Monday, January 31, 2011

So, it's been a couple of weeks.

The first charge I gave myself with my little project was to get out the box of old journals and take a general look at them.

You know, there is a reason a diary is often referred to as private or secret. Remember when stores sold diaries with little locks on them?

I now understand this.

I don't have many secrets, per se, but the written thoughts of a young girl who assumes no one else will be reading them are... difficult to get through. Like, really difficult. Some of the early entries cracked me up, but most of it was detailing kids at school who I no longer remember, or teachers I didn't like, who I do still remember but don't care so much. At some point, I must have thought I did have secrets, because there are permanent marker cross outs in several sections. The only thing I can think of is if I said something bad about a friend and later ended up regretting it.

Despite exciting entries like that, I found the early years to be pretty dull. I fast forwarded to the pivotal first boyfriend years, specifically to the break-up. I had one of those break-ups where the guy wanted to remain friends, which always sounds like a great idea at the time. You hear stories like, "We dated for two years and it just didn't work out. But now we're great friends!" Or, "I hang out with my ex's new girlfriend all the time!" I think I thought I could be one of those people. Likewise, I think my ex-boyfriend thought I could be one of those people.

Not that I beileve so much in the meaning behind astrological signs, but... I'm a scorpio. Scorpios are generally passionate, jealous and possessive. Of course, I would never be any of those things, but sometimes the stars align the right way and a mood strikes. I'm just saying.

What I noticed most about that period of writing is the specific absence of detail regarding the break-up. I think at the time it was too difficult to even write about. By the time I did, we were in broken-up-but-friends territory, and that was downright painful. I wish I could time travel to meet with late 1990s Stephanie and let her know, "Girl, let that boy go. You have plenty of other friends. Including guy friends."

But what can you do?

What surprised me most about my journal revist, was how long I kept a written journal. I thought I stopped writing around age 20, but I found entries as late as age 25! There was written documentation of my engagement to my husband. I was really shocked to find that, and I'm glad I felt it was important enough at the time to write it down.

I have not gotten very in-depth with this little journal project; I'm not sure if I'll revisit it soon, or ever. Part of me wants to take all 20 something of those books and dump them in a tire fire. If I can barely read them, why keep them around? The thought of someone else reading them is enough to incite a panic attack. But there is something to be said about holding on to that written word. It's a little piece of history. So for now, the box of journals remains. Tucked away, deep in the closet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hello, blog.

“Remember when you used to blog?” a good friend recently asked.

Well, at least I recall this being recently, but upon further reflection I realize this was at least 3 or 4 months ago. Possibly longer.

In any case, I replied, “Yes! I do remember blogging!”

It’s hard to forget eight years of fairly dedicated updates to my old LiveJournal. This was before the days of the Great Facebook Takeover. It was a gradual takeover, and for awhile, we maintained dual lives; Facebook to catch up with those who did not blog and to get quick updates, “LJ” to get the details. Eventually, Facebook even snatched up those early adopters of social networking from their safe little LiveJournal havens, forcing them into the free-for-all world of inane updates like, ”I had oatmeal for breakfast, but not the instant kind!” or, “three more days till Friday!!!”

It used to be you had to work to get to those one-liners, buried in musings about how we spent our weekends, painfully verbose descriptions of people and events, listing out our lives in the way outdated methods of communication like letters do. Now you can take a picture on your phone, send it to Facebook, and not have to say a thing. You don’t even have to use words to comment on the photo, you can just click a thumbs up sign and “Like” it. I suppose Facebook has made us all lazy.

But, before I get, as my friend Jeff says, all “get off my lawn!” on the advancement of social networking, I simply wanted to say this: Yes, I remember blogging. And I miss it. Now that I have a working rough draft of a novel, I'm looking for more outlets to practice writing. I thought back to my early days of blogging, which was manual style journaling (you know, with pen and paper) and even further back to my very first diary. It had a puffy cover with a rainbow on it. Which gave me an idea. What if I were to go back through my old diaries and journals and reflect on them? Surely my life has been full of enough humiliation to glean a bit of a comically tragic coming of age story. Plus, I distinctly remember drawing in the margins and sketching the names of my favorite bands, so at the very least, that might be entertaining.

My first charge is to get the box of journals out of the closet to see what I'm working with.