Today, I have no ideas, except to reach into my BLOG folder, take out the first piece of paper, and Go!

That’s not right. It’s not that I have no ideas, it’s that some of them take three and a half years to incubate. There is a giant, submerged, thrumming nest of eggs in my file drawers. Sometimes they get tired of being ignored. Today, they are not being ignored.

A scrap of paper, lines scrawled in blue:


Life Without Training Wheels — blog title

Take something you know, add it to something else you know, and you’ll get something you don’t know. —John Osebold

Softball at Clausen Miller Gorman Caffrey & Witous
Paul Berg

return to WL

First of all, I wrote down “blog title” in 2011? So I’ve been pondering the titling of blogs for more than 3 years? Have blogs really been a “thing” that long? (Well, yes: I remember my half-brother updating the list of movies he’d seen on his weblog, believing correctly that other people would want to read a list of movies my half-brother had seen. This took place at the turn of the century, plus or minus 2 years.

When did you start reading weblogs? When did you start calling them blogs? When did you start writing your blog, or thinking you’d like to write a blog, or trying to figure out how to monetize your blog, or realizing that monetizing wasn’t where it was at, it was at relationship building…

Apparently, I did in September of 2011. On my birthday, as a matter of fact. Forty-five years old, still not blogging.

Life Without Training Wheels. I can’t remember exactly what this meant to me at the time (Q: Isn’t that the point of taking notes, so you can remember what things meant to you at the time? A: No, you takes notes so you can forget.) but I’ll tell you what it means now. There are no safety devices that will protect you from falling over while you learn. So stop trying to keep yourself safe and let both your feet up off the ground. Bicycling is the closest thing I know to flying, though I’d love to go parasailing or hang-gliding or parachuting when I’m a bit older.

After my midlife crisis, I was pretty sure I’d have to balance myself on my own wits. And so, I imagine, I have.

Take something you know, add it to something else you know, and you’ll get something you don’t know. —John Osebold. I bet this was in CityArts, but I can’t find the source of this quote, and I’ve never spoken to John Osebold though I’d probably enjoy meeting him, since I seem to enjoy meeting interesting people all the time. It’s kinda my hobby.

I like the way John Osebold is talking about synthesis; I used to have to talk about synthesis when I was teaching English composition and now I get to talk about it by choice. That and juxtaposition. Love talking about “juxtaposition.” Used to crack this one kid up. Then I switched to “ascertain”…

Softball at Clausen Miller Gorman Caffrey & Witous. Ooh, Example Number One of life without training wheels. I worked for six months and two weeks at Clausen Miller and I signed up for softball because I wanted to make work friends. Rule One: We drink whether we win or lose. Rule Two: You don’t play one game, you start the next. I’d never played softball before (didn’t I just write about this? If I were a perfectionist I’d go back and check and revise, but I’m running out of time to post today), and that first summer, I made Most Improved Player.

Example Number Two: Paul Berg. I want to save most of this story for later and elsewhere, but the basic idea is that Paul Berg was giving me a ride from Centrum Summer Writer’s Workshop to the ferry, and he asked if instead of going home I’d like to take a road trip with him to Astoria. My first thought was, “I’m not the kind of person to do that sort of thing,” and my second thought was, “I’m 20 fucking years old — how do I know what kind of person I am?” No training wheels.

Finally, return to WL: Example Number Three. West Lafayette, Indiana, is my hometown (though I was actually born in Lafayette, since the hospital was across the Wabash). There was no preparing for the return to the my lost Eden and finding it a bit dingy and provincial, plus disgustingly hot at night. My visit was so confirming that I now belonged in Seattle (after all, we didn’t have family, only a couple friends still associated with Purdue University), and I came home and had to forgive my mother.


So, Pearl, you dig down a layer of depth to some of your easiest, most accessible memories (how many times in your life have you told these stories?) and cough up some notes. Yes, apparently I do. And do you consider this sufficient? Apparently, yes. Do you think you can get away with writing like this? I’ve always gotten by on charm before.