Monday, February 21, 2011

An Imperfect 10

I know that self-analysis on my writing is the most indulgent form of narcissism multiplied but something just happened that requires me to do this. I apologize in advance.

As my improbable courtship of the New York Times has continued for more than 2 years, I set the most unlikely of goals for myself: 10 published letters. With my contemplation on Lindsey Vonn's post- concussion world championship finding its way into print, my personal mountain had been climbed. So what.

I have led a very quiet professional career. Anonymous to all but a few. Just another regular guy doing what he does as well as he can do it, hoping that it is good enough.

But my writing is something else. Or so I would tell myself.

It is certainly not the size of my readership that leads me to this conclusion. Numbers don't lie (at least these numbers) and I only need my hands and toes to add up the figures on who wanders over to this site on a regular basis. And they arrive basically because I ask them to when I notify them that I have been at it again.

But not the New York Times. They can choose to treat me with silent contempt. But they haven't.

And what does that mean?

Well, to the rest of the universe, I believe the world today is indistinguishable from a time when only 9 of my letters had been published. There is still unrest in the Middle East, there is still rampant unemployment in our country, there is still a looming budget crisis, and the Yankees still don't have enough starting pitching to be a serious challenger this year. To me, and me alone, the planet is a little different.

My strength does not rest in dogged pursuit. I tend to give up way before the tough get going. But this was different. I had the good fortune to have early success with my submission to the newspaper. I stayed with it, and now, maybe 150 attempts later, I am into double figures. And now what?

I have done close to 500 blog posts at this point. I knew many, many words ago that the ego in this exercise drove more away than towards, but I am still here. This is not a criticism of you, but of me.

I want to continue to write but I am seriously contemplating continuing this as a solo trip. Maybe, the meaning of yesterday, was that I can stop trying so hard to impress. Maybe I have finally reached that point where I can say to myself that I have accomplished something, and move on.

I do want to reach 500, so I will probably enter into discussions with you a few more times in the coming weeks. But, after that, it is anyone's guess. If anyone is actually guessing.


Richie Jay said...

Why stop at 10? You can start counting future accomplishments on your toes!

SCL said...

Congratulations on achieving your goal. Revising and pursuing a new more ambitious goal is the path I assume you will choose. Well done!

Anonymous said...

You can continue to write in the winter but stop during the golf season when I see you more often. Ted

Jamie Buonocore said...

Don't stop Robert. We bask in your reflected glory! The Buonocores are so proud to be your friends.

PickleBiz said...

I must admit that occassionally your comments stimulate my imagination or present an event in the news from a perspective different from my own, initiatng an entertaining dialogue within my head ( you usually come out on the short end of those...but not always)---but it's not so much what you say, but that you gamely drag yourself to the keyboard regularly to reaffirm to yourself that your neurons continue to fire. You still dissect, absorb, interpret, and critique the world around you, to the delight, consternation, and ultimately the affection of those who claim one of those fingers or toes on which we can be counted. Your diciplined process of reminding yourself you are still alive, reminds us why we love you at the same time. So unless you are willing to wire your world with webcams and stream live video of your daily existence, I suggest you keep writing. I for one like knowing my friend Bob is still ticking.

Robert said...

I want to thank everyone who has written impromptu testimonials. It was not my intent in writing this post.

I have tried to be honest in the way I look at myself and at the world around me.

Most of you who have so far responded are long time buddies, and I appreciate your continued friendship even more than your kind words.

As far as my son, he has been my greatest assistant, most honest critic and head cheerleader during this journey. My thanks to him are boundless.

Unknown said...

Congratulations Robert! Well done!

David B said...

The only problem I have with your blog, is that there are not enough of them. You are not going to change the world, but you give hope to us who do not have your eloquence. So, keep up the good fight, please.

gail said...

As a very proud sister (who disseminates some of your poignant musings to my friends), I thought I could add a few words of encouragement for you to continue blogging but having read the comments from your friends and devoted readers, all I can do is smile at how much you are loved and respected. You deserve it.

Anonymous said...

I love reading the blog - don't stop just at 500 or ten...if one keeps thinking, pondering, it is good to share thoughts - and you are not alone in the thoughts. all of your topics are universal. your honesty and candor are comforting....all of it. everything. Keep writing for your readers and friends.