Wednesday, February 14, 2007


My suit must be in the wash.

I have gone five days without making a post, which must be something of a record for this blog. Why the long gap? I'm so glad you asked, anonymous internet person who must in some way be different from an imaginary friend, although at the moment I can't think of a reason.

The main problem is that the biggest thing happening in both my personal and professional life at the moment is something I can't talk about publicly yet. I'm under a Non Disclosure Agreement, and if I talk about what's going on it could ruin the entire deal. Since most of my mental and emotional capacity is taken up with worrying about this event, I don't have a lot of energy left over to talk or think about anything else. Which is a bummer. Since this could go on for another two months, however, I'm going to have to figure out some sort of workaround.

My work ethic and creative energy also tend to come in cycles. I went through a hyper-creative spurt a couple of weeks ago and now am, apparently, in a trough. I wish my brain had controls I could understand, so I could peg the volume on "high" or something. I hate being at the mercy of my moods.

At the same time, my day job has gotten to be very frustrating, as my respect and admiration for some of my coworkers continue to plummet. I'm motivated almost entirely by a desire to please those around me, far more so than money or perks. When I lose respect for those around me, my performance suffers dramatically. If you want the best out of me, you have to be the kind of person I admire, respect, and want to make happy. Raises don't do it, trips don't do it, rewards don't do it. I have a psychotic need to earn the respect of those I admire, and it is the most persuasive and motivational coin I have ever encountered. Unfortunately, the flip side is that when I no longer admire you, I have to work a hundred times harder to get the same amount done. Granted, I still get a paycheck and they still get an honest day's work out of me, but it's not my best work and I can't fix it. It's a moral failing of mine, and one which I work at, but I am still unable to circumvent it as well as I'd like.

Finally, I've started to encounter some significant resistance from people in my life whom I love very much about some of the subjects I write about. Being accused of corrupting children because of my atheism is deeply, deeply troubling to me. In essence it's saying "Your very nature is bad for kids." I need to take some time to work through those implications before I can get back to those subjects, which has the unfortunate consequence of making me feel very, very unfunny and unable to see the humor in much of anything, so there goes the rest of what I post about.

I'm sure the cycle will reverse itself soon, as habits tend to do, and I'll be back to the usual posting schedule. I feel confident that both of my readers are waiting with bated breath, but I didn't want to go yet another day with no communication, for my own peace of mind if nothing else. I have a bad habit of retreating into silence when I'm unhappy, another personal failing I am trying hard to correct as I get older.


Allen said...

Hang in there man. As one of your "two readers," I'll be here to read the blog when you're in the right frame of mind to write.

For what it's worth: what you describe about work and mood sounds very familiar to me.

Denise said...

When I first started writing my opinion column 10 years ago, I received two “hate” letters from the parents of a young girl who did not report an attempted rape. Because no one knew of the danger, two young girls were jumped while they were out jogging two weeks after this first attempt. I still believe if that girl had reported the incident to the police, those second two girls might not have been out at dark alone. The parents of this girl anonymously wrote me letters accusing me of being insensitive. I carried those letters around in my purse for probably three years to remind me to be sensitive to others’ feelings. I finally told my boss about it and he told me to throw those letters away immediately. A writer’s responsibility is to write the truth and accept the consequences. If I do not write the truth, at least the truth as I see it, then I’m being false and untrue to everyone, especially myself, and then not even I can trust the voice inside my head. I’m convinced more than ever that freedom of speech and freedom of thought are two of our most precious rights in this country. I will defend your right to think what you want as long as I can do the same. I might not agree with you, but I will defend your right to say it. Jeff, your blog makes me think. Even when I disagree with you, I’m thinking deeply about the issues you raise. Your postings have allowed me to talk with people in my life, including my children and my CCE students, about some of the issues you raise, and we also laugh at some of the episodes you encounter in life.

As for the job, I don’t work well for incompetent imbeciles. Like you, I work best for those who challenge me and demand more than I think I’m capable of giving. However, I’ve learned to challenge myself and to ignore those around me because at the end of the day, I have to look at myself in the mirror, not them. I’m also trying hard to apply that concept to my own life, not always successfully, but I am trying.

So what is this top-secret project!! You’re killin’ me here, bro – you know I am as nosey as the day is long! Nick keeps telling me that worrying robs my brain of positive karma. He’s right. Worry doesn’t do anything except make me a wreck. So, I learned how to knit. I take walks and visit with neighbors and enjoy watching kids playing jump rope. I’m re-reading some of my favorite books and have a stack to go through this year – “Catcher in the Rye,” “A Separate Peace” and “A Prayer for Owen Meaney” are on top.

We readers of your blog understand your silences and when you are silent, we wait patiently, hoping you’ll reach out to us. I’m glad you did. One thing I’ve learned from your blog is to stop questioning, to stop asking why and to accept things at face value is a negative trait and it takes balls of steel to do what you’re doing, just as it takes courage for those who disagree with you to post their innermost beliefs and thoughts. For all those who write here, rock the boat, raise your hand, challenge authority and keep pushing until an answer comes. Grasshopper, the following adage is true: Give me the wisdom to change the things I can, the strength to accept the things I can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference. I am glad you make me think. It’s the highest compliment I can give to someone – you made me think.

Denise said...

I forgot to mention at the top -- this girl reported the attempted rape two weeks after it happened. In those two weeks, two other girls were jumped. Sorry about leaving that part out.

The Evil DM said...

Write when you have something to write about. your friends will keep coming back because they are interested in you and whats going on in your life. I come here expecting to find opinion and reflection, those opinions sometimes don't always jive with mine but thats a good thing. if people have problems with your content then the problem lies with them. you don't use risque images or adult content(that's my blog). but you do have thoughts and if someone is coming down on you in regards to your thoughts then they are guilty of rigid thinking. I'm a Christian, specifically a Roman Catholic. I have my views and beliefs and I can read a bazillion posts on Atheism and they wont change my opinion one whit. maybe the folks who are coming down on you should ask themselves whether their own beliefs so shallow that they are in danger from scrutiny or observation?

sph said...

I am enriched when reading your thoughts and, therefore, always want more. Because reading this blog is so rewarding and thought provoking for myself, I am shocked that anyone finds any of it offensive! My desire to read your thoughts will continue until you write more, but I will genuinely miss your thoughts til then. I can't say any of my beliefs have been altered or even tested by your written words but I know my thought processes have been broadened beyond measure and I am thinking along paths I would never have known had you not written so eloquently. A funny man with a brain, who would have ever thought it.....

elbogz said...

Writing blocks are tough, especially when words like ***thblpblpblpblpblpb*** are not included in spell check. Some days that is all there really is to say about things.

Jeff Hebert said...

Thanks for the kind and encouraging words, everyone, they're much appreciated.

And elbogz, I can't believe you don't have thblpblpblpblpblpb in your dictionary!