Distractions, Choices and Perfectionism

As is far too often the case, I’ve been a bit remiss in writing in my blog. This will be only my 8th post for the entire year. Despite all my best intentions, what can I say? It happens! Just know, like any good friend, I haven’t forgotten you.

There are always the, what in my life are, “normal” distractions. Here are just a few, listed in no particular order:

My genealogy research.

My genealogy website.

Visits from family and friends when I’m “home” in Las Vegas (Although it doesn’t occur nearly enough)!

Reading. I’ll never get “caught up”, the list seems endless. I’ve been fascinated lately with the classic novel Little Women and its author (a distant cousin). I know… I’m a guy… crazy huh?

Watching television shows (mostly political, documentaries, real life in nature). Netflix movies… then there are all those YouTube videos that run the gamut.

Traveling… to far away and exotic, worldly places like Mahaffey, New Hudson and Pahrump, NV.

Going to the movies (again, mostly real life in nature), but I haven’t done much of that lately.

I’m a procrastinator.

I’m a perfectionist!

I’m old, I get tired.

Television personality Geraldo Rivera once said, “Life is a series of random choices, and what we make of life is what you make of those random choices.” So true and I’ve come to understand as well, with those choices come consequence. With them we sacrifice one thing for another. Distractions come at a cost to this blog.

I don’t think, especially at this stage of my life, I could write for a living. I admire those who do. I’ve had friends who do. One of my cousins has written several books and publishes a weekly column. He’s done it for years! In another life I used to write on a daily basis. Then I’d read it out-loud. I actually got paid to do that.

What an absolute chore that would be now! For me, the deadlines and pressure to produce would just be too much. Guess that comes with old age (although my cousin is older). I give him credit, where it’s due. My last self-imposed burden was in September of 2011. It was a thirty-day challenge to write a blog every-single-day. I did it, but I doubt I’ll ever do it again. It was painful. Now I write because I want to, not because I have to. Or do I?

For most anyone, writing is a laborious and time-consuming process. I think it’s worse for me. I have a friend, and former News Director to thank in-part for this. He’d often ask his co-workers about their writings, “Is it compelling?” Is it? I’ve never forgotten that and I likely miss the mark frequently.

I’m never bored with life, there is always something to do, something to occupy my mind. Lucky me, I always have ways to wile away the hours. I’m never at a loss of “what to do now?” There are a lot of hours these days to wile away.

Life is such lately I’ve been known to say, “A lot of times I don’t know what day of the week it is, and I often don’t care.” Some people envy me, they tell me so but, there’s so much more I could be doing. I miss my volunteer work with the USO and I’d like to contribute some time at the local Veteran’s hospital. I think about it anyway …

It seems I’m always writing. If I’m not adding notes to my Evernotes app, making lists,* making plans or writing in my journal, I’m working on editing and perfecting a future blog. Being a perfectionist, like Kermit’s Bein Green, isn’t easy but it’s a cross I must bear. It can be burdensome to a writer, that wants to be read. You might be surprised how many blog drafts I have, just waiting for me to finish. There are currently more than 40 on a variety of subjects. The number of times I’ve rewritten and edited what I write seems almost to be an affliction, a debilitating habit at the least.

Often I’ll be writing on my genealogy website or working on family biographies. The biographies of two uncles in particular had been in the works for several years. After dozens, possibly a hundred or more rewrites, I finally finished one of them several months ago. The other may soon be worthy of sharing. I know, to some, my interest in genealogy and family history is considered odd. I’ve been criticized for it but… it is what it is.

Occasionally I’ll turn to my own personal history and work on that (again odd to some, I know). I often think I should be devoting more time to that cause, as one never knows how much of it we have left. There are just far too many stories that need told while time is a finite, priceless commodity.

I recently came across another persons blog writing about the Liebster Award. I’d never heard of it. Apparently it’s an award given by bloggers to other bloggers. It’s website says:

Bloggers are a funny bunch. We read a lot, write a ton, scour the web for new content to consume, and even give ourselves awards for this stuff.

That’s me! All except for the awards part… but there’s always next year.

 

*Related Posts: Lists – Evidence of a Troubled Past?

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2013 in Review

The WordPress.com statisticians have prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.  Although I didn’t post nearly as much as I would have liked I’ve had well over 40,000 visits.

Here’s to more and better blogging in 2014 and may the new year be all you and yours hope it will be… and then some!

Thanks to one and all!

Rick

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Lists – Public and Private

My friend, fellow blogger and self-described crabby old fart Don Mills recently wrote:

Old people keep lists. It’s what we do.  Lists keep us organized, productive and help us to remember things when our memory starts to fade. They also keep us organized.  In addition to the standard “grocery list”, “to-do list” and “neighbors that may be communist sympathizers list” that you’d find in any decent American household, I maintain over 200 other active lists at any given time.

Don in his in his typically irreverent and crabby way went on to share some of them here.

Notebook List

I had no idea until Don’s post my propensity to keep lists was something “old people … do”.  I’ve kept lists since I was knee-high to a Coke bottle.  Nor am I (as I like to tell myself) anywhere close to qualifying as “old”, at least in the truest sense of that word.

I first wrote about my lists, “The Evidence of a Troubled Past” last September here.  Although mine won’t be nearly as gut wrenchingly funny as Don’s I thought I’d share more about my own lists with you my friends. Continue reading

News of a Different Era #1

In my family history research I have the opportunity on occasion to read from older newspapers.  Just going back a few decades you notice a difference.  Going back 160 years and the differences between today’s journalism can be both painfully sad in their descriptions while hilariously funny in others.  The saying, the times, they are a-changin’ will never grow old and is never more obvious when reading from old newspapers.

Old Newspaper

Among my readings from that by-gone era are from Clearfield County, PA.  It’s an area I’ve written about before and from which a large part of my known family history takes place.  What follows are some of the more memorable tidbits I’ve seen from an era with language and sensibilities all its own.  Originally published in the long defunct Clearfield Republican each preceded by the date of publication and my own introductory title (in bold-face).  I hope you enjoy them. Continue reading

30 Ways in 30 Days

Well here it is Friday!  Not only that it’s the last day of the month and this is my final post that completes my self-imposed 30-Day Challenge or my Month of Blogging Dangerously.  My task was to post something every day during the month of September.  So, time for some review, a reality check of sorts.

Truimphant ManI’ve tried to post on a variety of subjects (30 Ways) running the course from updating my man card to stinkin’ thinkin’, capital punishment and true confessions, all no doubt Evidences of a Troubled Past.  I made it through!  It’s been a challenging but interesting thirty days and has certainly given me an appreciation for those who post every day.

So, how’d you do?  If you managed to follow along through most of these posts during the month congratulate yourself, give yourself a pat on the back.  You deserve it.  Thank you!

Posting daily does have it’s advantages.  My average daily readers for the month more than doubled to 75 and pushed my total visitors from more than 1600 for both July and August to more than 2200 in September alone.*  Readers from 43 states and 38 countries have stopped in since this blog began on June 29th.

The one post that got the most attention this month was Confessions.  I guess people love reading about the bad and the ugly.  Someone once said taking a risk is the only way to write deadly honest prose Well I certainly took a risk and it was “deadly honest.”  Continue reading

Half-Way to Thirty

Well to say the least it’s been an eventful month for me.  Here we are, the 15th day of September — which brings us half-way to thirty.  This post marks the mid-point along my self-imposed month of blogging dangerously.  Don’t think I’ll be doing this any time soon again though.  It’s tough writing every day.  Not so much the writing part, but the part where I’m ready for others to see what I’ve created.  I’m sure it’s not easy on you the reader either, those anyway who strive to keep up.  I see myself as more a weekly “columnist” like Dave Barry or George Will.  I don’t get paid nearly as much, but there’s lot’s more time to edit and refine.  Not under the gun as often to make the deadline. Continue reading

Lists – Evidence of a Troubled Past?

I’ve been a list-maker since I was a boy.  My first memory of list-making goes back to when I was probably seven or eight years old who knows exactly?  It was a list of daily chores I would do around the house on pages for each day of the week and attached to a small clipboard:  Monday: Take the garbage out. Tuesday: Dust. Wednesday: Clean the bathroom… those kinds of things.  Simple in their purpose but deep in meaning as to the reasons why.

Those lists of things to do were probably the first sign of my compulsion to write things down.  But why would one so young be so inclined?  It certainly wasn’t something “normal” for a boy to do, but I did it nevertheless.  And what of my propensity to be organized?  Did it all have something to do with a need to bring structure, some kind of order to an otherwise unstructured, disorderly life?  Was this my way to gain some control? Continue reading