I have strayed.
When I started this blog almost two years ago (anonymously, unpublished except to Lyart, and on a different platform) I had a sort of amorphous idea about what I was doing.
First, I wanted to write.
I have always loved writing – the process itself – the way the words just came out and formed unexpected ideas in mysterious ways. I especially loved those moments when The Flow happened. Sitting with pen in hand, (or later with fingers poised over the typewriter, and then later the word processor, the PC, and finally the laptop keyboard), I would get to a place where firings from some indiscriminate part of my brain between the conscious and subconscious realms would streak their way from nerve to nerve, all the way down to my fingers who then seemed to move of their own accord as words, sentences, paragraphs almost magically appeared on paper or screen before my eyes. It was cathartic. It was magic. The words weren’t all that special in themselves; in fact, they were mostly unworthy of even banal consumption, much less critical acclaim. But they came from a surprising place whose existence had been unknown to me. They made me realize how much there must be in there, and then out there, to discover and explore. They turned me into a traveler.
Second, I wanted to write my stories – before they disappear into the Land of the Demented Forgotten. My original concept was to take impulses from my current life and use them as a springboard into some story or significant moment of my past. I wanted to reflect how life is not really linear, but rounded. We keep circling back, returning to places and things we know. We have routines and comforting habits and seasonal rituals . . . I stuck to that concept pretty well for quite a few months weeks. Then slowly but surely, this blog turned into something my sister accurately described as “memoirs in real time”. In other words, an online diary.
That wasn’t the plan.
All this introspection probably comes from the fact that I made great strides in getting my sister to start a blog of her own. I’ve been following her first experiments and her process of figuring out what she wants to do and how she wants to do it. Naturally it has made me think about my own blog’s evolution. Since I don’t really know where I am going at the moment, I feel the urge to return to my roots. And now I have found someone to help me. My younger self.
I suppose I had a lot of possessions when I left the States over 30 years ago. There was a huge stamp collection, for one thing, that finally got sold just a few years ago. There was probably some furniture and a stereo. Lots of books. Clothes that didn’t fit into the two suitcases I brought with me. And I’m sure a lot more. Over the years it mostly got tossed, or lost in a shuffle, or given away, or transported across the Atlantic in a giant canvas US Mail bag. Eventually, all that was left in the States was my ten-speed (“The Rejuvenator”) and the contents of one black footlocker in my sister’s guest room closet.
I figure I have been back to visit that footlocker between 20 and 25 times. Each time I opened it up and there they were: my childhood journals. (Not “diaries” mind you; diaries were lame and for prisses.) Each time I briefly contemplated taking them back with me when I left. And then I picked up one and opened it to a random page and read. Cringe. I picked up a different one and read a paragraph. Again, cringe. I tossed the notebook back in and shut the lid. Maybe next visit, I thought.
Well, this year, the notebooks finally got to accompany me on my flight back to Austria. I have set myself the task of reading all of them in order and know already that it is going to be a humbling experience. From the little snatches I have read so far (while figuring out what order they go in), I assume I will be reading a lot about the boys I grew up and went to school with. Lots and lots of boys’ names are in there, often two in a single entry. (And no, I didn’t have a lot of boyfriends during my school years, although, apparently, not
for lack of trying.) I also seem to use the words “depressed” and “rowdy” a lot. On the bright side, there are no smiley faces or hearts. I don’t dot the letters “I” or “j” with little flowers. I also don’t end every sentence with an exclamation point. Those are little things, but they will help.
Time will tell if this plan will become the masochistic exercise I expect or if one or two little gems might be gleaned out of the rough. Best case scenario – maybe I will be able to start a new recurring blog feature. So, watch for it!
“Cringe-worthy. The Series.”
“Missives from My Teenage Self”