Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On the Fence

I'm on the fence on this blogging thing. There's a peaceful, but uneasy feeling about it.

facebook is fine. It's easy. Quick hits, short sentences, and the interaction with lots of friends. Blogging takes time, effort, and is a lot more solitary. I could probably use my time more wisely.

And, who cares what I have to say? With facebook, I seem to amuse some, annoy others. But, it's a way to express ones self, and put something out there for all of us to laugh about. Or think about. I love being connected, or reconnected with people I care about, all over the world.

Blogging seems self-indulgent, self serving. The smart people call it narcissistic. "Exactly," says my friend, Mark Dial. "Anybody who uses social media has those tendencies," he tells me. Though I love to interact, despite what others might think, I don't like to be the center of attention.

I journal. Making my living as a photojournalist, I love photography. And I don't mind writing from time to time. Especially if it's something interesting to me. Or something others may find interesting. I've taken notes on nearly all of my motorcycle trips. Also, on a trip to Europe to see the Formula One race in Belgium, back in 2000.

My interest in journaling began around age 11-12. It was a stop in Aldrich's drugstore, in Pittsfield to purchase candy, that a book got my attention. Next to the candy were razors, shaving cream, etc. Personna, a blade/razor manufacturer, had a package deal. Included with the razor was a copy of "Instant Replay," a book written by Jerry Kramer of the Green Bay Packers. I loved the Packers. The book was Kramer's day by day account of his last year with the team, culminating with a Super Bowl win. I read that book, and loved it.

My well-worn copy of Instant Replay

A couple of years later, something bad happened in our family. On February 9th, 1973, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. For whatever reason, I began taking notes. At first, on a daily basis. Then, I got distracted for a period of time in March, I think. I'm not sure why I began taking notes. To cope with the situation, maybe. But I know Kramer's book was an influence.

I scribbled my thoughts and observations, long hand, on notebook paper. A good printer, but a poor penman, they were generally short entries. Written from the perspective of a 14-year-old, refusing to acknowledge his dad was really sick.

This went on for three months. On May 9th, three months to the day after he was diagnosed, dad died.

The notes survived. Packed away most of the time. They've never been read or shared with anyone. Not even mom.

My memory is really good. There are situations and things said during that three month period of time, that I didn't bother to write down. In 1993, there was an attempt to go back and "fill in the blanks," and add to the original notes. That project was abandoned.

It's been 40 years now. If nothing else, this blog will serve a purpose to see this project through. My hope is to type on a daily basis, beginning Saturday the 9th. Giving my original, 1973 account, filling in the blanks from back then, and adding thoughts from 2013. I was 14 then. I'm 54 now.

Why go public? It's certainly not for sympathy or attention. I just wonder if people may find interest in reading about it. Simple as that. What is the point of journaling, if all those notes and thoughts wind up in a steamer trunk in the attic? I don't make photos, and then stash them in the closest. Why journal if not to share? I'll put it out there. Read along if you care to.

The original notes from 1973


  1. Good writing Kent. I think you're one of the FEW who should be blogging.

  2. Such a tragic story relayed so fluently.