When I was a senior in high school in Jersey City, my English teacher, Mr. Delo, assigned us a project: Each of us would keep a journal every day for consecutive seven days. He wasn’t going to read it – he wasn’t some creepasaurus rex – he would just make sure we had written something.
“Anything? Like, it doesn’t have to be good, just write anything?”
“Anything. It’s just to get in the habit of writing regularly.”
“What if we just, like, copy the phone book for seven days?”
Mr. Delo shrugged. “You wanna copy the phone book, copy the phone book.”
Copying the phone book turned out to be staggeringly boring. So instead I wrote. Just one single page, about what happened that day. I wrote a page the next day, and the day after that, too.
I wrote in that journal every day for the next thirteen years.
In 2004, I stopped journaling and started a blog, because I was going around the world and my friends begged me, please, in the name of all that is holy and good, to stop emailing them my wacky travelogues.
In early 2009, a literary agent called me out of the blue to say she’d read my entire blog – which apparently totaled 1500 pages – and wanted to make it into a book.
In 2011, Little Princes was published by HarperCollins.
The moral of the story, my friends, is that every good thing in my otherwise lazy life has had the same genesis: I decided to just start doing something.
So today is National Conor Is Going To Start Something Day!
You know, that name sounded much better in my head, now that I see it on paper. Not catchy at all. And as the name implies, it’s pretty niche. What do you, reader friend, get to celebrate on this day? Nothing – that’s what you get to celebrate.
On National Conor is Going to Start Something Day, I’m restarting my blog! (Okay, now the name of the day is not just cumbersome, it’s inaccurate. But ‘National Re-start Day’ sounds lame too.)
All this begs the question: Who and what am I now, that I wasn’t back then, back when I kept my old journal and in the early blog days? Three important things: I’m older, I’m a husband, I’m a dad, and I’m a Christian.
Four things. Sorry.
But lemme talk for a second about the last thing: Christian. *Deep breath.*
Having been an atheist for the first 32 years of my life, my gag reflex is still triggered when I see social media bios posted that include the word “Christian” in them. Because usually they read something like “Christian First! Also, Nobel Prize Winner and President of Iceland (Yes, that Iceland!!)”
Those kinds of bios used to make me feel like Christians wore a cloak of moral superiority. It had me searching for hypocrisy in their every step. And I often found it, because it turns out Christians are humans. I shouted about their hypocrisy from the rooftops of the blogosphere. That was me.
So now you can perhaps imagine a younger, cooler, blogging-and-world-traveling-2004-era Conor time-traveling into the future and breaking into the upstairs bedroom of today’s Conor, who is living in Connecticut with a wife and two kids and leading a weekly bible study in his house (!) and snoring in his bed, and hissing in his ear, “Wake up, old man! I’m gettin’ you outta here! You’ve been brain-washed! Get on my back, I’ll carry you! Oh man, your breath…”
But that’s who I am now.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not religious in the way I used to think of religious people. (Ugh – just threw up in my mouth again at the word “religious.” Also, the body’s puke hole should really be situated so the puke doesn’t graze the taste buds on the way up.) I do believe in something bigger and greater, that’s true. I believe in loving my neighbor, whoever that neighbor is. I screw up badly every single day (I call it ‘sinning’ now because Christians get to sling around cool words like that) and I believe that I have Someone that can and does forgive me when I mess up.
In short, I am……… a Christian dad. (Which makes me sound sort of pasty and also like I’m wearing a brown sweater that bulges in the wrong places.) I am not particularly cool.
But I still believe in great things. And great things need to begin. So that’s what I’m doing with this blog: I’m beginning something. Again.