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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Monday, January 19, 2009

CAVEAT to "Unsettled" Chapter 13-B

Don't you love the word caveat? I don't use it in writing often. Perhaps because it sounds so much like caviar, which cannot be said without putting on airs, but more likely because I rarely use a word I'm not sure how to spell. (And yes, I confess, I just looked up caveat and was right on the first try). But anyway... I thought it might be a good idea to post a caveat before Chapter 13-B.

Blogs are an interesting place to write about life for at least two reasons: They can be a journal (i.e. a place to think on paper (without the paper), but journals should never be confused with diaries. Journals are personal but public--written to be read by many. Whereas, a diary is very private--not meant for others' eyes (which, of course, is why they are so fascinating to read).

The other reason blogs are an interesting place to write about life is that they are always "in process." They are both active and interactive. Through comments and "counters" bloggers know that others have taken at least a passing interest in what they have to say.

"Art for art sake" is a fine concept, but if it were entirely true, paintings would be hung facing the wall and not the hall. Make no mistake, whether it's a painting or a page, the thought that others care to see it is rich reward. Thank you for reading here.

But the truth is, I have no idea who does read here at POI (other than some family and friends and a few dozen of you whom I've enjoyed meeting through this process). Because of this, I tend to be careful in my writing--careful not to say too much about my current shared life (e.g. job, family, etc. That's what Facebook is for. But never doubt that it's my current life that fills the gaps between posts here at POI.)

Likewise, I'm somewhat careful when writing stories about my past because it, too, is shared. My 98-year-old grandmother occasionally reads Patterns of Ink posts that friends print for her. Other relatives and my siblings read here, too. You get the idea: I try to be careful.

I've been wrestling with this upcoming chapter for two reasons: First, because this Saturday marks one year since that Twilight Zone experience of flying back from Thailand just in time to spend two days with Mom before the family gathered 'round her to say our long good bye. And second, because I am protective of her memory, and I don't want to write about things that may be misunderstood or used to misrepresent her.

But I've reached the conclusion that in order to fully understand this or any story about my family--indeed, to fully understand the essence of "family" itself, all families everywhere--it's necessary that I share an unpleasant secret of sorts, something I didn't even know until long after that summer we dug the well.

Don't worry, I won't be "airing dirty laundry." I'm just sharing a slice of our life with Mom, something I've only hinted at in previous posts or poems. Something that anyone who truly knew my mother knew in real life and loved her just the same.

You may laugh or cry or both. I don’t know. It's a long chapter--a little rough, and I'm sure it will get tweaked for many days after I post it, but I wanted to add this caveat a day or two before I hit that orange "publish post" button on a chapter that has been very hard to write.
P.S. Three Nephew updates: Congratulations to my sister Kathy's son Ben, who reads here. Ben's wife Mary gave birth yesterday to their first child, a beautiful baby girl. I'm a "great uncle" again! On my nephew Geoff's Facebook page he writes about his recent birthday, "Other than not being happy I'm no longer a teenager, twenty is a pretty useless age." And last but not lease, my other nephew (also named Geoff) writes "I'm so glad Martin Luther King Jr. was born during the school year and not summer."

See... I do write sometimes about my "current" life.
Happy MLK/Pre-inauguration Day!


Blogger the walking man said...

It can be hard to remain honest and truthful when writing for public consumption. Yet it is that honesty and truth that the public is hungry for.

I think them who read of your moms peculiarity understand that "peculiar is normal."

Congratulations on your "grand" status being confirmed.

Push the button Tom.

20/1/09 4:43 AM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

Ya Tom! Push da button.

20/1/09 6:42 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks TWM and Dr. John,

13-B is a long long tangled mess right now, and I've taken the evening off to digest the inaugural recaps, etc. Also just watched President Bush speaking in Midland, Texas. I wish I knew how to actually send him my letter. I'm very proud of how he handled this day and I wish him the best. But I am also planning to tweak later tonight, so who knows....

20/1/09 6:57 PM  
Blogger Family Man said...

Excellent post. Both this and your letter. Writing for public readership is hard, and sometimes frustrating. I applaud you for your honesty.

Puch the button!

21/1/09 10:32 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Family Man and others,

So sorry for the delay. It's a very busy week for me, but I hope to push the button soon.

21/1/09 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I agree, writing for the web is tricky work...how much to share and what to share...

I struggle as well. Sometimes that orange button can be intimidating.

It is a delicate balancing act, being honest, yet veiled.

Having said that - Great blog! I will probably stop back again. :)

22/1/09 8:00 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Welcome to Patterns of Ink. Thanks for your consolation. I needed it..really stuggling with that "what to leave unsaid" thing.

To add to the difficulty, I think my laptop has a virus or something. It's taking forever for the screen to show what I'm typing.
Really hard to edit the chapter under these conditions.

22/1/09 10:40 PM  

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