Skipping Stones

Blogs are largely self-serving activities. To be clear, this one is entirely so. Whether anyone actually reads this or not, my purpose is served merely by the possibility that someone might. I’ll try to explain…

I’ve spent the last few decades hard-driven forward-focused, trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, taking the corners up on two wheels when I think I finally have a sense of where it is I need to be going. I’ve been successful, but hardly linear. I’ve had an amazing array of experiences, but haven’t reflected long enough on many of them for most to make me any wiser. I have been fortunate to know some of the most amazing people in the world, but haven’t been smart enough to invest in many of them to truly call them my friends.

A rough couple of years leave me right here, right now realizing that something needs to change about how I go forward from this point. I have been blessed with a rich life, but I need to know it a little better. The change I am noodling on has something to do with defining myself less through where I am going and all the things I still have left to do, and more by what got me here, the people and places, the achievements and fuck ups, the constant values and goofy whims that got me right…here. It’s a balance thing, I guess.

Writing is key to figuring this all out. Not necessarily what or why, but the simple act of just…writing. I don’t write to simply reflect what I think and value as much as I do to actually give form to the mess that is in my head. Writing is less a passive expression of who I am, much more a creative way to actually build out who I am. And I could use some design and remodel work these days.

But I can get lazy, and I tend to lie to myself if left to myself. So the idea that some of the folks that know me much better than I realize might actually stumble across some of this stuff and call bullshit…well, just that mere possibility will keep me much more honest than I ever would be just typing away on some password protected file on my laptop. Plus, this will force me to try to keep the writing interesting, perhaps amusing. If successful, perhaps I will become more of both along the way. As conceded at the outset, this  blog is a totally selfish act, a random trip through some rather loosely connected wires.

Since junior high, every time I have taken the time to reflect on what I need to do to get my head straight for some reason or another, sitting down and writing in some form or fashion has always been the first thing I commit to doing. It is also always the first thing I stop doing when habits and distractions settle back in. I am better when I am writing something, writing anything. After a couple decades of this dance, I need to accept that this is just a part of me, a place I go, a thing I do, something I need to figure out how to weave into my life for real and for good. I need to find the places and times to just write, and occasionally I might find some of it is not all that bad. Hell, as I kick through random musings, I might even find that I have something…to say. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself here.


Much of what I have to say, here and elsewhere, revolves around my three kids, Emma, Max and Cole. Emma is about to turn 6, and the boys (twins) are about to turn 4. One very cool thing I noticed this summer is how utterly content all three of them are to find a body of water, be it lake, stream, ocean (and, yeah…fountain, pool, bath tub, sink), and just stand on the edge and throw things into it. Once I showed them how to drop down side arm with a nice flat stone (a la the currently most famous Auker, Elden, a Babe Ruth-era submarine-ball pitcher) and actually skip the rocks…they can stay at the water’s edge for hours, just searching for the perfect rocks, rearing back and letting them fly.

Of all the structured activities and play dates and organized lessons and kid-friendly events I have taken them to, I really think, in the end, they would prefer the simple peaceful time chucking rocks into the water over almost anything else.  

Looking back, I think I spent a good bit of my youth doing just the same. I think I should spend a little more of my adulthood that way…an old, comfortable, reflective habit, just watching the ripples mingle with the waves. Even the best skipping stones can sploosh straight to the bottom, and if you try hard enough, you can pretty much make any rock skip at least once. But there is something elegant, something in-the-moment satisfying when you get a dozen skips on a clear glass lake, pulling off a smooth throw worthy of that perfect round flat rock.


  1. wow. you've made it to my bookmarks, jeff. i can't wait to hear more.

  2. rock skipping over play-dates and structured activities any day.
    looking forward to reading more.
    welcome to blogland.

  3. Personally, I'd like to see you turn your doctoral thesis into a Haiku.

    Merry Christmas, Jeff.

  4. chris, just because you said that, you know that now i will. that could take a while...but oh yes...i will. merry christmas to you and your family, as well!