1) I no longer enjoy the extreme privilege of writing and editing for my vocation;
2) I have a need to reassure myself that I can still compose compelling/funny/thought-provoking prose, and see that it does still resonate with readers;
3) I need to distract myself from the gravity of the work I perform because I sometimes fear that it will overwhelm me.
That said, I do confess that I enjoy a little banter as well as the next person. I can (and will) be as challenging, flirtatious, confrontational, and silly as the next person. Really. And I don't like to set myself up as somehow superior and above-it-all. I like people. I like to relate to people. And I find real enjoyment in liking, relating to, and, most of all, ENCOURAGING novices and intermediate-level participants in this rather private and internal little craft we share here. I really didn't have a clue that I had any real capacity whatsoever for writing until a few professional writers I'd met along the way gave me (to be sure) a few pointers, but had mostly affirmed that I really did have the knack for this putting-of-words-down-on-the-glowing-bl ank-screen.
Of course, along with the writing comes the revealing of Self.
Many other writers here aren't fettered by the inevitabilty of laying one's soul bare. I WISH I could write fiction. I WISH I could fashion characters worthy of interest and believeable dialogue out of sheer ether. But I haven't shown much interest or capacity for the creation of artificial universes that readers can walk around in, sniff the new car smell, kick the tires, and enjoy test driving.
The truth... my truth... is that I have survived a life that has some compelling elements to it, and I have always found reality to be far more fascinating than fiction. Perhaps this is due to some pathological need for approval. Perhaps it's because my life has grown so cold and remote, and I've grown so cynical as a result, that the only way I can FEEL is to breathe life anew into my journey's more significant passages.
So that's what I've attempted to record here on TIBU. Mostly, it's been rewarding. I mean, just how much can some anonymous reader discount the experiences that have shaped this old lawdog?
Besides, as much as we trade quips and barbs and banter here... just how deep does it really go?
For example, let's say that someone here on TIBU becomes SO enamored of your little screeds that they start SERIOUSLY chatting you up. Well... hey! That's not so bad, is it? Here you are, laying your battered little soul bare in hopes that you might come to know yourself better, and there's someone who likes what they see enough to angle for some further and private internet intimacy with you.
This is EXCITING, isn't it?
Can this be for real?
In a purely cold and analytical read, not so very likely.
Talk is cheap. A random comment on a post is even cheaper. And when someone investigates the clues you might leave in your wake closely enough, we're all accessible via chat and telephone and social networking sites. And an artfully crafted query can always hold the promise of Love... an erotic dart so keen it could even penetrate the crusty defenses of an old curmudgeon like myself.
And why do I mention myself as I construct this theorem?
Because it happened to me. Here. On TIBU.
It would have been so much wiser, so much more adult to shield myself better. This isn't MySpace or Facebook or some hookup site. And we've all learned our lessons in places like that. Or not.
The wisest course is to keep it all on the level of a first date: a little reveal, a lot of flashy handwork, and Presto! No-one gets hurt. All they're left with is a glimpse of the perfected self we've fashioned and polished to a dazzling, inpenetrable brilliance.
Except sometimes the offer sounds so good... and don't we all deserve a life filled with Love? Don't we all want to hope there's still some tiny crumb of joy left to be snatched from the ever-advancing jaws of Death?
Perhaps we do. But perhaps we would spare whatever hope we have remaining by guarding it closer, and by keeping it tucked safely behind the personae we choose to create for ourselves.
I reached my hand into a flame. I shouldn't be quite so surprised to feel it burn. It's not the flame that's important, it's the reaching. There's Love still to be found, but to find it you have to remain willing to reach back into that flame every time, no matter how painfully it may sear and burn.
My name is lawdog... and I believe in Love.