I've been called a bomb-thrower by folks at City Hall. I guess this is supposed to be an insult. I consider it a compliment.
I'm proud to speak out loud and powerfully when I see stuff going on in Salem that shouldn't be. My goal is to throw truth-bombs that open up minds and demolish barriers to seeing what is happening behind closed doors.
My only regret is that I've held back some weaponry for one reason or another. Laziness. Lack of time. Misplaced hope that "playing nice" will lead the other side to reciprocate.
No more. At least, that's my goal. I'm tired of holding my tongue on some subjects that need blabbing about.
Through the marvelous School of Aging, geezers like me -- I'll be 66 next month -- learn the lesson that tomorrow usually comes, but one day it won't. For all of us.
So this is the day to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. If there is a tomorrow, it then becomes this day.
A newfound passion deserves a name.
I'm calling it Salem, open your eyes. I just added it as a blog post category. Time will tell how many posts find a home there. It depends on how much eye-opening I feel needs to be done.
First I'm going to write about two important parts of Salem I've lost trust in: City officials and executives at the Statesman Journal newspaper. This pains me, because I've lived in and around Salem for 37 years. Until recently I never doubted that I could trust City Hall and our local newspaper.
No more. Over the next weeks (maybe months) I'll be explaining why.
Understand: I'm just a blogger who, at the moment, is sitting at his kitchen counter in shorts and a t-shirt, listening to crickets doing their thing on a warm early fall night, trying to find words to explain to unseen readers why he wants to open Salem eyes.
Notably and primarily, his own.
I don't claim any special vision into what ails this town. All I can do is share how I see things, based on my own experience. Having been an avid writer for almost all of my life, I've come to realize that the first goal of writing isn't to change other people's minds.
It is to change mine.
I feel best when there is little difference between who I am inside, and how I appear outside. When the two "me's," internal and external, get markedly out of sync, I feel like I need a truth alignment. Sure, it isn't possible or practical to always express myself 100% honestly.
But I've been saying things to myself and others that are more blunt and well, "bomb'y," than have been shared publicly. In short, I'm more pissed at City Hall and the Statesman Journal than I've been letting on. It's time to get the inner and outer anger in adjustment.
I'll end this introductory Salem, open your eyes post with a story from my hard style martial arts days (I've been into softer Tai Chi for the past ten years).
When several fellow students and I were anxiously training for an upcoming black belt exam, our instructor interrupted a class by saying, "I'm going to show you a kata you probably haven't seen before." He then performed the sequence of moves in what appeared to me a damn fine manner.
Then he said, "I haven't done that kata in many years. Do you know how I was able to perform it so well? Because I don't care!"
Those words really hit me.
He didn't care, because he already had proven himself in martial arts. Us students, on the other hand, were holding ourselves back from being as good as we could be. We were tight, overly anxious to do the right thing. We worried about being judged.
Which naturally is fine, up to a point. But we all know that letting loose, going with the flow, dancing like no one is watching even when they are -- that way leads to joyful spontaneous honest play.
Such is how I feel about Salem, open your eyes.
I really don't care a whole lot if people don't like what I'm going to say. I really don't care much if what I write leaves people uninterested, unimpressed, or unchanged. I'm unpaid and unemployed (being retired). I'm not out to win awards, get a promotion, or pad my resume.
I just want to throw some truth-bombs.