Monday, May 2, 2022

On my new editors

Somebody asked me the other day why I enjoy blogging. Or, for that matter writing, which most people consider an unpleasant chore.

The answer was quite simple and I'm sure other bloggers, like my friends George Tannenbaum, Laura Sweet, Jeff Eaker and Jeff Gelberg, will concur. 

We all knew at an early age that we wanted to be writers. I knew when I was 13 years old. Despite the protestations of my father who said, "You should go into accounting or become a doctor, get a skill that will produce a reliable income."

A reliable income hardly seemed aspirational to a teenager who wanted to make an impact -- even a minimal one -- on the world. And not drive a 1971 Plymouth Valiant. 

With that in mind, as soon as I graduated college I came to Los Angeles, like thousands of other writers, to ply my meager wares. When gaining entry into the entertainment field became impossible, I figured I'd take a different path by going into entertainment's poor redheaded stepchild -- advertising. 

It made sense, as many copywriters successfully made the leap from pimping sugary carbonated water to crafting longer form storytelling that are often financed and controlled by corporate people pimping sugary carbonated water.

And make no mistake, advertising has been very good to me. It still is. I'm 64 years old, making a decent paycheck as well as an impact on the company. As my boss said to me just last week, "I wish I had two of you."

But it's not all low carb non-dairy ice cream and semi-sweet chocolate chips, because like it or not, I have still have people telling me what I should write and more importantly what not to write. 

Hence the birth of RoundSeventeen more than 13 years ago. Here, no one can tell me what to write. I am free to pick the stories I want to tell and tell them the way I want to tell them. And while there's no renumeration for that, it is, for a writer, the greatest joy. Particularly so when I get so much positive feedback. So I must be doing something right.

Until I'm told I'm not.

You see, I have two amazing daughters (who I often forget are taking the grieving journey right by my side) who read what I write and more often than not, enjoy it. Though they don't understand the many inside baseball references to the ad industry.

But recently they raised an objection to my emotional oversharing and the daily tribulations of widowhood. 

"It's too much, Dad. It's like you're begging for sympathy. It feels weird."

Indeed, it does. Because my life revolved so much around my wife and daughters, everything feels weird. From opening a drawer and finding Deb's favorite salad serving bowl, setting off a torrent of tears, to the scary speed with which my fingernails are growing. It's all surreal, dark, painful and sometimes, even funny.

Moving forward I will still share my wonderful memories with Deb, including the zip lining incident of 2015, but I will try do so less often.

Because while Father Knows Best, sometimes Daughters Know Better.


Laura L. Sweet said...

I'm so flattered you chose to include me amongst such good company but you, George and the Jeffs all have more courage than I do. I hide behind the creativity of others, rarely sharing anything truly personal with the exception of a few posts.
I'm sure you've noticed an increase in readership since you began embarrassing your girls with your "emotional oversharing" because that's what people really want. They want to know they aren't alone. That other people hurt, too.
Your poignant and funny anecdotes have not only helped you to heal, but are helping others, too. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Please keep sharing. They will forgive you when they realize how other souls you are helping, comforting, providing support and turning their frowns upside down. 💙

Anonymous said...

The heartfelt comments are what help us all. I can hear my daughters saying the same thing. Give them a kiss and ignore..just this once.