Writing For The Sake Of Writing

As this school year mercifully limps towards the finish line, I am beginning to feel the first bits of excitement for the long, hot Summer ahead. Having the Summers off is one of the big draws to becoming a teacher. In fact, for many it is their first draw. Then by the end of their first or second year the new teacher will either fall by the wayside and come to the conclusion that the “life” isn’t for them and pursue other interests or they will realize that connecting with kids and at the very least, attempting to make a difference for said kids is one of the most wonderful ways to make a buck in this increasingly confusing world. Then the Summer vacation clause becomes the cherry on the sundae. So here we are; a mere few weeks away from the final bell of the last day of school and everyone is getting antsy. Poor us, right?

Like last year, I plan on taking a hiatus from this blog for the Summer to explore other ways of voicing my thoughts and opinions to the ether. Which leads me to the point of this post; when you write a blog that very few people read, the best you can hope for is to make someone laugh, smile or think out there in internetland. The only weapon you need against the idea that your efforts are futile bordering on laughably narcissistic at best and a horrible time waster at worst; is the ability to understand and be OK with the fact that you’ll never know if anything you’ve written will actually make someone smile, laugh or think. It is an odd feeling. Odd insofar as that once you have that support infrastructure in place, you are able to write freely with little concern about if only one person reads what you have scribbled down or in fact anyone for that matter. Writing is an exercise. It can change the course of human history as in the case with the Magna Carta or the Declaration of Independence. Or, as in the case with this blog, be little more than an outlet for an ornary, opinionated, kinda funny, incredibly attractive in a classic archetypal-hero sense, guy to vent his frustrations and talk some smack.

So as I look to shut this Hindenburg of a blog down in a few weeks, I feel it important to reminisce over the previous year. However, I don’t want to. That is the best part of having your own blog. You don’t have to do anything at all other than sign up for the account if you dont want to. One thing that sticks out though; every once in a while I ask myself, “if no one is reading this thing, what is the point”? Again, you must have armor at the ready, which once put on, allows you to slough off the slings and arrows of frustration when endeavoring to partake in amateur punditry. The answer to the, ‘what’s the point’ question is a satisfying albeit safe and relatively self-aggrandizing idiom: if you are writing to make other people happy, you are writing for the wrong reason. So while that is self-serving and exists to offer the individual writer a self-made pedestal of stolen artistic integrity, it doesn’t destroy the truth that writing is really only important when the author thought it important enough to write what they thought was an important story to tell and stayed true to their own honesty. In a perfect world, measurable honesty. Very Hemingway, I know.

I will post a couple more times before this school year crosses the finish line and the white checkered flag is waved. Maybe. Right now, I am enjoying my writing over at Premier Punditry. Sports writing offers me an outlet in which I can test out whether or not I have the chops to type out some words that aren’t based solely on ideology (the politics of this blog) and actually write something about results, both good and bad. It remains to be seen what happens with this blog or with whatever I churn out and whoever decides it’s worthy of note. That’s what makes it both fun and tedious, equally.

You may be asking yourself; what kind of guy writes about his pseudo-second career as an amateur blowhard in this kinda way? Who cares about this dude? The answer to that is: the kind of guy who has his own barely-read blog and still tries to post regularly. And I like me. So, poo on you.


Writing For The Sake Of Writing

J. M.’s Lenten Survival Guide

Good day. In lieu of a Friday observation which I haven’t really done in a while anyway, I have decided to post a bullet-proof guide to surviving Lent. Why should you listen to someone who isn’t a member of the clergy when it comes to something so important to Christian formation? Easy. Because I have a degree in Theology and obviously having a degree in anything makes you a Jedi-level¬†expert. Enjoy.

  1. When Do We Abstain From Meat, When Do We Fast?: This is a biggie. According to Canon 1250-3, Catholics are to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays throughout Lent. Catholics are also required to fast on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is the practice of having one large meal plus two small meals not equaling one large meal throughout the course of a day with no snacks in between mealtimes. This seems arduous to many Catholics. They look at these dietary rules and shy away like a cat from a vacuum cleaner. The commonality shared by these particular Catholics is an almost alarming desire for meat at all times and a cabinet full of organic, holistic gout medications. There are also some Catholics who don’t seem to understand the purpose of this fasting and abstinence and decide that since they can’t have meat on Fridays, a four pound lobster and quart of melted butter is a decent substitute. QUESTION: Will Catholics who do not observe these rules go to Hell? ANSWER: Yes.
  2. What Should I Give Up for Lent?: Tough decision. We need to examine our lives and pick out the one thing that hardly ever crosses our mind, the one action we only undertake once every two months, the one joy that we forget that we like when we don’t have it directly in front of us, the one food or drink that we sorta like but don’t really care about and give that up. WRONG. Hell-bound, soulless bastards and she-bastards! Let benevolent Uncle J. M. edumacate you. We are supposed to give something up which we actually like. The point of this, is to be reminded more than once a day that it is Lent and when our desire for whatever we have given up shows itself in our minds, to replace that desire with thoughts about Jesus and His sacrifice for us. Also; giving up cheating on your spouse, serial killing, heavy meth use, peeping and armed robbery are not acceptable things to give up for Lent. You should just give those up anyway, ya know?
  3. How Long Does Lent Last?: Eternity. It lasts for eternity.
  4. Kids and Lent / Easter: I can hear you asking, “J.M., my kids are small and although I want them to understand the true meaning for the penitential season and the feast of Easter, I don’t want to get too heavy and ruin all the fun for them. What do I do”? Have no more worries, my silly, stupid, ignorant friend. Uncle J has the answer. First, tell your child about Jesus. Talk to them at an early age about the importance of God in our lives and the importance of the Church as a guide directly to Jesus Himself. You don’t have to rip the Easter bunny away from your child when they are little. However, if your child is approaching 13 and still believes in the bunsman, it might be time to put an end to it with the following story: Last night the Easter bunny was caught in a high-profile drug bust and was coked out of his mind. He charged the cops and they opened fire. He’s dead. Now go to sleep. Problem, meet solved!
  5. Do I Need to Go to Confession During Lent?: Who sees you when you’re sleeping AND knows when you’re awake? Who knows if you’ve been bad or good? If you said, “Santa” then you should reexamine your sick, twisted, Godless mind for goodness sake. The answer is God. The Church teaches us that we must go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year during the Easter season if I read Canon 920 correctly. However, someone like you should try to go at least once a day. God’s love and mercy is infinite, mercifully for you. I’m not going to lie here; I try to go at least once a month. Which clearly makes me a better person than you. Sin of pride, you say? Not if it’s true.
  6. Lent Seems Kinda Sad: It’s supposed to be. You’re catching on.
  7. What Should I Make For Easter Dinner?: This is getting pathetic now. Just get some Spam and a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. Instant classic.

So there it is, folks. You are most welcome.

Disclaimer: This was obviously a joke. Use Lent to bring yourself closer to Our Lord. Reflect on His sacrifice, His love for you and how lucky you are to take a breath each day. Use Easter to take all of that reflection and turn it into an expression of Christ’s love. Give to charity, help others, love your family, love your friends, love yourself, be nice, be happy, be confident and above all, say thank you. Many people have written about why we should say thank you to Jesus. I believe that one of the most important reasons why we should eludes many people. We should say thank you because He never asked us to say thank you. Humility, kids. Live it.

J. M.’s Lenten Survival Guide