Child in the Mirror

The child I see in the mirror.

Married for years

Paying the bills

On the inside I feel like a child


Six-foot two

Beard not new

In the mirror I look like a child


Working all day

Working to play

On the inside I feel like a child


Reading the news

Seeing what’s new

In the mirror I look like a child


Conversing with friends

Problems on end

On the inside I feel like a child


Wake up each day

Do the same thing

Look at the world like a child


Writing is Hard

This blog reminded me that writing is hard. As a writer, there are tough days when I have to search for words. If they do come they’re not cohesive. It’s gross, like vomiting alphabet soup on paper. Then there are days when the words pour out of me and read like a final draft. It’s perfect.

One of the challenges of starting a new book is finding the story’s voice. Grasping that voice makes it easier. I have my own style when writing books, but this blog is uniquely mine. I’m not writing through a character or about a character. There’s less editing, less thinking about the reader and less time worrying about finding the perfect way to write something. And when the material changes constantly, like this blog, it can be hard to latch onto a consistent voice.

It should be easy, given this blog is mine. But before I can put my thoughts down and share them, they’re often filtered through my anxiety. I’m uncomfortable with myself. I’m so self-conscious about every aspect of my presentation, I can’t let my guard down around the people I love most. I have problems talking to my wife.  I spend so much energy worrying what people think of me, I’m exhausted when I’m alone.

Hopefully this blog will help me release that anxiety and create a consistent voice. The voice I hear in my head every day. My voice.

This post may not be substantial, but it’s cathartic for me, as most of them are. Knowing people are reading my writing makes me anxious, but it also makes it easier to share the next time.

The Next Chapters

I don’t know what to write today. I don’t really have anything to write about, but it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so I thought I should try. On the other hand, it would be inappropriate for me to try to write something poignant. The best words I’ve written, in terms of language and evoking feeling, have just happened. I may have thought about what to say or what scene to set, but when the words came out they just flowed.

Which brings me back to MLK. You can’t manufacture emotion. If a story doesn’t connect with a reader, no amount of editing or flowery language will correct that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make others feel a certain way. Once you have a story that resonates, once you know what to say, the way you deliver it can change lives. That’s what Martin Luther King Jr. did. Except he wasn’t dabbling in storytelling. He was staring reality in the face and accepted the challenge of becoming the face of a new reality. A reality that was inclusive to all. A reality that honored all people, regardless of their differences. A reality where my white mother and black father could openly love each other without being harassed. MLK, and so many others, saw what the citizens of our nation needed, even when so many were flagrantly unwilling to accept it. A better reality was possible. He was tasked with writing it down and sharing it aloud. The civil rights movement was a story that needed an author. He became that author.

The Montgomery bus boycott, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and the Poor People’s Campaign are just a few chapters from the story he helped start. A story that is far from complete. As we live among one another, with all our differences and beliefs, let us continue searching within ourselves and our society for the next chapters of this story.

In an interview with Writer’s Digest in 1975, Maya Angelou said, “If we started looking at each other and our differences, our family background and personal history, we could find so many differences. But those are tangential, those are peripheral. There are really no differences. We are, first, human beings. And so when you weep, I understand it clearly. When you laugh, I understand it clearly. When you love, you don’t have to translate it to me. These are the important things.”

When Martin Luther King Jr. said “I have a dream,” he wasn’t the only one. We all have dreams. As we chase them individually, let’s remember to help others achieve theirs. Sometimes a word of encouragement is the difference between quitting and giving it one more shot. Everything that has happened in the world is connected. The more dreams we accomplish, the more the next generation of dreams become possible.