Sunday, May 15, 2011


You have been very patient, and for that I am quite appreciative. If I could offer something more substantial than a simple thanks, I would. But some of you live far away, and some of you would prefer that I not violate the terms of the restraining order.

I understand. I’ll just sit in my kitchen and thank you from here.

It is true that sometimes a writer writes just for himself, and I do a fair share of that. Dear Diary, this morning when I got my regular cappuccino, the barista gave me the biggest smile ever. It really made my day! Stuff like that. But sometimes I writer wants to be read, and that’s where you have come in. Like I said, thanks!

But I feel a need, a strange and unexpected need, to stop. Not necessarily to focus on more financially rewarding writing, and not to punish you for taking out that restraining order, but just to . . . stop. Hiatus is a good word. It means a break in something where there should be continuity. And there should be continuity here, because I enjoy writing and you (in theory) enjoy reading.

In its first incarnation, as an email offering called FreezeFrame, this column ran from May 1997 to February 2000 with nary a week off. One hundred forty-five in a row.

When new life was breathed into FreezeFrame in June 2005 it was a pleasure to return to my weekly task. I have always enjoyed watching my students or my children to find something to write about, or perusing the news if that suited, or making something up out of whole cloth if I felt like it. Not a few times people have asked the ever-patient wife “did that really happen?”

Usually she nodded sadly.

So we have hit mid-May 2011 and I calculate that 310 Mondays have passed since the rebirth. You true aficionados will no doubt want to point out that I missed February 19, 2007—and you’d be right. And also a little nasty. You might want to cut down on that whole nastiness thing; it doesn’t become you.

There are still things to write about, of course (your nastiness comes to mind). There must be, because even though Borders has filed for bankruptcy and the Kindle has presaged the end of paper books, people are still reading. So I will keep writing and let the words fall where they may. Only time will tell if any of them fall here again.

I am no stranger to walking away unexpectedly. I took a hiatus from a cushy corporate job way back when to be a stay-at-home dad. Turned out to be permanent. Who in their right mind does that? Foregoes the money and the power? Well, me.

Then I left the cushy sofa cushions to which I had become accustomed to be a kindergarten teacher. What right-minded male does that as he nears forty years of age? A room full of five-year-olds? C’mon, who? That’s right, me.

I will now walk away from a loyal following that waits with baited breath for each of my weekly eruptions (don’t dispel the myth by telling me otherwise) just as I reach international status. Who does that?

You guessed it.

The hiatus is not simply abandonment. Whether the break ends up being temporary or permanent, it is often beneficial to pause and consider. To think. Not “should I be doing this?” or “what else should I be doing?” but “hey, I wonder what would happen if . . .” So this will be it for me, for now, for a while, forever, for goodness sake I don’t know!

Please feel heartily encouraged to pick something to take a hiatus from in your own life, and reading this blog doesn’t count. You can’t just piggyback on my hiatus, you’ve got to come up with something else. Feel free to return to your thing after an hour or a year, or not at all. Just pick something you want to test for its true meaning in your life. Okay?

Ready, get set . . . stop.

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