Because I have to.
That’s the only answer I have to explain the reason I started randomly sending out this crazy newsletter. I’ve had some very kind comments from many subscribers, and I’ve had some folks ask me how the hell to get off this list. For as long as I can remember, the only way I’ve ever made sense of anything in this world is to empty my head. Sometimes it’s a memory swirling around in my head wanting to escape. Sometimes it’s just random commentary on the world in general. But when these ideas come to mind, I’ve always had a desire to spill my brain onto paper (or screen). So when I figured out that I could send out my own e-newsletter, it looked to be the perfect forum. Admittedly, it takes a certain degree of arrogance to put your thoughts out to the world. Like Isbell sings, “No one gives a damn about the things I give a damn about.” Seriously, who the hell really cares what a country lawyer from Mississippi thinks? Who really cares about my family stories or my reflections? But honestly, if the desire is there, then who really cares who really cares?
My mother and father were huge readers. Our house was littered with books and magazines and newspapers. Both of them would spend hours after work reading their library books and encouraging me to do the same. At the same time, if I had a question (and I had plenty), their usual answer was to “look it up.” That answer led to me reading the World Book Encyclopedia one summer (my brother can verify) and then writing my own reports about the things that intrigued me. I would take my mother’s typing paper and write these little summaries of what I read, or I would make up stories of my own and peck away on her typewriter. Mom must have thought it was cute, because I found a bunch of these terrible stories before we sold our old family home last year. There is ZERO chance those stories ever see the light of day. While it might have cute for my mom to see her six year old son attempt to put together a homemade magazine of his own original material, those stories don’t really hold up when read 41 years later. But finding those stories did remind me I’ve been a geek with a keyboard for basically my entire life. As sad as it might be, I know nothing else.
Last week, I had an old Facebook post pop up in my Memories which reminded me that my middle son Walker announced to me when he was 7 years old he was authoring a series of books starring Captain Stretch-O and his evil nemesis, Dr. Short Pants. That was 7 years ago, and I’m pretty sure the Captain Stretch-O series hasn’t taken off just yet. But I thought it was interesting my son was apparently doing the same thing I was doing at his age. Lord help us, maybe one day soon, Walker can start his own newsletter for us all to read. But I understand the feeling that sometimes words and stories just have to come out.
I remember seeing a band playing one night in a bar to about 6 people, not counting the dudes themselves. I watched the band play for about thirty minutes before the thought hit me—- the room didn’t need to be packed for the guys on stage— they were just digging the music and the chance to play. That’s kinda what I think about when I sit down and write my stuff. I just enjoy the chance to play. Like I said earlier, I appreciate everyone who has been so supportive and offered encouragement. The only bit of career advice my father ever gave me was “You want to write? Great. But I’m not paying for you any longer than I have to.” That nugget probably led me to law school, only to have Dad look at me soon after graduation and say, “Hell, I can’t believe you just didn’t go write full-time.” Maybe one day, Dad. Maybe one day. But until then, I will just spit out my random thoughts when I can.
Because I have to.