Friday, July 10, 2015

DON'T BORE YOURSELF

JOHN CHIARA
Laney at 5th, Federal Building, 2011. Image on Endura transparency, unique photograph 33 1/2 x 28 1/4 inches.


I've had this blog for almost five years.  Out in Palm Springs, I spent some time going back over what now amounts to almost a thousand posts.

The experience was interesting. All the long, rambling posts in which I thought at the time I was taking a unique, important stand made me cringe.  I've reduced several of them to a few sentences, often consisting of a quote from someone else.

There were long strings of superfluous paragraphs; thoughts that didn't fit; points, often egregiously badly-written, that I hammered on again and again  At times, I squeezed what should have been two or three different posts into one.

While my intent was to include my friends, family, and people I've met along the way, at times I sounded like an insecure teenager shrilling, See how popular I am! While my underlying thought was I can hardly believe that after years on a barstool, I've been able to produce anything of value at all, I often came across as cloyingly self-promoting.

My friend Fr. Terry Richey, former drug and alcohol liaison for the Archdiocese of L.A., is known far and wide for his kindness, wisdom and wit.

I once asked him if he had any tips for giving a good retreat.

“I have only one rule,” he replied. “I’m not allowed to bore myself.”


10 comments:

  1. Writing from the heart and possessing a steel trap mind will never make you boring.

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  2. "Cloyingly self promoting" is the absolute last phrase I would use to describe you Heather.

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  3. Never boring yourself is a good rule for life as well. I think we all cringe when we read what we have written in the past. It shows that we have grown. Obviously people are not bored when reading this blog. You always seem to find new areas to explore!

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  4. I think you're probably being excessively self-critical, and yet, I concur that such self-criticism is generally a good thing to practice. The absence of such self-awareness and growth is so painfully evident in too many bloggers I can think of who love, love, LOVE the sound of their own voices, so to speak.

    You're not one of those! I've never felt that your blog emits a "look at me!" vibe.

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  6. Are you aware that you are so helpful to people? A look in review does not reveal those hidden blessings that have been incorporated into others journeys. Thank you.

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  7. I've found this to be one of the real-est corners of the internet. It is emotionally naked, desires goodness, and strives to find the gold in the grit.

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  8. Well, you had a VERY good piece on celibacy in this month's Eastern Oklahoma Catholic.

    MLH

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  9. Thank you so much, all. Of course I found some good stuff in there, too. I do think it's interesting to take stock every so often--maybe I am seeing a bit how I've grown. The discernment, the discipline, the excitement, your ongoing love and support continue to shape me...I'm back in LA and it's shaping up to be an exceptionally beautiful summer.

    Thanks again.

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    1. While I appreciate the sentiments you shared here, what you should most cling to is: "I can hardly believe that after years on a barstool I've been able to produce anything of value at all." You've a lot to be proud of!

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