Monday, December 1, 2014

Introductions, 2014 (Holidailies)

I'm a blogger. Wait, no I'm not. I used to be a blogger. One of those blog-every-day hell-or-high-water types. I went a year or two at a stretch without missing a day. Now, with the exception of Decembers, I can almost go a year at a stretch without blogging a day. It's like the evil twin of my former blogging self.

I'm a writer. Wait, am I? I don't know. I thought I was, but except for NaNoWriMo and Holidailies, I don't really show it. I did manage 50k of a novel last month, and I have high hopes of finishing what's probably about 1/3 finished at 50k over the next few months. And I'm committing to blogging here. But am I a writer? I guess we'll see. Time will tell and all that, since a writer isn't a state of being so much as a state of doing. You write or you don't, and right now I am. Good enough, right?

I'm a father. No, seriously, I am. It's still a little unbelievable, even though my oldest is almost five. But I think they've aged me ten years in five, so yes, I'm a father. They've also completely redefined so many things for me. I'm not sure I really knew what love was until I had children. There's a song that says "I'm gonna need a second heart for all this love," and it's not just the quantity, it's the whole experience. I couldn't have understood it until it happened. Maybe I still don't.

I'm an educator. I'm not, technically, a teacher any more: after 10 years in the classroom and the rehearsal room, 10 years teaching music and English, I've spent that past five working in student life at a boarding school. I'm still teaching, though: social skills, academic skills, leadership skills, resilience, and--let's hope--just plain human being skills. I loved the classroom, I miss it sometimes, but I feel like I'm doing good work in this role, too.

I'm a jock. No I'm not. Wait, what does that even mean? I'm 37, and a year or two ago another adult prefaced some remark or other by saying "Of course, you're a jock, so..." And I'm thinking: are you kidding me? The kid who, in elementary school, collapsed dramatically rather than finish the mile run for the Presidential Fitness Test, since he was 1) the only one still running and 2) not getting a medal with zero pull-ups and laughable numbers on the other events, he's a jock? The kid whose favorite part of junior high track--indeed, the only bright spot--was walking from the junior high to the high school, which took us into a gas station where we loaded up on candy, that little butterball is a jock? The kid whose high school activities revolved around band, drama, choir, quiz bowl (if you don't know what it is, trust me, it's as nerdy as it sounds), writing, and--finally, in my junior and senior years--tennis, he's a jock? And yet, it's true that in the last decade or so I've taken a more or less strong interest in health and fitness--I lift weights religiously, I educate myself about exercise and fitness, and apparently it's all paid off by adding "jock" to my list of nerd credentials.

I'm an amateur cook and something of a foodie. The kid who, growing up, was just about the pickiest eater ever--the kid who gagged on peas and broccoli, avoided raisins and bananas, wouldn't eat apple dumplings even though he separately liked both apples and dumplings (and, come one, they're apple dumplings!), that kid grew into an adult who loves all kinds of foods, domestic and exotic, and does virtually all the cooking for his family. I won't say I identify as "Paleo," and I certainly don't follow that kind of eating template religiously, but I've been influenced by the principles (which is a shame, because I make some awesome breads, cakes, cookies, and pies).

I'm a player. A game player, I mean. Growing up, my family played a ton of board and card games. The big game in our family was called Five Hundred, which at the end of the day is basically Bridge. But we also played Pinochle, Canasta, Spades, Hearts, and Euchre. We played other card games like Rook, Flinch, Touring (a knock-off of Mille Bornes, which we also played), and Uno. We played all the regular board games you would expect of a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s, and probably a few you wouldn't expect. And then, in the 2000s, I discovered real board games, the German and European games and the ones they influenced: games that were more complicated or interesting than mere roll the dice and move around the board types, games with interesting mechanics and deeper strategy. Things like the gateway games Settlers of Catan and Carcassone, Blokus and Rumis, and from there to games like Agricola, Ricochet Robots, Power Grid, Diplomacy... okay, I don't want to turn this into a boring list for those who don't know the games. But if there's a board game and it's awesome, then I've probably at least heard of it.

I'm a Renaissance man. Or maybe it's a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. Somewhere on that continuum. I've never been good at limiting myself or my interests: I was a double-major (English and music) in college. I went to graduate school for music and majored in choral conducting and composition, because I couldn't choose just one. Teaching in boarding schools for most of my working life has been good: I've gotten lots of opportunities to learn new things through the years. My blog kind of follows the same clear lack of a clear plan, which is one of the reasons for its name. When I blog at all--which, as we've already established, is pretty much only in December--I blog about all kinds of things. I guess the upside there is that if you don't like what I'm blogging about one day, come back the next day, since it will probably be something completely different tomorrow.

And that's me.


  1. I think it's telling that so many of us holidinos are no longer daily bloggers. I miss the discipline of that daily practice. This year, I'm podcasting my entries as well as posting them. Because I'm insane like that.

  2. Me too. Thinking back to my days of daily blogging, I know that back then I felt like part of a larger blogging community--a number of us who all read one another's blogs and had a sort of ongoing conversation among ourselves, while also expressing our own interests.

  3. I still blog, but I mostly do it weekly--of course, that's because weekdays are boring/crappy/involve work so what am I gonna say when it's not a weekend?

    Unfortunately, most people just tweet now and that's why nobody can write longer than a sentence any more, which depresses me.

  4. Ah, you're back for Holidailies--yay!

  5. Jennifer: I know what you mean--the weekdays are so busy!

    Karen: thanks! It's nice to be missed! I see you're back up for Holidailies too: yay right back at you!