Hello. I’m Clinton, and I’m a blogger.

Hello, Clinton.

Today, I exposed myself for what I really am. I rolled over and let show my big, soft, sensitive-writer underbelly.

I told someone I blog. In person. Face to face.

I felt, I don’t know, almost dirty. To some people it would have been better if I’d said, “excuse me while I go shoot up with my crack hos, traffic some granny p*rn and kick a few puppies.”

“Thank God!” they’d say. “At least you’re not blogging!”

You know? You either blog or you don’t, and I get the feeling that the don’ts lump all the dos into one big pool — an overly warm pool with a greasy film, stuffed shoulder-to-shoulder with Speedo-clad fat men with hairy backs and middle-aged women badly in need of orthodontia picking scabs off their foreheads.

A while back I told a poet I used to know well that I started a blog. I could hear and feel her exasperated sigh. And that was by email. I think some writers see blogging as the ultimate shameless vanity press. Well, dammit, so what? Until I get a book advance that’ll buy that little cabin in Maine it’s good enough for me. I told other friends, and their response, again by email, was polite, but it was laced with “Really, Clinton. It’s come to this? Do you need money?”

Perhaps I’m over-analyzing. Many people have been very supportive.
Regardless, until today I’ve only announced this blog only by email (except to the step-mom, who considers any computer-centric activity as a scurrilous vice) and I’ve never told someone I might see within the next few months, hoping that maybe they would forget the whole thing. I’ve been far to big a chicken. I figure if I tell someone in person about my Quixotic musings they might be forced to restrain from laughing, or wincing, and in the South that’s just impolite.

It’s also very revealing, because I try not to color my posts by imagining people, even my friends, laughing or wincing. It’s a little like inviting someone over to my house for the expressed purpose of combing through my closet (not that there’s anything illicit hiding under my t-shirts) and leaving the bathroom door open while I pee. I’ve been on the verge of telling people … “I do this thing on my computer, in my spare time, late at night in my office at home, all alone, with the lights turned out so my wife and daughter don’t know. …” Somehow it just never felt right.

Today, though, damn the torpedoes! I told a fellow writer and fellow parent. It would probably be at least several weeks before I had to face her again, I thought. She’s very nice. I had no more reason to believe she’d be repulsed than anyone else. So I stammered and stuttered, and tossed the idea around in my head a few times before I actually spilled it. She didn’t laugh out loud. Her expression didn’t betray disdain, not that I could tell.

Unlike the news bloggers, I don’t usually have an urgent message to relay — not that pooping on rocks isn’t important. Unlike political wonks I’m not grinding any ideals. And I’m not writing to anyone in particular. I just want to write about my kid. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell an Ella story that I don’t also want to blog about, or that’s not related to one of my posts. But I want the writing to be good. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the closet’s messy and the door to the can is ajar, sometimes things are orderly and couth.

At times like this, I often remember Popeye, my first childhood animated hero, who would say, “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.”

There. It’s off my chest. Now I just have to believe that a greater power can restore me to sanity.

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