All The Things I’m Not Saying

Blog posts come. They come in the shower, I swear, one contained in each tiny pinprick of hot water. They come when I am nodding off in the recliner, ‘doing some reading’ while Fresco floats off to napland in his crib. They come when the second gulp of coffee tumbles over my tongue.

Once the keyboard is under my fingers, I notice crumbs beneath the keys. I notice that some of the keys are worn shiny and others are not. I consider and discard this as a blog post topic. I recall the ideas I had earlier but they feel half-formed and pointless, like dreams. I discard them, too.

I just keep letting these ideas beat their little wings against my brain. I never catch the butterfly and pin that fucker to a board.

Yesterday I had an idea for a blog post. Later, I spent an hour writing it down. It was funny and cranky and mean. 1300 words about how funny and cranky and mean I was. I finished it, I read it over, and I felt — terrible. It was actually more mean and less funny. Not as funny as it could have been. Not a kind of funny that I currently appreciate. So I killed it.

What I have always loved about blogging is: you type and type and type and then you hit publish and WALLA (you’re going to want to follow that link) it is done. People comment, or don’t, and you move on. It’s over. Unless it’s (for me) a post about sleep, sickness, shoe shopping, or America’s Next Top Model, I will never revisit the ideas within a particular post in exactly the same way.

It bears repeating that even on the Internet, where we can self-publish, not everything has to be published. Not everything has to be written down. Not everything needs to make it to the second or third or fourth draft. Kill your babies.

But – I made that. Why would I destroy it?

Because it sucks. And now that the idea has been fully fleshed and shown to suck, there is part of that idea that can be used somewhere else. That baby’s liver, this baby’s kidney.

Oh macabre.

When I write and type and type and write and then, at the end, decide to kill the baby, well it’s awful. I mean, that was an hour! and it’s gone! What are you thinking? Just trim it, revise it, take it in a different direction. Throw in a picture. Don’t kill it! Please!

(No, it’s dead.)

This, here is the kidney. This experience; that I took the step of evaluating something I wrote and decided it was not worthy of even self-publishing. (even!)

A wise man named Tom Cochrane said it best:

The secret is to know when to stop.

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