It’s time, I guess, for a real blog.  When I think of a “real” blog, I mean an actual diary entry, a log of sorts that’s published on the web – you know, a web log.  That’s how I started out, way back when (less than two years ago when I started blogging regularly on MySpace).  Then people started reading me – which led to a certain level of self-consciousness.  By the end of last year, I’d had around six number one blogs (and several number twos) in a few different categories on MySpace – a feat I’m not sure why I continue to mention (maybe because it makes me sound successful or important, which strikes me as somewhat pathetic).  I knew to mix it up a bit, offer a little something for everyone, read (and especially comment on) a lot of other people’s blogs (they would tend to reciprocate), and reply at length to folks’ comments (which kept them coming back to see my responses, hence increasing my blog views and helping push me up the top blog charts).  That’s not the only reason I responded at length, however.  I genuinely liked a lot of the people I met through blogging, and enjoyed the discussions on numerous topics.

I brought to blogging the survival skill I learned in prison (where I eventually led dialogue groups and taught conflict resolution – something else I feel compelled to disclose to you now because it makes me sound succesful or important, and might help neutralize in some folks’ minds the fact that I was an inmate).  The skill was to mediate conflict and get people to engage in dialogue by myself taking either neither side or both sides of every issue.  I came to see this as a virtue, since nothing is ever totally black or white, every coin has two sides, and all issues are multi-dimensional – when we look at things solely from one limited angle, we do so at our peril.  But I rarely revealed how I actually felt about anything, unless I was fairly confident that most folks who read my blog would agree with me.  I’m better about that now.  But I still worry far too much about pleasing everyone, which sometimes leads to me spreading myself so thin that I end up pleasing no one entirely, least of all myself.

Where am I going with this?  I’m not quite sure.  I should be writing a blog about last night’s poetry benefit for the Sudanese Lost Boys.  I told Michael Salinger I’d write something about it for the Cleveland Poetics blog (http://clevelandpoetics.blogspot.com), and include some of the photos I took there.  I will do so.  But when I attempted to do it this morning, my laptop kept freezing up while I was trying to upload the photos – and just as I was getting a bit frustrated, the four dear grandchildren who are living with us now (ages 6, 5, 4 and 3) got up and prevented me from completing a train of thought longer than 30 seconds.  When their mom finally got up, I left the house for a while, visited my mom who’s battling some sort of winter cold, picked up the sweet potato pie she made me and the blackberry pie she bought for Geri, then came home.  Once again the photos would not upload – and then the lithium batteries in my camera died.  The replacements I thought I had stashed away were apparently appropriated by the children for some toy.  And I didn’t much feel like going back out into the cold to buy batteries, especially when my wife would be going to the same store when she got off work tonight.  So I decided to let the Lost Boys blog wait for tomorrow (I warned Salinger it might take a few days anyway) and added another T.S. Eliot piece to the Crisis Chronicles Online Library.

By the time I was done, I had puppy shit to clean up.  The dog had eaten something resembling rope (I think it was part of her blanket).  First it bound her up, then diarrhea came out around it, and finally strand-filled hard poop came out.  Problem is, it didn’t all come out, so she was running around the house with a turd hanging out of her ass by a string – and the children were chasing her.  So I got her outstide and she tried to poop it out, rub it off, and grab it with her teeth, all to no avail – and finally I had to get hold of her and pull the stringy shit out of her butt myself.  Then I came in to discover 6-year old Marcus had had diarrhea so bad it somehow made its way up his pajamas to his chest.  His mom cleaned that up while I washed the dog bed.  And somehow in the process I lost my appetite for the sloppy joes Rose had made.

I’m leaving a lot out, but you get the idea.  There’s all kind of stuff to write about and there’s always someone (even if it’s just me) who doesn’t want me to write about it.  That’s why my blog is sometimes the non-blog it is.  And somehow, though I have in the last year gotten a bit more fearless about expressing strong opinions here, I realize I’m still not giving it all up, so to speak.  Perhaps that makes me a fake on some level.  But I take consolation in the fact that I’m by no means the only one.  And who wants to hear about this shit anyway?  I’ve got a lot of good writers reading my blog now and I want to look professional, want to show my right profile (as opposed to my wrong profile), and get their attention.  But hey, this isn’t a newspaper or a magazine or even a résumé, though I sometimes treat it as such.  It’s a blog (I almost said “fucking blog,” but is it really having sex?).  So this entry might shatter some illusions.  It’s not well thought out (and I’m not trying to avoid sentence fragments or ending sentences with prepositions like “out”).  It’s not even inspired, consistent, or perhaps even coherent.  It’s just a stream of my thoughts.  And sometimes I think if I can’t just say what I want – and art or artifice be damned – then why write at all?  But there’s plenty of drivel to read in plenty of places.  Why would anyone but my closest friends and family want to read mine as well?

No editing, little thinking… I’m just rambling.  This is a “real” blog?  I think they’re all real, actually – though this entry might REveAL things that most of my blog entries wouldn’t dare reveal.  Hell, folks might even find this an interesting change of pace.  But I suspect their interest would wane if this type of entry became the rule instead of the exception.

Meanwhile, I’m intentionally avoiding telling you anything about last night’s event – I’ll save that for tomorrow, when I’m less distracted, and for the Cleveland Poetics blog (though Salinger said he won’t mind if I post it here as well).  I have to leave you with something to look forward to….

Perhaps there are far too many photos of me online already anyway.  But I feel rather naked not posting a photo with this blog.  So here’s a previously uploaded one (only posted on Facebook) that Dianne Borsenik took of me in the parking lot after a Deep Cleveland poetry reading on 8/8/2008 in Strongsville.  If you’ve seen the Beavis and Butt-head movie, you know what I’m trying to say here.  “I am Cornholio!  I need TP for my bung hole!  Are you threatening me?”  It can all be peace and poetry… if you look at it the right way.