The week I started this blog, I rushed down to my parents’ home in Tucson for a December visit. They saw me working non-stop on the blog or it’s correlating newsletter and social media, but didn’t say a whole lot of anything about it.
One afternoon, my mother and I ran to the store while my father napped. “One of these days here soon I’ll have to look at this little website of yours,” my perfectly well-intended mother said.
I couldn’t believe it. Did she just call it little? It’s not little. It’s a big deal! Wait a minute… she hasn’t even looked at it yet? But it’s gorgeous!
In all fairness, my mother has mastered the art of staying matriarchally overwhelmed in her retirement years. Between cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, scrapbooking, counting her Beanie Babies, catching up on her iPad, and then catching up on her TV shows… she really doesn’t have a lot of time for much else. If my life now is any indication of my future, I will probably be doing the same (minus the Beanie Babies).
Still though, I felt a tad bummed that she hadn't been more enthusiastic for my venture. Granted I wasn’t sure if I really wanted her looking at the blog anyway. I knew it would grow to deal with some major adult themes that she wouldn’t want to see her baby boy tackling. But I still needed the support and encouragement now more than ever.
Since I also knew I’d be getting naked on it from time to time, I decided to warn her of this.
“Why will you be getting naked?” she asked totally surprised, as though she had never teased me for doing naked yoga.
I explained that it was part of my experiment; to live in total exposure and not hold back. This meant my body; not just my emotions. Plus it’s fun and weird and exciting and scary and different. So why not?
“But what if you get arrested?” She was very concerned.
I took a moment to imagine what it would be like if everyone who got naked on the internet got a arrested. “Why would I get arrested?” I asked.
“I don’t know. What if someone underage looked at it?”
I couldn’t tell if she made some kind of valid point or not. I reassured her that it wasn’t pornography and that I’d put disclaimers on any post that will contain nudity. It’s funny that a woman of such caution could raise a son of such gumption.
The week after I got back from my trip, our friend, Brandon Witt, hosted his annual “Gay Boy Christmas Dinner.” It’s small, intimate, lovely and freaking hilarious. Complete with the best of white elephant exchanges, it is without a doubt my favorite event of the holiday season.
Brandon is an accomplished author and the epitome of ruggedly handsome. In case you don’t believe me, go to his Instagram to check out more of his gingery, tattooed, furry goodness and just try not to immediately clutch at your pearls. Brandon Witt’s Instagram
Even though we have completely different genres, Brandon has inspired me in my own pursuit of writing. He quit his job as a special ed teacher to live out his dream of being an author. This helped me to find a way to quit my job in social work and do the same.
Brandon had our support years back from his start in publishing. As new found friends, we traveled to Boulder, CO for his first in-store reading/signing and purchased his book. I warned him that I would never read it though. My ADHD brain refuses let me “read good” when it comes to the fiction. Since then, he has published numerous books.
Back at this year’s Christmas Dinner, the white elephant portion of evening had begun. The first person picked up my clever gift in which I had cleverly attached a clever limerick I cleverly wrote to the front of it. Nobody wanted to read it out loud though. The room fell a little silent. Perhaps it wasn’t so clever or people don't like reading aloud or they just don’t like limericks like I do. Either way, it kicked things off to an awkward start.
When my fifth place in line arrived, I picked a box and opened it. There was a random assortment of things. A ten-inch Denzel Washington-esque black, muscle santa claus made of chocolate. Everyone giggled. Then a water glass with a logo on the front that said “Mapping The Forrest.” Upon sight of it, a couple of the guys sighed with adornment.
“I don’t get it,” I said, not understanding why some of them immediately loved it. “What is ‘Mapping The Forrest?’”
The room got awkward again - I clearly had a knack at this.
“That’s one of Brandon’s last books!” one friend finally stepped in and said. You could tell he silently attached the phrase “, you idiot!” to the end of his statement.
I couldn’t believe it (again). A surge of regret flooded through me. I immediately apologized and began word vomiting in front of everyone to explain myself. I wasn’t getting on Facebook all that much! I had been working too hard on my own writing to pay attention! I can’t read fiction! None of my excuses really excused me though - not even my ADHD.
When I launched this blog and posted it’s birth on Facebook, Brandon had immediately picked it up and re-posted about it on his page for all of his own readers to see. It was incredibly generous of him. At a bare minimum, I could’ve at least paid attention and acknowledged his latest publishings. I felt like the biggest jack ass on planet earth that night.
On the car ride from the dinner to our next party, I couldn’t help but feel reminded of my mother and how I may have been more like her than I thought. Of course mothers aren’t jackasses. They are naive saints at best. Unless a mother is abusive or something. Then she’s a jack ass.
But this essay isn’t about abusive mothers. It’s about those finer moments in life when we realize we may not be offering the very thing we wish to receive. I felt a tad let down that my mother wasn’t engaging in my latest project. Meanwhile, I had been doing the same thing to my friend over what could have been the last couple of years.
I once read a study that said it means more to friends when you are there for them in their times of successes rather than their times of grief and loss (although those are important too). Who knows if it was accurate or not? But who cares?! It’s an important concept to keep in mind - that when we throw ourselves into our own work or relationships or life, that our friends still exist and its just as important to be aware of their ventures too.
Brandon Witt is a gracious friend and a talented author. How do I know he is so talented if I’ve never read his books? Because I also happen to know a lot of smart people who have read his books and they thoroughly enjoyed them. If you’d like to check out his work, click here to visit your nearest Amazon book store.
PS - Mom, stop reading my blog.
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