Growing up as I did with a Catholic grade school education, I heard a lot of stories about lepers. It seemed like they were everywhere. As unlikely as this probably was, there always seemed to be a bunch of them hanging around wherever Jesus might be taking a walk (so that he could heal them, I assume). Be that as it may, the idea of “the leper” – someone so horrifically disfigured by a disease that was seen as a curse that no one wanted to let that person anywhere near – was the lesson that I actually internalized. And when I was in high school, I was that leper. Or so I thought.
I was cursed (or blessed, depending on who you asked, or the prevailing style) with naturally curly hair. Unruly stuff. Silky, fine-textured and unwilling to conform to any alternate configurations – I suspect unless I applied some really strong chemicals, which I never did. As it grew it expanded out from my head at the same time it encroached more and more into my face and eyes, and would still do so today if I let it. (Most of it grows forward from the back of my head.) But I struggled with it, since long hair was in then. My hair was the stone around my neck. I figured everyone (especially those blessed with long, smooth, shiny tresses) had to hate me. Like it was contagious, or something? What was I thinking?
I was a teenager. Obviously, my brain was malfunctioning, as teenage brains are wont. I stumbled through my high school years avoiding interactions with all but a few of my classmates, positive of their censure. Dummy. I’m so glad I’m several decades older and wiser now. If I felt like a leper for having curly hair, what horrors might the “cool kids” be dreaming up to make themselves feel inadequate? Duh. Although I’m sure there were those among them who were completely confident of their coolness, I’d bet there weren’t as many as I’m sure I thought at the time.
Now, thanks to the internet, and FaceBook, I know a lot of my classmates a lot better than I ever would have imagined. And they’re a cool bunch. But now I know I’m cool, too. Who’d’ve thought that? I have written about this before , and it just so happens that some of us are getting together again this weekend for a pre-Christmas party and maybe a little reunion planning. And maybe some of us will swap “I was a teenage leper” stories. It could happen.
Now I prefer to copy the hair-style of my dog
I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about where I want to take my blogging/writing efforts, and how Crazybasenji fits into my plans. (Obviously I’ve been doing more thinking than writing…)
Now that I’ve had several book reviews published at StoryCircleBookReviews, I feel like I have some legitimate “clips,” examples of my writing that I can use to try and sell my skills in other places. Book reviews will continue to be a big part of what I want to write, since reading books is a requirement for writing book reviews, and there are few things I like better than reading. But I also want to write a better blog. Crazybasenji has been my classroom, and my muse. I had wanted a website called Crazybasenji ever since I came up with the name, inspired by the second basenji I owned, who was truly a crazy-eddie basenji. But I didn’t really have a consistent theme for the blog, and I didn’t work real hard at trying to get more traffic. I’ve studied all kinds of blogging advice books and articles — and blogs — so I know what I’m “supposed” to do. I just haven’t been sure enough of myself to do it… and I feel kind of protective of Crazybasenji.
I think there must be something about the name — because of the “crazy” part — that makes it a spam magnet. I figure more traffic at all will cause an exponential increase in the amount of spam I’ll have to deal with, not to mention the chances of being hacked. Moving the blog to the WordPress universe has made me feel more secure about the hacking part, although I can’t really say why that is. I’ve discovered I’m a lot more limited in the amount of “tweaking” I can do to my theme than when my blog was hosted elsewhere, and that’s a little frustrating. Not frustrating enough to make me put forth the effort to build my own theme, and I certainly can’t afford to pay anyone else to build one for me. So I must soldier on and make do with what’s around me.
In a sense, it’s likely a good thing that I can’t get distracted messing with the theme as much as I used to, since I should be concentrating more on what I write. (Duh!) How many ways is it possible to avoid doing something you’ve set as a “goal for today?” It seems that, even if your goal involves doing something you enjoy, you can find a way to piddle away the time doing other things. Writing is a great example. I think it’s safe to say that most people who start writing blogs do so because they “like to write.” Yet ditching the work of writing is something I see so many blog posts about that it has to be an almost universal phenomenon. You might have a lot to say. You might have a ton of stories to tell. But sitting down and organizing all those thoughts into a coherent whole is a pain in the ass. It’s that simple. One thing to think the stuff up, and quite another to group all those letters together so that it makes sense to anyone else who sees it. Am I right? I know I’m right.
And I’m getting off topic. See how easy that is? What I wanted to — sat down to — write about was my plan to start another blog in the near future where I’ll be more consistent in what I write about — if not in how frequently I post. I won’t abandon Crazybasenji completely, but I’ll try to concentrate more on stories about my dogs — although most of them will be about the ones who are no longer with me — I have a lot of stories I haven’t told. My new blog will be more about the books I read and some more memoir-like stories that I think might have a kernel of wisdom in them that I’d like to share. And I still have some more to write about on my Crazybasenji on Linux blog, about using open source software and how it’s possible to do that and still interact with computers in the proprietary world (Windows and Mac) without having to get a doctorate in computer science (not to mention computer-speak).
I’ve had an idea for the new blog for a while, and now I need to get some original content written before I actually launch it, so I can have several pages of fascinating stuff on there. And, of course, I have to do all this while working my part-time job and going back to school so I can prove to potential full-time employers out there that, yes, people over fifty can learn new things.
Senior class photo. Urp.
This Saturday, I’m going to meet up with some of the people I graduated high school with. It’s not exactly
a reunion, more of a “pre-union,” to find out if there is enough interest to plan a forty-year reunion for 2013. Ugh. That many years? Okay, moving right along.
Reunions are not that unusual for high school or college classes. But I would not usually consider myself the type of person who would attend. I remember an episode of “CSI” when members of the team were asking each other, “which kid were you in high school?” The jock, the cheerleader, the science nerd? Grissom’s answer was, “I was a ghost.” And that came closest to how I would describe myself. For the most part in high school I kept my head down and tried not to call attention to myself. Apparently it worked, because I don’t have any memories of being teased or bullied for being different, for which I feel lucky, and grateful.
Of course there was that time I brought my Great Dane to school for a biology class project, but still.
The point is that I didn’t stay in touch with even the few people who were my closest friends back then, and I don’t know if they’ll be among the people I’ll be seeing on Saturday. But a funny thing has happened. I found one classmate I sort of remembered on Classmates.com, because she had posted a yearbook picture on her profile and I recognized her face, if not her name. And she also said in her profile that she was on FaceBook. So was I. So I looked her up. That led to a whole list of new friend requests shooting back and forth, and eventually the idea of this little get together was proposed. So instead of going into a situation where I don’t know if I’ll remember anyone at all and won’t know if I’ll have anything at all to talk about with any of them, except stuff we did in high school, I now have an idea what some of their interests are and which ones have the kind of oddball sense of humor that I can relate to. In short, the “popular kids” that I would never have had the nerve to try and be buddies with as a teenager, are now adults that I could quite easily be friends with for the rest of my life.
And one of them has a basenji!