Expecting the Main Things


Poets to come! orators, singers, musicians to come!

Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for,But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than before known,

Arouse! for you must justify me.
I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future,I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness.

I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a
casual look upon you and then averts his face,
Leaving it to you to prove and define it,
Expecting the main things from you.

—Walt Whitman

If I’m to be a writer, Walt Whitman expects main things from my writing, so I figure I should know what the main things are. Below is an ordered list without explanation. The explanations will be what I write about. Thank you, Walt.

Making the list, especially prioritizing it, was harder than I thought it would be. I welcome additions and reordering suggestions.

  1. Food and water
  2. Shelter and clothing
  3. Health
  4. Safety
  5. Love
  6. Hope
  7. Faith
  8. Kindness
  9. Justice
  10. Forgiveness
  11. Laughter
  12. Freedom

Blogging: Is It Worth It?


My renewed commitment to writing has resulted in my using the Discover feature in WordPress. The results? Y’all are good, and I feel intimidated.

Most of the posts I read where written by bloggers with the ability to convince me that watching paint dry is as exciting as the grand opening of the world’s fastest roller-coaster. I read about comfort food, the impending decline of facial hair among hipster men, and the importance of listening.

While the subject matter varied widely, I noticed a few consistency. People on WordPress can spell, at least from what I can tell. I’m horrible at spelling, which makes me grateful for the word predictor on my phone. Good bloggers are serious about blogging. It appears that the most engaging writers spend a significant amount of time writing. Images get my attention. It doesn’t matter what the topic is or how well it’s written, I’m more likely to read a post if it has an image along with it. Really good writers blog about their passions. Their enthusiasm makes me excited to read their posts, even if it’s about something I know nothing about.

So, why am I intimidated? Well, I’ve already said I’m a bad speller. I’m not sure yet how much time I’m going to put into writing. I enjoy taking pictures, but pairing them with a post every time I write feels overwhelming. I know what I’m passionate about, but I worry about what my kids/mom/sister/lover/friends/coworkers will think when they read my innermost thoughts, posted for all the world to see.

This blogging, it’s risky business if it’s done well. Tell me: am I doing it for the right reasons? Am I making too much of it? Is it worth it?

It’s Time to Write


For a number of months, I’ve kept icanhasgrace alive almost exclusively with tumblr pictures and commute cam videos. This is my accountability post marking a renewed commitment to write.

As with everything on this blog, the main requirement is that I create content with my phone. Pictured above is a compact bluetooth keyboard and my trusty Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The photo was taken with my Samsung Gear watch (first generation), and edited on the phone using the Pixlr app.

My future posts won’t be as geeked out as this one. I have thoughts. Deep thoughts. I’m going to start using this blog as therapy. (Sorry, family.)

Stay tuned! And thank you for subscribing and reading.

What You Gonna Do When the Time Go Up?

Clock Face by Doug HaglerIt was a way of talking about daylight savings time that I’d never heard before. Not long after I sat down on the bus one afternoon last week, I realized I was sitting in the middle of a conversation. A woman was talking to a man she knew about how her grandson often woke her up from her morning sleep. She said, “Don’t know what I’m gonna do when the time go up.” Have you ever heard that expression?

Even though I hadn’t heard that phrase before, I knew exactly what the woman meant. In an economy of words, she had said, “When the time changes on Sunday and we move our clocks forward an hour, the fact that my grandson wakes me up so early is going to be even more of a problem.” I think she had the affects of the time change backwards. However, in an instant, in the time it took for words to be spoken, at the speed of sound, I learned a new phrase that perfectly described what happens when daylight savings time kicks in.

Daylight savings time disrupts my life. It messes with my routine, and every year I have to spend way more time than I want to admit trying to anticipate what will happen. Will it be lighter, or darker when I wake up? Will the cats wake me up  wanting to be fed or be surprised because they think I’m feeding them early? “When the time go up” I get confused.

I love this time of year, so that isn’t the issue. I enjoy the longer days, and even though springing forward makes them even longer, we would have more sunlight in the evenings anyway. I look forward to the warmer weather. I love the new green of the world.

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was, “No way! It can’t be time to get up.” My second thought was, “Whose stupid idea was it to mess with the time?” An image of congress popped into my mind. I woke up angry at congressmen.

There’s nothing to do about it though, is there? My only consolation is to remember that the time will go down in the Fall.

The Thief of Joy

Rain by Doug HaglerI most definitely did not wake up this morning feeling like P. Diddy. Given that I am  neither a 42 year-old African-American rapper/producer nor a mind-boggling successful singer/songwriter (Ke$ha), I guess that’s okay. Frankly, it would be weird to wake up feeling like anybody other than me, although I would enjoy a Freaky Friday experience with either Sean Combs or Kesha Rose Sebert at least once.

It’s been a sleepy day for me. I haven’t moved from the bed except to refill my coffee cup and to eat leftover Mexican food from last night’s dinner. The rain that precipitated a flood advisory has come and gone sans flood, and now the only sound I hear comes from a snoring dog. There are four animals in the room with me, two cats and two dogs. All four are dead to the world. It’s hard to believe this is pretty much what they do all day long, day after day.

I wonder if my day is any different, really.

Of course, the laziness of today is a rarity. If you’re a Little Saint, you know I usually get up pretty early and head to work because you have seen me on Commute Cam. (Yes, the reality of Commute Cam isn’t even debated, as compared to, say, the moon landing or the existence of vampires.) But even though I’m awake every weekday, most days working my butt off (unlike my dogs and cats), I sometimes feel like I’m sleeping through life.

I’d like to answer with an emphatic, “No.” Who wants to admit that they sleep through life? However, given that I asked the question, I have to admit that sometimes I do.

In the About for this blog, I wrote, “icanhasgrace is my attempt to share my passions.” I believe therein lies the key to living life to the fullest. One must know what one is passionate about and touch upon those passions daily if one wants to avoid sleeping through it. I’ve been blogging now for almost two years. Even so, I am hard pressed to put into words what I am passionate about.

P. Diddy and Ke$ha aren’t the only people who have figured out that, in order to be successful, you have to be passionate about what you do. I follow several lesser-known people in the blogsphere and the ones I admire the most are written by people who blog about their passions. They also, from what I can tell, have huge followings. I’m talking in the thousands.

The most hits I have had on icanhasgrace was 306 views on December 5, 2009. I think somebody fell asleep on their keyboard and his or her head kept hitting refresh to make that happen.

There are reasons why icanhasgrace hasn’t taken off:

  1. I’m just not doing a very good job at blogging my passions (I’ve already admitted this is an issue as I’m not entirely sure what I am passionate about.)
  2. I’m too lazy about publicizing the blog. (I have automated feeds set up for Facebook and Twitter so that whenever I post anything new it alerts my friends and followers. I tag all my posts so search engines can find them. But I don’t wear the t-shirt Mom made that says “icanhasgrace.com” on the front, I haven’t made up business cards, and I don’t encourage my Little Saints to spread the word about the hilarity that is Commute Cam, the weekly glimpse into the beauty of God’s creation that is Sunday’s Shot of Grace, or the in-depth investigative commentary of posts like “Jesus Said, “Love Your Neighbor.’ How ‘Bout We Stop Right There.”
  3. Just when I buckle down, focus, and get on a roll, adding posts at least once, sometimes twice a day, I slow down, get side-tracked, or start reading a book or watching tv. That’s when the blog fills up with moths and crickets.

There is a fourth point to make. It’s a point that “keep[s it] honest” as Anderson Cooper would say. That point is, let the blog be what it is. I could let the idea, the dream, that one day a blog post, or a shot of grace, or a Commute Cam will virally propel me into a life of fame and fortune be my purge of the week. I may get along much better if I write, take pictures, and record part of my drive to work only because I enjoy doing it.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” after all.

Grow Love

The response is automatic. See. Reach. Unwrap. Taste. Swallow.
What happens when the candy is gone?
Winter is almost over; Spring is coming.
Don’t throw away the cup.
Fill it with dirt.
Plant a seed.
Provide water, and sunlight.
Transplant when the ground is warm.
Watch life grow through Summer and ripen in Fall.

Enjoy a harvest more satisfying than chocolate.

Snow Days

Icicle by Doug Hagler

Forgive me little saints, it has been two days since my last commute cam. Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on the idea or anything so drastic. It’s just that I haven’t commuted in two days.

In the wee hours of the morning (something like 2am) on Wednesday, I woke up and I could not go back to sleep. I couldn’t tell if I was experiencing a “dark night of the soul” or if my stomach was reacting to the fried baloney sandwich I had eaten for dinner. In the end, does it matter? In all likelihood, one was probably feeding off the other to keep me tossing and turning and awake.

Around 4am, I remembered we had phenergan in the refrigerator. Anyone who’s been pregnant (not that I have, just sayin’) knows that phenergan is great for upset stomachs. Plus, it has the added bonus of making people sleepy. I should have self-medicated when I first woke up at 2. Having waited as long as I did, I had to decided if I would be able to wake up in time to go to work. I decided I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, so I sent an email letting folks know I would be taking a sick day.

It turned out to be a very good call. I never did really fall back asleep. (I never really got sick at my stomach either, which probably means I was suffering from “dark night” rather than an upset stomach.) I went to the gym at 2pm, and when I walked out of the door to the parking lot, the world was covered with snow. Later, I heard that it took some folks 6 hours to get home from work. A few people decided to spend the night at the office. Today, the office is closed.

Now, the sun is melting the snow quickly, even though the temperature hasn’t gotten above 28 degrees. It’s Thursday, and I’m a greedy bastard for wishing for a third day at home on Friday.