Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Can I Break My Promise?

We were on the couch, kissing and undressing, when I suggested we go into the bedroom.

“I don’t know.  I’m not sure I feel the same way about you anymore?” she said.

I pulled back, suddenly feeling very alone, like a lonely sailor on a clipper ship on a dark New England shore.

“I need you,” I said, as I reached out to her breasts, the two precious, flickering lighthouses that could save me from my solitude.  “And I thought everything was going so well?”

“It was.” she replied,” her blue eyes showing a restrained affection.   “I once found you so…manly…”

She nervously took out a cigarette from her purse.  I wanted to tell her to quit, just like Schmutzie had done recently, but I didn’t want to make waves.

“And now I’m not “manly” to you anymore?” I asked, my voice trembling.

“It all happened on September 17th.   In the beginning of the month, you promised to blog every day in September, and then, on that infamous day, you said you just couldn’t go on.  You couldn’t handle the pressure.  You broke your promise.”

“I hated blogging every day.  It made me feel so unfunny and self-absorbed and selfish and stupid.  There was even this blogger who sent me an email, complimenting me, saying she wished she could be as productive!  And instead of saying thank you, I sent her a sarcastic email back.  “You want to write every day?  It is easy.  You just ignore all the other bloggers out there, all your friends, and never read their posts, and never comment and act like you are the only voice important in the world, and then you will be able to post every day.”

“That was a bit assholely of you.”

“Yeah, I’ve been a jerk all week.  Sweetney wrote this interesting post that drove me crazy, where she shares her affection for Kanye West after the VMA awards.  She wrote that we must separate the art from the artist, and even said, “I’m a person who has long stated that I would rather be friends with an interesting asshole than a boring nice person.”

“So, do you disagree with that?”

“No, but it got me thinking a few days before the Jewish High Holidays about what is important to me in life.  It made me wonder if I should just be a jerk to the world and only care about myself, because when it comes down to it, people are judging you on your final product and not on how you act in the world.  Theoretically, if I push an old woman down a flight or stairs and then write a fantastic blog post about it, I might even get to win a award for it!”

“You really are losing it.   Just relax.   Blogging is just a silly hobby.  Worry about your REAL work, the stuff that PAYS YOU MONEY, not this shit.  You’re being manipulated by those who ARE making money through blogging to make you think that BLOGGING  is super-important.”

“This is what happens when you blog every day.”

“I still don’t see what the big deal is about blogging every day.  It isn’t nuclear science.  Just put up a video or a photo.”

“Don’t you get it.  No one wants to think about themselves all the time.  And by blogging every day, it is like going into therapy every day.   It is uncomfortable.  It drives you insane.  And then there are distractions all around you, all the time.  Mamatulip wrote a post two days ago where she complained about her inability to get any writing done when her family is around.  Just to cause her more grief, I wrote this nerdy comment on her blog —

I once read this book about being creative and writing — I think it was called The War of Art, but I am not certain, and the thesis was a bit scary — the ones who are going to most frustrate you and hold you back from any creative endeavor are going to be those closest to you – your spouse, your kids, and your best friends, and that you almost had to view them as “the enemy” to get anything done. It made sense because those are the ones who are dependent and love you, and the most fearful of you taking too much time for yourself. I think this author would probably tell you that during those afternoons alone, you need to throw the phone out the window.”

“So are you saying that if you really want to accomplish anything, you have to be an asshole to everyone and ignore your family?” asked the beautiful woman on my couch.

“Have you ever seen a movie about a brilliant musician, artist, or writer who hasn’t cheated on his spouse, ignored his children, chopped off his ear, or committed suicide?”

“No offense, but you are not writing a symphony here.  You are writing a stupid blog about your mother and your penis.  Get over yourself.  No one really cares about you.  No one knows you.”

“You mean Redneck Mommy doesn’t really want to do me?”

“No.”

“What about you?” I said, with a sly smile.  “I thought that’s why you came over and we were making out?”

“Yeah, I was going to f*ck you, but things changed when you decided to quit blogging every day in September.”

“What’s the difference?  I’m still the same person!”

“Don’t you get it?  For a woman, sexy is in the mind.  You were very sexy when you were blogging every day, like you were a Homeric hero on a journey, just like you described yourself in your first post this month.   But once you quit, eh.”

“I’m not quitting blogging.  Just blogging once a day…”

“I’m sorry.  It’s all in the mind.  It’s like now I visualize you kissing my special spot, and then suddenly getting all bored after you get a hair up your nose, and saying, “Can we move on already?”  I want someone who I know can go the extra mile, not a quitter.”

“Are you saying that if I quit blogging for the entire month of September I will be sending the message to others that I will be lousy in bed?”

“I’m not sure I can ever have an orgasm with a quitter.”

“WTF!”

“Yes.  Women are weird.  We think that way.”

“Can’t you just fake it?”

“Sure.  An once you quit blogging every day, all your female blogging friends are going to say, “Oh, Neil, it is fine if you want to quit.  We understand.”  We have a mothering instinct.  We want our sons to try their best, but if they strike out during little league, it doesn’t matter.”

“So, why not the same for me?”

“Because we’re not your mother, asshole.  You already have your mother IN Queens to coddle you.  If you want to be with a real woman, you better be prepared to finish the job!”

“But I will.  I promise I won’t give up!  I’ll never give up.”

She started to close her unbuttoned blouse.

“No!”

“I’m sorry.  Stop reading the phony crap in Cosmo and let me tell you what REAL-LIVE WOMEN talk about in the locker room.  Rule #1 —

If a Man succeeds, he gets a blowjob like no other
But a Man gets zilch if he quits before Rosh Hashana”

“That doesn’t really rhyme, and it is rather insulting to men… and Rosh Hashana.”

“Woman’s prerogative.”

“What kind of double standard is that?  Why do I have to perform like a solider in the Foreign Legion just to prove my worth, my manhood? Why can’t I quit, or fail, or give up — and still get laid?”

“Ooh, Project Runway is on!” she said, turning on the TV.

+++

I can’t quit doing this — blogging every day in September — can I?

+++

Editor’s note:  This was truly an anxiety-producing post.   I had to go to take a nap immediately after I published it.  I’m not sure why yet.   It’s probably about my own shame I would feel if I quit doing something as unimportant as a month of blog posts.  Why would I react so strongly over something so silly?

Even more troubling — do I feel I am not worthy enough to be in a normal relationship until I prove something?

Fall is a time of introspection.

Shana Tovah to my Jewish friends!   A happy, healthy, and joyous New Year.

27 Comments

  1. Nope. You can’t quit. The ladies really do love it though.

  2. so close. keep up the painful self reflection and interesting conversations.

  3. Shana Tovah Twitter friend. In the New Year I hope you get all the boob that you deserve.

  4. This is the 2nd post (that I remember) about quitting, you were lucky to get to 2nd base if you ask me 😉

    Health and happiness for you and yours.

  5. I think you just want us to beg you not to stop.

  6. It is important to finish what you start. You’ll appreciate the sense of accomplishment.

    That being said, you don’t have to pour your heart out in EVERY post. We could tolerate a ” what I had for breakfast” post. singular.

    And unless I’m mistaken, your penis has yet to appear in Sept. He’s gotta be good for a couple stories.

  7. Keep at it, Neil. You can do it. It’s just hard facing those inner demons sometimes. Don’t let them get the better of you.

  8. You go right ahead and talk nerdy to me any time, Neil. It’s just another part of your appeal.

    (Don’t give up now!)

  9. you can’t give up Neil! You’re so close, honestly, you are. I’m reading every day!

  10. you can’t give up Neil! You’re so close, honestly, you are. I’m reading every day!
    Oops…forgot to say great post! Looking forward to your next one.

  11. Oh sure, play the Jewish card! Reading you daily has been like getting a little present every morning. But what girl wouldn’t like something bigger and sparklier that you had to save up for?

  12. Don’t…stop…don’t…stop!

  13. There are few things worse than breaking a promise to yourself. Did you promise us or you? Because I don’t care if you post every day or not. I do care if you set a goal for yourself and then wimped out on it.

  14. I totally get it. I blogged, then sex blogged, then stripped off my clothes while simultaneously stripping off every issue I had and exposing it for the world to see. I rushed headlong into my own anxieties, and it felt cathartic, it was awesome, and then I fizzled, sputtered, and took nearly two years off from blogging. I was so fried by the experience I had nothing to say, or nothing I cared to say, and just waited till the crowds dispersed before I could stand it again.

    You’re right about women finding a man who has emotional fortitude and stamina sexy.

    BUT.

    That line where you think “they” see you as having failed is only in your mind. *shrugs* It would be different between each women, I suspect. We all have our own tastes and opinions, of course.

    The silver lining, my dear one, is that you can’t please everyone, so please yourself. A man who knows his own boundaries and sticks by them is sexy, too.

    A man who is willing to run himself into the ground over what amounts to a bet he made with himself, mmm, not so much.

    That woman in your post is the one that caused the damnable panic attack. She’s your fear. Kick her ass to the curb, she sounds like a vampire anyway.

    Please yourself. *grins horribly* You know we love to watch.
    *peals of laughter*
    But it’s true. There are many kinds of strength, and blogging every day of September is, for me, not something that would undo a single button. A man who can face his fears, even write about them, and then deal with them in a purposeful manner befitting his morals, that unzips pants m’dear.

    Do what you need to do.

  15. This made me laugh–several times. Great post.

    Thank goodness I did nablopomofo when I was a newbie. Now it would drive me INSANE.

    I admire people who blog every day–especially if their writing is great. But I can’t keep up. I actually prefer it when people blog less.

    See? Selfish.

  16. Boobs and Rosh HaShana-why has no one brought this up before? Please write about boobs and Yom Kippur next. 🙂

    Ktiva vchatima tova, and may your own book (blog?) of life be filled with more stories next year.

  17. I think you just need to blog a little less intensely and relax. Really, a what I did for breakfast post or a recipe is fine.

    Breathe….

  18. You shouldn’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to do. Life is way to short for that. Everyone has limitations, so if I criticized you for quitting why wouldn’t I criticize myself for something on which I didn’t follow through?

  19. I would have to sleep after that too. Its like being rejected by yourself and thats a lot to deal with even without publishing it! Deep breaths.

    Should you wear a costume while you work and become a different character for each post? *giggle*

  20. Blogging and sex. Always finish, Neil. Always finish.

  21. This is one big circle where one activity depends upon the other. You need to blog daily, for a while, so you can satisfy your sexual appetite.

    When you satisfy your sexual appetite you’ll be relaxed and the writing will flow. Or, you’ll be cool with taking a writing break until your appetite increases again.

    It’s like cooking a five-course meal when you’re starving. The cucumbers in the salad might be a bit large and the steak might need some A-1 but dessert will be delicious since you can savor it.

    So it looks like you should phone in it while keeping your eye on the prize.

  22. Not to complicate things further, but the two statements you rightly attribute to me aren’t necessarily related. My affection for interesting, complex characters — regardless of whether they follow social norms or are “nice” or not — extends to Real Life people who are not artists and far from famous, and also fictional characters who don’t actually exist. That is my personal taste, born of my life experience. I also prefer crazy weirdos to sane, stable people. Go figure. However, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that to everyone. It was a side-note to my post, not intended as advice for everyone.

    The separating artists from their art though? Yeah, I do think that, across-the-board. I think art, in all its forms, should stand on its own, and not be elevated simply because a Really! Super! Duper! Nice-in-real life person made it, nor should it be devalued because some degenerate asshole made it. Great Art is great art, whoever made it, and that’s my opinion, and I’d stand by it. No one has to agree with me though, and can thus feel free to hate most of the works of pretty much all the Modernists (including Joyce, Eliot, and Pound), Picasso, Chaucer, Tolstoy, and Hemmingway (if we get into musicians and composers we’d be here all day), based solely on their in-real-life actions, attitudes, behaviors, and personal character.

    This is something to think about: http://tinyurl.com/n68vde

    Do with all that what you will.

  23. I’ve loved reading your September posts! And happy new year to you as well.

  24. I posted nearly every day for a year and a half on two blogs. Almost 400 posts including more than one a day last November.

    Then I ran out of stuff to say for a while. Posting every day turned into a lot of me writing stuff that wasn’t very good. I made it through the month though and that felt great.

    I love it when people post every day but I’d rather be hungry for a couple days and then get served up a nice juicy Angus burger.

    Push through my man. Just take the pressure off yourself a little. Some days in that month my post was a txt message sent from my truck, and then the next day I’d get inspired when my brain was in neutral.

    There’s no reason you can’t succeed.
    There’s no reason all the posts can’t be good.
    And there’s no reason you can’t enjoy yourself while pushing through.

  25. Actually, forget all the stuff I just said and read the last three lines again.

  26. I reached out to her breasts, the two precious, flickering lighthouses that could save me from my solitude

    I just snorted coffee through my nose, Neil – can I use that line in a poem sometime, can I, huh, can I?

    Thanks for adding a smile to my day, mate.

    🙂

  27. Sorry, any girl that would make sex contingent on you finishing the vegetables on your plate (metaphorically) IS your mother. Get out of this codependent relationship while you can, and maybe you’ll be able to blog again.

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