Obituaries are Hard

I hope you are lucky enough to not experience the joy (heavy sarcasm font) of writing an obituary for a loved one.

You think you know someone until you have to sit down and write about them holistically. It’s less about the immediate feelings of grief on their passing, and more about sharing what made them special to people who, honestly, likely have similar experiences with them. You can’t make it too personal because other people are grieving too, but making it so bland that it has no personality is pretty lame too.

When my dad died almost eight years ago, he had lived a full life: birth, school, marriage, kids, jobs, church, etc. Logical steps along the narrative journey that were generally easy to write about because, let’s be honest, most of his life was behind him – he was 72 afterall.

But what about Jen?

Continue reading “Obituaries are Hard”

Best Imitation of Myself

As I do almost every year, I try to find a new way to get interested about writing things. This blog is full of series started and stopped abruptly, with no ultimate payoff or whatever. I think rewatching movies last year lasted about a month.

But I digress.

As I was finishing out 2021, I was listening to a bunch of Ben Folds music (again), as my musical taste has been squarely stuck on my favorite artist from when I was in high school. And that’s fine! A lot of Ben Folds’ music seems to punctuate certain periods in my life in ways that I can’t really figure out, so I thought I would lean into it a bit this year.

I was initially going to try and rank all the songs of Mr. Folds (and friends), but I’ve kind of done that already (see Ben Folds By Track), though that kind of leaves off a bunch of songs. So instead what I’m going to do is write essays (often personal) about 100 “tracks” off Ben Folds and Ben Folds Five music. Some stuff I’ve written on before (as it will be with tomorrow’s first entry), but I am randomly going to choose one of the songs from his catalog (I’m sticking to “mainstream” albums) and write about whatever the song makes me think initially.

I don’t anticipate that many people will read along with me in this endeavor, and that’s okay! But if I happen to expose somebody to the music of Ben Folds that otherwise didn’t know about it, that will make me happy. And if it helps me exercise my writing muscle a little bit, even better.

I plan on a daily release schedule (Monday through Friday) going forward, but we’ll see how long that keeps up and if I can get a bit ahead when a stinker of a song comes up randomly. If you want to do some homework before tomorrow’s post, you can listen to the last song on The Sound of the Life of the Mind to get ready.

Hope you come along for this journey!

New Year, New Me or Whatever

Welcome to 2021!

This blog has been resurrected with a new name. No more “” If my name minus the hyphen was available, I would have just called it that, but it looks like the other Robert Eberhard finally got his site up and running. Go buy some stuff and tell him I sent you!

(You don’t really have to do that).

One of my goals for this year is to write more. I will still be writing about European football (soccer) over at SportMuse from time to time, but I needed another creative outlets to continue to polish my writing in the event I ever actually finish the book I started to write. So I decided to start with something that might be able to keep my interest for a bit as I get this thing back off the ground.

As you can see from the new title – Robert Writes About… – I’m going to be writing about things. Per usual, it will be mostly random stuff that has been the flavor of this blog since I started writing on it way back in 2004. Movies. Books. Music. Politics. History. Stuff. So many things.

And I’m going to try and write fairly regularly too. The plan is to write something Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. By the end of 2021, I hope to see over 1,000 posts here. But how are we going to get there?

Glad you asked.

I’m going to start with some true randomness. Thanks to the wonderful people over at FlickChart, I’ve been able to rank over 1,500 movies. But, to be perfectly honest, hundreds of those movies I’ve watched only once and many years ago. So I’ve decided on a little project.

I’m going to try and rewatch all those movies. It’s a multiple year process, so I won’t get through all those movies this year, but I’m going to start and try to get to some better rankings, because, frankly, they are a little off. The ones at the top are pretty solidly entrenched, but I’m sure there are some gems mixed in in the middle that should probably be higher and vice versa, so we’re going to find out.

So I’m going to use a random number generator to “assign” movies based on their current position. With 1,516 movies ranked – from Dogma at the top to eXistenZ at the very bottom – there is a wide variety of what I could end up being.

But I’m not just going to write about these movies.

I’m going to have 84 “wildcard” topics so that the total random numbers is 1,600; chances are, I’ll be writing about a lot of movies, but here’s how I see the numbers breaking down:

1 – 1516: FlickChart ranked movies
1517 – 1530: The “best” movies I haven’t seen according to FlickChart
1531 – 1550: Book reviews
1551 – 1570: Music stuff, likely a look back at my previous Ben Folds stuff
1571 – 1590: Topics from politics (TBD what direction this will go in)
1591 – 1600: History things

When I write about a movie, the plan is to re-rank it after a rewatch, and those random numbers (1 – 1530) will only be used once. If a number comes up a second time, and the movie in that spot hasn’t changed, I’ll do a post from one of the other areas. Numbers above 1530 will be used multiple times regardless of how many times they come up, unless they turn into new movies as others shift down as others are added to the list.

This will all make better sense once I actually get going, so let’s head to the random number generator to see what I’ll be writing about next week:

Monday: 1126 – Eight Men Out (1988)
Wednesday: 1273 – Deep Impact (1998)
Friday: 12 – Saving Private Ryan (1998)

I already think that Eight Men Out is a little low based on that number, so this should be a fun exercise. But it’s also only been rated once, which means it probably lost out to a higher movie and was placed there back when I had only rated 1100 movies or so.

As I work on exercising multiple muscles in the next year – this is finally the year I get in better shape! – I hope that you will join me on this little adventure. If you like what you see, be sure to let me know, or you can donate a little money on the posts when they pop up.

Until next time…

Robert Writes a Book – Day 38

In an effort to find the story a little better, I decided to try something new. Instead of working on the same section, filling in page after page of background and “world building,” I wrote what I hope is the start of the thread that gets my protagonist heading onward on his journey. We’ll see if anything comes to pass over the next few days.

It must have worked, because I wrote a lot more than I was expecting. I was dreading writing about the same old boring stuff that I have been for the past few days and was almost going to not write anything. I didn’t want to keep chasing a story that was probably never going to come unless I got closer to it in my timeline, so that’s what I did. There’s still a lot to do in what is now the vacant middle, including some tragic, character-building stuff that will be a major part of my “hero’s journey,” but I’m a little more excited to see what happens next, and if I can find something for him to do in the meantime.

On with the stats:

Total words written: 28,499 (+1,243 from yesterday)
Daily average: 750 (up from 737)
Approximate days to end goal: 175+
Approximate days to next reveal: 28+