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Milestone

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I looked it up. It seemed close, so I checked to find out

Sure enough, today marks the one-year anniversary of my having started this blog. Isn't that something? Echoing the great Jackie Mason (to be read in a thick and belligerent Jewish accent):

I'd like to thank myself, for writing all these wonderful stories.

Speaking as my more humble self, I'd like to thank you for showing up and giving me somebody to talk to. Without you, motivating me to do this, I'm a guy tanning on my porch going, "This is nice. But is it really a life?"

Two hundred and forty-seven posts. On lots of different subjects. All of them meaningful. If only to the writer.

I'd like to tell you I have great things planned for Year Two. I have nothing planned for Year Two. I can't promise you Year Two will be better than Year One. Who knows? It may be worse. I may already have told you my best stories.

On the other hand, a year's worth of blogging has sharpened my abilities. So even if the new stories aren't as scintillating as last year's, there's good chance they'll be better written.

Forgive my, what other people call pessimism and I call being realistic. It's just my nature. I have no certainty about the things I have yet to do. A similar attitude colored my network "pitch" meetings?

NETWORK EXECUTIVE: Is this show going to be a hit?

EARL: (more likely Earl's demeanor and body language) How the hell should I know?

It's not that I have no ideas for future postings. I do. At least, a few. When something comes to me, I write it down on the nearest scrap of paper, often the back of a receipt in a restaurant, where I'm supposed to be listening to my dining companions, but instead, I'm distracted by an idea for my blog.

I later toss these scribbled-on scraps onto an unsorted pile on my desk. When the pile grows unwieldy, I transcribe my nuggets of possibility into a three-ringed notebook. It all sounds very efficient. Unfortunately, over the years, my handwriting has gotten so illegible, when I leaf through my notebook, I am often incapable of reading what I have written.

This problem increases exponentially when the ideas that come to me as I'm about to fall asleep, and I record them in a notepad, positioned for that purpose beside my bed. These words are invariably indecipherable. That World War II code breaker? Turing? The guy wouldn't stand a chance cracking this stuff. It's stenographized chicken scratchings.

I've written my "reminders" down blind. My contact lenses have been removed for the night and, although there are glasses resting in a case on my night table, I'm too concerned that, during the time required to take them out of the case and put them on, the idea will have flown from my consciousness and left the building.

This is hardly an unreasonable concern. There's an age, which I, apparently, have reached, where an idea can vanish in the eye-blink between "I've gotta write that down!" and "What was it again?" You reach for your pen, inadvertently jogging your brain and poof -- your brilliant idea is lost in space.

I jot down my thoughts without benefit of eye help. In the dark. It has to be in the dark, because if I wake up Dr. M, we would quickly be embroiled in other matters, matters related to selfishness and lack of consideration for the loved ones sleeping beside them, matters which would rapidly erase the idea I had turned the light on to jot down.

A sightless person scribbling illegibly in the dark. The resulting work product is unlikely to be useful.

And as if these difficulties didn't suffice, when I can read my notes, on more occasions than my blood pressure can tolerate, I cannot understand what it is I have written down.

When I made those notes originally, I knew exactly what I had in mind, and I thought I always would. That's why they were written in a condensed shorthand, rather than in fully elaborated detail. Who needs details, I'm sure I thought. It's a sensational idea. Who wouldn't remember how it goes?

Me.

When I later return to my condensed notes, and I have no idea what I was talking about.

It's heartbreaking. The idea's right there. You can see it in front of you. But, like a treasured item viewed through a department store window, the Object of Enthusiasm is infuriatingly out of reach.

Ideas are precious. And elusive. They're not there, then they are. And if you don't nail them down, they will vanish without a trace.

Ideas are like twinkling slivers of understanding. They flash in your mind, and you go, "Yeah!" It's not usually the whole thing that comes to you. Just a fragment.

You take that idea, and you write a post about it. The readers respond, and off you go, winding up...who knows where? An illuminating thought, maybe. A dazzling insight, triggering unimagined possibilities for world peace and the betterment of humankind.

Over the top? Sorry, it's my anniversary.

Of course, there is the possibility that I'm fooling myself. Last week, on 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin, in response to some obvious advice he'd been given replied, "Thank you for telling me what I already know. You should work for the Huffington Post."

I contribute to the Huffington Post (here I am), though I may not be immune to telling you what you already know right here in this blog.

Oh, well.

I think I'll keep doing it for a while.

Why? Because it's my mission? Because it's my pleasure? Because it nourishes my insatiable ego? Because what else have I got to do?

It's probably a little of each.

Earl Pomerantz's blog can be reached at earlpomerantz.blogspot.com