Sunday Post 190: Haters

A couple of weeks ago a fellow blogger left me a comment.  She wrote, “Your writing is tired.  I used to enjoy reading your stuff but not anymore.  You should stop writing.”

OUCH!  That one hurt.

I mean, she didn’t disagree with my take on things, she didn’t tell me she hated a particular post, she told me to stop writing.

Her comment made me think a bit about how I share criticism.  I know I am pretty outspoken and share my opinions freely, but I also think I’m pretty good at making sure I give feedback that’s constructive rather than just smashing folks.

I kept my niece and nephew for the day recently.  She is three, he is five.  They’re great kids!  He is, however, the loudest person I’ve ever met.  If there is an item in the house that might possibly resemble a drum in any way, shape or form, he will beat it.  Like, he’ll be the mess out of it.

His sister, my god-daughter, is a cute, sweet little one.  She’ll look at you with those beautiful big eyes, give you a huge hug, and then go hit her brother in the head with a stainless steel bowl.

It was then that I sort of lost my temper, cause she’d done it before just a few minutes earlier.  I do love kids.  I also love them to do what I tell them to do.  When she didn’t, she got the raised voice and a little time out.

When her five minutes were over, I pulled her into my lap and I said, “You know, I LOVE YOU!  But I don’t like it when you hit your brother.  It hurts him, you can’t do that.”  We hugged and headed to the den to play a sweet game of Monkey’s In A Barrel.

As I was talking with Kinsey after her infraction, two of my kids yelled down from upstairs, “Dad – we’ve heard that before!  You always told us you loved us after you yelled at us for doing something wrong.”

It’s not that I think you should hold back from expressing frustration or dolling out criticism.  But I work to make sure the person I’m criticising knows it’s their specific action that is causing me strife, not their whole self.

That being said, perhaps my fellow blogger was not saying she didn’t like me.  Perhaps she was just telling me my entire repertoire of writing is lacking.  That it’s only my writing that stinks.

If I the goal of my blog was to please her, I’d quit.  But it’s not.  I just enjoy writing – it’s a hobby like knitting.  I’m sure not all sweaters turn out perfect.

And by the way lady, it’s free.  You no likie?  Read something else.
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The Evolution of a Man


I had never written a thing, outside of a school assignment, until September of 2009.

They found Lisa’s tumor on September 4.  It was the Friday before Labor Day.  Exactly two weeks later, on September 18, a colleague at work left a blank journal on my desk.  He wrote:

I wish I had superlative words of comfort and healing but I fear them to be inadequate.  The better thing is this journal.

The next day I wrote for the first time:

Mom thinks I’m grieving for something that probably won’t happen.  Although I do have some thoughts around “what if” and it scares and saddens me, I think I’m perhaps more grieving over the loss of life BC (before cancer).  I think about our summer – vacations, laughter, family time without a worry, excitement about courting my wife.  All still possible, all come out now in glimpses – but all happiness, right now, quickly becomes overshadowed by CANCER.  It’s everywhere… on the voice mail, email, text – grocery store, meals arriving at the door, visitors and house guests who wouldn’t be here without IT.  The dread of another trip to Durham where you might find out more… the worry for your kids and constant art Michelle produces all designed to make mom better.  Knowing that for the rest of Lisa’s life, we’ll, or at least I, will be looking over my shoulder for IT to creep up on us again.  We’ll beat it this time, I think we will.

After Lisa died in February, 2010, I began writing a memoir.  It described our happy life together and shared the story of her illness and death.  I’d put together almost 200 pages before I started this blog.

At first I thought my book was about grief and loss.  As I read and re-read it, I discovered that wasn’t really the central theme.  It was more about a boy becoming a man – sort of the evolution of one man, me.

I’ve written a few blogs since then, man have I written.  At times my blogging has been so consuming that I haven’t taken the time to work on my real story, the one that is so personally important to me.

I’ve thought a great deal about why I want to finish my book.  I don’t anticipate it going platinum or being selected for Oprah’s book club.  Although either of those would be nice, it’s not my motive.  My real reason for completing it is for my girls and for me.  I’d like for them, one day, to be able to understand who our family was BC and to have a grasp of what happened the year we lost their mother.  I want them to know how hard she fought to stay with them.  I want them to see and feel how much I loved her.

Recently I began working with a friend, Tanya Stockton at Publishing Unleashed.  She helps authors publish and market their writing.  I have an editor who is currently digging through what I have written, and they’re pushing me to finish the story.  They say we’re going to publish by Father’s Day.  I’m not so sure about that.

The problem is, I don’t know how it ends.  I don’t know what this man ends up being.  I don’t know what the kids look like in the future.  I don’t know if we make it – if it all turns out alright.

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to commit to focusing on my book.  I think that means I’ll temporarily cut down to one blog per week – probably on Wednesdays.  I may toss in a Sunday Post every couple of weeks, if I have something thoughtful to say.  And my plan is to come back full steam once I finish my last couple of chapters.

I have a feeling, I’m gonna need a sequel.

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