Monday, January 26, 2009

Two Kids in Love

I've been living long enough to know that there is a season for everything, and a time for every activity under the sun. There have been times in my life -- too many times -- when I was constantly busy, and my loved ones seemed like random strangers I occasionally stumbled across in my own house.

But I woke up one morning not too long ago, and suddenly remembered vividly the cry of my heart, from a season of life long since passed. There I was, in the darkest and loneliest days of my life. Not just single, but brokenhearted and abandoned. Everywhere I turned, there was darkness and hopelessness. All I wanted was a friend -- someone to share it all with; someone to stand beside me in my hour of need. I cried out to the Lord, and still there was no one for me. In desperation my heart cried once again, "If I ever find love again, dear Jesus, I promise I'll cherish it, and pour all my heart and soul and mind and strength into making it grow, and giving myself fully to the one you give to me."

In time, the sadness passed, and the activities of life filled the empty spaces. When love did come, I wasn't even looking for it. I had resolved to spend my life alone, and to enjoy the freedom that gave me. But there was love, standing in front of me with long hair and mischievous eyes, so I walked through the doorway to a new life. (Walked quite slowly, says she. But walked nonetheless, says I.)

It's been several years since the day we said our vows, in front of family and friends and God. Several very good years, by any measure. But on a day recently -- suddenly, mysteriously, without explanation -- I awoke and remembered with stark lucidity the cry of my heart from all those years ago. The time and season has seemed right to remember my promise to the Lord. And for wonderful reasons I may never understand, this wife of mine has been feeling the same way about the whole thing lately, at the same time as me.

And so here we are, living in the renewed dream that is our reality. Life is good. We're in love, and feeling like two teenagers who have borrowed my parents' car for the night, and don't have a curfew.

The night is young. Come away with me, my love.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Call From Darrell Waltrip

I'm feeling sort of famous right now. NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip called me and left a personal message on my phone, thanking me for using the service department at his Honda dealership. He even gave me a number I can call back, in case I have any questions or comments about the service I received. Maybe I'll call it sometime, and ask to talk to Darrell, just so we can shoot the breeze about how much cooler motor sports were in the olden days, before they had stuff like restrictor plates and roof flaps.

This is so cool, getting a call from Darrell Waltrip. It's even better than that time John Kerry called, asking me to vote for him. Plus I hear that Darrell Waltrip is a Christian, and has a bible study in Nashville. I'm not really surprised. Pretty much everyone in Nashville is a Christian, except for Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses, and those people who were cheering for the Baltimore Ravens.

Of course, in some ways, I'm jaded by all the exposure to famous celebrities that one gets when living in Nashville. Pretty much every songwriter/musician/waitress in Nashville can tell you a cool story about how a bona fide star came into their restaurant, and even got seated in their section. And how famous people can sometimes be really nice and friendly, in real life.

When I'm famous, I'm going to be really nice to people, too. You should always remember your roots, and where you came from. It's not polite to make fun of all the unimportant little people, because you used to be just like one of them, before you got famous.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I'm probably just afraid of how much of my time I would waste. I have enough "information overload" even without the antidote, thanks. about 1 minute ago from Blogger

Who knows? Maybe I could get into Twitter, if I could think of an actual use for it. about 3 minutes ago from Blogger

Yeah. And chocolate cake is the antidote to weight gain, too. Eat up! about 5 minutes ago from Blogger

Actual quote from the Twitter site: "Twitter puts you in control and becomes a modern antidote to information overload." about 7 minutes ago from Blogger

is scratching his elbow. about 11 minutes ago from Blogger

is aware I can link it to my Facebook status updates or whatever. But I don't use those either. about 12 minutes ago from Blogger

@dullroar Et tu, dude? Ack! I coulda sworn you were with me on this! about 16 minutes ago from Blogger in reply to dullroar

I'd rather have my eye poked out with a sharp stick than join in the Twitter mayhem. about 1 hour ago from Blogger

just went to the bathroom. about 1 hour ago from Blogger

No, the truth is my decision not to Twit or Tweet or whatever you call it is firm and not subject to change. about 2 hours ago from Blogger

OK, now it's official. I've finally done it. No, I didn't join Twitter. I wrote a blog post about Twitter, just like everyone else. You're reading it right now. about 2 hours ago from Blogger

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

Superlatives and Expletives

We live in a world where information overload is commonplace, and at any given time there seem to be a million different things vying for our attention. So it's no surprise that everyone and everything is looking to shock, to entice, or to stand out in some way.

One of the results of this is a coarsening of our language, and an exhaustion of available descriptions for things which vary in degree. We love people, food, and TV shows. We hate politicians, bad drivers, and the devil. The current financial recession is the most desperate and disastrous event since the Great Depression. The current weather is the most severe ever, and further evidence that the global climate is well on its way to impending doom and disaster. Many people have a new and different "best friend forever" monthly, and "the worst day ever" almost daily.

As part of this same process, the boundaries of what is considered acceptable and polite speech, particularly in terms of obscenity and vulgarity, are also being stretched. When I was 15 years old, I distinctly remember immersing myself in flagrant and gratuitous use of extremely vulgar language. I was surrounded by friends who also spoke that way, and we all agreed that it made us sound pretty grown up and avant-garde. It was a great way to rebel against our parents, and against society at large. No word, regardless of how hateful or hurtful, was off limits. The more offensive, the better. Now it seems that society at large is striking back, by pelting me daily with the vocabulary of a 15 year old. Touché.

What this all means is that things which cannot be characterized in extreme terms are anathema, and should be avoided. They are boring and meaningless. They are routine and predictable. They are mediocre and unnoticeable. They are bland and tasteless. They are plain and ordinary.

When we want to express that something is truly spectacular, amazing, magnificent, or wonderful, we lack the effective vocabulary to do it because we've used up those words on things which simply didn't deserve them. When we want to express that something is truly abhorrent, horrible, awful, or revolting, again we lack the vocabulary because we've used up those words on things we oughtn't have.

I really don't think there's anything that can be done to reverse the trend at this point. It seems that it's in our nature to become desensitized to anything to which we are repeatedly exposed, including the power of words. I wonder if there will come a point where we will have gone so far down this path that it will strike someone as novel and compelling to rebel against society by discovering "the old way", and unearthing the shocking richness of the language that was left behind long ago.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Inspired Blogging

I received some helpful thoughts and suggestions from commenters on my previous post, regarding ways to capture "blog-worthy" inspirational moments when they strike me. I decided that the subject was worth a new entry, with some additional ponderings.

My friend Jim suggests that an item we all have and take for granted, the cell phone, can be used in several different ways to retain and record the ideas that might strike anytime and anywhere.

In my case, I work from a home office and only have my cell phone with me when I leave the house. So the ideas that strike me, say, in the shower (which is one place they actually do occur fairly often) would probably not apply in this case. But certainly, when I see or think of things while out and away from the house, this sounds like a very good alternative, and one which I'm pretty sure I'll make use of now.

My friend Amy admits that she still makes use of ancient technology and jots her thoughts down on paper. I'm definitely not above the use of ancient technology. In fact, my workspace is littered with hundreds of Post-It notes. This still seems to be my method of choice for many other things, like work reminders or shopping lists. So perhaps if I were to station a few more Post-It pads with pens strategically throughout the house, this could actually be helpful, too.

Amy made another great point about retaining what made the "inspiration" seem so interesting in the first place, and now that I think about it, this might be the real issue for me. During my "inspired" moments, my mind is racing, and I typically have several excellent bullet points to support my new notion, along with lots of great real-life examples. But a couple of paragraphs into actually typing it out, it suddenly doesn't seem so great after all.

I remember reading one writer who said that you should quickly type everything out while you're still inspired, without stopping to self-edit. Then you finish editing the grammar and organizing the structure better after you have reached the end. In my case, self-editing early and often in the process certainly does seem to discourage me, and traps me in the minutiae of trying to say everything perfectly, even before I've finished getting all my thoughts typed out.

Of course, there's one final element to this blogging process that I haven't even mentioned at all. Many blog entries are not the result of any sort of inspiration at all. Some are funny or interesting videos, others are responses or comments to other blog posts, and still others are simple recordings of thoughts or events, like a daily journal might be. No doubt a number of bloggers who succeed at writing frequently incorporate generous use of these elements into their content as well.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Bone Dry

Boy, I just can't seem to think of anything to write about on this blog lately.

The funny thing is, I have moments of inspiration almost daily, but they don't occur during the time I'm here at the keyboard. They seem to pass into complete oblivion by the time I try to remember them so I can type them out.

I hear many bloggers say that some of the best and most interesting posts and discussion threads came from entries that were uninspired and didn't seem to amount to much initially. There's probably something to that. Some of the greatest inventions and breakthroughs were discovered accidentally, sort of like LSD. Well, maybe that's not such a good example after all. Hofmann claims it wasn't just a chance discovery, in the purest sense of that expression.

I wonder if somebody out there who blogs successfully has tips on how to harness inspired thoughts and retain them, so they can lead to blog entries. Anyone? I don't want to resort to carrying around a tape recorder. Well, that's ancient technology, anyway -- I guess it would be a MP3 player with recording capability now. And I don't want to scribble thoughts onto note cards. Oops, more ancient technology -- these days, it would be some sort of PDA, I guess.

Maybe what I should do is start a blog which self-consciously looks at what's involved in trying to blog, and how fruitless/difficult the process is. Oh wait, there's somebody already doing that, apparently.