Thank You Appendix

“What are you thankful for?” The unavoidable question that will come out of my child’s mouth this year as our small family sits around the dinner table this year. She’ll ask it out of genuine curiosity, out of a sense of tradition, and out of a desire to deflect my attention when I tell her she needs to eat something other than cornbread. I’ve known the question is coming for weeks and I’ve been trying to think of what I am actually thankful for. It’s been kind of a crap year I suppose. It started right off the bat with my wife losing her job and well it just kind of gets harder to pick out good news from there. So I guess I’ll settle for being grateful for bad news.

This year I am thankful for appendicitis. Specifically my wife needing to be taken to the ER with severe abdominal cramps early this summer. She had emergency surgery to have the offending vestigial organ removed. It was then that they found the tumor.

A carcinoid tumor. It’s a slow-growing type of cancer. It often goes undetected for years. If her appendix hadn’t gone then quite frankly the chances of it getting noticed before it was extremely advanced was slim. She was scheduled for another surgery quickly and the rest of the tumor, along with about two feet of intestine was removed.

This little disaster resulted in an out pouring of sympathy and support from friends and family.  Some of this support came in the form of a care package, that included two gift cards, one for a restaurant, and one for amazon. They were just enough to let us shuffle expenses around and kept us from making a hard decision between her post-op medications, groceries and other household needs in the following months.

That package also included a journal and a pen, that after letting it stare at me accusingly for a while I took up and have now been using daily to unclutter my brain every morning. This in turn, has caused me to start blogging again. Because why write it down if you don’t intend it to be read? Doing this has caused me to recently go back and examine some of my earlier work and I am thankful for the realization that it doesn’t entirely suck.

I mean don’t get me wrong there’s some real turds there, but I am happy to have found quite a few I’m somewhat pleased with. Especially the 100 word posts I’ve made but then I have always been a fan of brevity.

So yeah, thanks to my wife’s appendix that no longer is.

Oh yeah. I am thankful for my family and friends, my pets (even the emotionally needy rat terrier), lollipops, indoor plumbing, and all the rest of that stuff.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have turnips to peel.

Two Years, About One Quarter of the Time (Now with footnotes!)

Dear Readers,

I recently got a notification from WordPress that is was my second anniversary of having a blog. That’s just it, I have a blog. I don’t own one, I don’t run one, and I sure as shit don’t maintain one. Of the 730 days involved I’ve managed to publish not quite 170 posts, of them I could easily discount ten to fifteen percent of what I’ve written as utter nonsense posted just because… well that’s what you do1. For what it’s worth I am here and still trying, I guess that’s a good thing.

The oppression of dates

I suppose the date of Oct 18th should seem meaningful. It is nestled quite nicely somewhere between my actual birthday later this month and the date that I had my last drink towards the end of September, some years ago. I think more about the passing of the latter than I do the former. Due to the personal philosophy that keeps me sober though I don’t really hold much truck with the pitiful insignificance of specific dates of my life because right now, today is the only thing that you can hold onto with any certainty. This is probably a reflection of my father’s lack of concern or respect for outward displays of ceremony2.

Why am I here?

I started this blog with the intention of getting back to writing, specifically fiction. I’ve done a fair bit of that. Thirty-two of my posts have been a work of fiction. That’s about a 27% success rate on that front. It took me a couple of weeks of dicking around to work up the courage to post DIG! which, as it goes I rather like. By far the bulk of the material I have worked on I like to use the cute little label of “Creative Nonfiction”3. We’ll just chalk those up to journal entries, memoirs, coping with my sobriety and, attempts at making somewhat intelligent commentary on the world around me. One of the things I’ve been rather proud of is starting a serialized fiction piece.

The Untitled Thing has often shown a lot of promise but the last few entries have gone of track a bit so I feel I need to take a long hard look at that before I go any further. I doubt I’ll go as far as a full rewrite but I am keeping the nuclear option open for now.

And I was of course extremely flattered that I got Freshly Pressed for writing Rarity of Quiet sometime ago

Absences, breaks, and hiatuses

Life gets in the way. A lot. I learned not to apologize for that a early on4. I do however feel like talking about it right now.

I have these bouts of insomnia, like not sleeping for more than two hours at a time for more than a month kind of bouts5. On the upswing of these I feel great and get super productive for a while and everything is kinda awesome. Then the exhaustion erodes everything away until all I have I anxiety wrapped in a nice warm sweater of depression and self loathing. That’s when I generally stop writing because everything I do upsets me in some way and most of my energy is spent on keeping myself upright and making it through work, often to come home and stare longingly at my blog’s dashboard for about an hour or so before pretending to sleep.

But then eventually I feel better and when I get over it all I always come back here so there’s that.

Also I don’t like publishing when I am angry at a specific person in my personal life because it always winds up being about them and quite frankly that’s not fair to myself, them, or my readers.

Sometimes I have too much other shit to do.

And, sometimes I just don’t feel like it… which is completely valid.

In all serious gratitude

There are a handful of people that I know for sure have been following and reading my works for these past two years. I cannot express properly how much that kind of support means to me. If it was not for them I would have given up long ago.

I also am more than grateful for the browse by readers, new followers, random likers, and odd commenters that pass through here from time to time. I am firm believer that writing without some kind of audience to share it with is a rather sad and pointless endeavor, well it is for me any way.

Thank You,
Doug Hippensteel
Corned Beef Hashtag

  1. I’m looking at you, pretty much all of November of 2013 and also the bulk of this post most likely 
  2. Let’s not dwell too much on my father unless you’re gonna wheel in a chaise lounge6 and start smoking a cigar. 
  3. Which is about as close to an oxymoron as you can get without needing special gloves to handle it. 
  4. Seriously if there is one piece of advice I got about blogging that I feel needs to be passed it’s: Never waste time apologizing for not posting something; it’s a waste of your talent and your readers attention. 
  5. As opposed to the, “I didn’t get any sleep because I spent all night binge watching Netflix and getting wasted.” kind seems to be an epidemic, and pisses me off greatly when someone refers to it as insomnia. Just sayin’ 
  6. Sometimes a couch is only a couch. 

RE: Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin

Another late start to my blogging week. Gee, thanks life.

So I have been thinking about writing, namely my experiences blogging. I am, in some way, amazed at how positive the whole experience has been. Being from a certain perpetually dismal outlook on life, I had to really work myself up to doing this. Besides just opening myself up to constructive and well intended criticisms, I was expecting, givien my general observations of human nature, a lot more negative reaction to my writing.

It would be very easy for my little site to be ignored or the subject of ridicule. Instead I have gotten a lot of interest, support, and encouragement from the people who have stumbled upon it. I have also received a lot of good advice from experienced bloggers, and from the staff at WordPress by way of the various challenges that I have participated in.

I would really like to (once again) thank everyone, specifically the regular commentators (is that the right word?) on my blog Our interactions do more to keep me engaged in this than project than most anything else I can think of. You know who you are so I doubt I need to call you out by name.

I was trying so hard to come up with a good quote to start this piece off with, but I kept coming up dry. When I was driving the girl to school this morning, we ended up listening to Sly and The Family Stone. It seemed a bit appropriate so here it is.

Anyway that’s what I’ve been thinking about this past week.

Happy Monday!