Tag Archives: writing

family communication

I haven’t written here in almost a week. As usual, there are many reasons, but one big reason this past week is that I’ve spent a lot of my writing impetus writing emails to my siblings. Last year I wanted to get a new car for my mother. I thought my reasons were good, and I talked it over with both her and Dad. We did some car shopping but it got put on the back burner sometime last fall.

Word of this car shopping got out – it was never a secret – and soon questions were being asked, help was being offered etc etc by my siblings. At some point, I decided the best way to keep everyone informed was to send out a blast email after I got back from a visit with Mom and Dad.

I think it’s been quite successful. Lots of discussion has been engendered that otherwise would have taken place over months, if at all. In fact, one comment I made in an email got back to Mom in a way she didn’t expect and now there’s blowback. Not from Mom, but from another sibling, who feels we are going behind the backs of Mom and Dad.

So, I’ve been spending a lot of time explaining this or that or defending myself. Now I’m trying leverage all of that into a blog post!

The six of us are lucky that both of our parents are still living and living by themselves in their own house. The problem, if you want to call it that, is that all good things must come to an end. Dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. No one knows how that will progress except that he will continue to decline. Mom is in good health now and takes care of Dad with few problems but she is nearly the same age as him so the margin for error is razor thin. All of us help as we can but there are more and more issues that crop up that concern all of us as a group.

For me, the solution is easy. I like to write. I write about my time with Mom and Dad and send it out in a blast to my siblings. This gets everyone the same information at the same time and allows (assuming consistent reply alls) a good discussion of the issues.

I don’t know. Nothing is perfect. Not all of my siblings like to write like I do so it’s harder for them to chime in. If we were to try to do group Skype conversations (for example) it would be agony trying to find a time that would be good for everyone.

The best news is that all of us respect and like each other. I’ve heard stories of other families . . .

diaries

At the risk of incurring Sarah’s wrath, I’m going to confess I saw some of her diaries yesterday. Honestly, I didn’t look at them except to determine what they were. I was transferring some of her things stored at my apartment from old boxes into a nicer plastic tub.

The reason this is blog-worthy is that it struck me that all of my kids are writers and that makes me happy. On my front page I make reference to Zach’s prodigious writing being an inspiration. Now I realize that Sarah has written a lot as well. I haven’t seen anything of Jeremy’s writing but I know he’s done a lot.

Last year Mom brought out – I don’t remember why – a diary that my grandfather had written in 1915 of a train trip he took from Denver to southern California. Very little philosophizing, just the gritty details of travel. Great stuff!

It’s an arguable point as to whether pencil or pen on paper has more value than these electronic squiggles. I’m the first to agree that handling the actual paper that my grandfather held had value more than the words themselves. Paper can be free form in a way that is more difficult in e-writing.

It’s all valuable. I treasure those glimpses of my ancestors as I hope my descendants will enjoy a look into my mind, whether it’s this blog or some moldy spiral notebooks. Write on!

Stephen King on writing

Following my sister’s suggestion, I got a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing at the library. I’m only a little way into it but there’s already been a couple of worthwhile nuggets. Not enough so far to make me want to buy it, but enough to generate this post.

His first few chapters are what he calls C. V. It’s his own story about growing up with a single mother and writing stories at an early age. He seems to be focused from the very beginning on selling his work. To that end, he emphasizes the importance of rewriting.

I get that, but I’m writing a blog. Isn’t it supposed to be raw? When I start to write a blog post, I usually have the first couple of sentences in my head. I’ve mulled and rewritten, if you will, for a while before sitting down at the keyboard. Once it’s on the screen, though, it doesn’t change much. Every once in a while I read over what I’ve written and decide it’s BS and delete it. Most of the time if it’s on the screen it’s going out to the wide world.

For some reason, even though I’ve been a science fiction fan since I was in junior high school, I’ve never been interested in King’s work. Maybe because I typecast him as a horror writer due to the gory movies made from his books. Honestly, though, I’ve never seen any of his movies so I really don’t know what I’m talking about. Well, I know that his book on writing is the first work of his that I’ve read. Stay tuned.

computers

I’ve been a computer guy for a long time. I actually took a computer class in my first quarter in college in 1971. I was part of a group of stagehands who pooled money to buy a Radio Shack TRS-80 in 1982. I always had the ability to understand how to relate to the machine in such a way as to get productive work out of it. When other people had trouble, I was often the guy who was brought in to figure it out.

So, a couple of minutes ago, I was typing up a post when all the text disappeared. So many times I’ve been on the troubleshooting side and I ask, ‘What did you do?’ and the answer was. ‘I don’t know.’ I always was a little incredulous. How could you not know what you just did?

Well, I just found a key combination that erased 10 minutes of typing and I have no idea what it was. I couldn’t find any key combination that brought it back so I guess it wasn’t too important!

(If it wasn’t a key combination then my mental powers are greater than I thought. I wasn’t really happy with what I was writing. Now I’ve written this instead.)

writing this blog

I think about writing in this blog all the time. Pretty much any time I have a few minutes to think, I think in terms of what I might write here. I believe I’ve commented before about what percentage of what I’m thinking shows up here. It’s pretty small.

Today I want to write but first I have to get my laundry done. I can’t concentrate on writing while I’m back and forth to the laundry room. I’ve pretty much promised family members in Santa Clara that I’d go back down there today to visit. Most people will be leaving tomorrow.

The orchestra (and the stage crew) came back from their Far East tour Tuesday and production people are facing up to the reality of the December schedule. It’s going to be difficult. I’ve tried to set myself up in a niche that won’t be quite as crazy but the prevailing mood is one of dread. Perhaps some of that has rubbed off on me. I’ve still got four more days off so I will write more tomorrow or the next day. There’s much to tell . . .

writing

This morning I was excited to see I needed to approve a comment. (This happens when someone new makes a comment. Once your source email has been approved, you can continue to make comments without my approval. Well, I’m the admin so I can remove comments any time, but I will not do that to real people making real comments on the posts.)

Sadly, it was not really a comment but a spam post. It said, in part, ‘I see your blog needs some fresh & unique articles. Writing manually is time consuming, but there is tool for this task . . .’ hit this link.

Uh, no thanks. I don’t post as often as I’d like, but I don’t want any automated tools to wrote for me.

That said, I’ve got to go now. I’ll try to post something real later today.

legacy

I went back and looked at some of Zach’s journal entries the other day. They resonate differently from how they felt six months ago. Am I changing or is the memory of Zach the flesh and blood person dimming? Maybe it was just that particular entry that struck me differently.

More generally, it started me thinking about how we are remembered. Once there were paintings, then photographs and now videos for images but throughout it all there has been writing. And writing, unlike images, requires the person to take active steps to create those memories. (We’ll set aside self portraits for now.)

I had reached out to my nephew Steve the other day about his blog that I remembered but didn’t have saved anywhere. He got back to me with the link and said he still went back and read it to see what kind of person he was then. Well, I think it’s too bad he’s not keeping it up, but that’s not the point. We write to be remembered – by ourselves and by others. Steve hasn’t taken the blog down. I spent a few minutes looking through some of the last entries. He’s moved on to other things I suppose. (Actually he’s a brilliant videographer. See his website at http://thedigitalagent.com/)

I’ve written a lot over the years. I generally have written more when I travel than when I’m at home so I’ve got lots of good records of that. When the kids were little I kept journals of their doings. Some of my more recent musings have been on the computer. Will the paper or the electron last longer? My bet is on the electron although there are issues with that as well.

I know I’d sure like it if my grandfather had written more. My mother has a couple of things he wrote but it’s only tantalizing. I can remember him but what about when I’m gone? A few fading photos like some others that I have. They’re of families – ancestors – but I don’t know who they are.

To be continued . . .

Here’s Steve’s blog address (last entry 2010!): http://backseatmusings.blogspot.com/