Not just in these pages, but in almost every aspect of my life. I look at so many other people's blogs and everyone seems to have it so...together, and I always feel like a fish, freshly removed from the stream, flopping around.
No direction. No path. No purpose.
Well, I think I've rambled enough for today. That's quite a lot about my current state of mind. Any advice you may have is certainly welcome. It always is.