1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Spiral-bound Blog

Dedicated as I am to the history of our house, I’m just as – if not more – dedicated to my own. I go through spells of obsessive genealogy research, only to get bogged down in all the names and dates and disappointed with the lack of photographic or anecdotal evidence.

It’s fascinating to learn that my great-great-great-grandfather (my one Irish relative) worked as a bridge builder in Mobile, Ala., but does that really tell me anything about myself?

More telling are the recent artifacts of my life. I’m an admitted packrat, but there is method to my madness. When I look back at all the flotsam of my formative years – the freckled Midge doll, the signatures in my middle school yearbooks (“I was the first to sign your crack!” – Chanda Wilson), the notes written in purple ink and folded into squares, the criss-cross-strapped blue prom dress, the worn suede Vans with “I love ?” written on the toe in pencil – it reminds me of the person or people I used to be.

Much as I would sometimes like to forget that I once had pit stains at the Homecoming dance, it is important to keep lessons like these hanging around. Double up the deodorant before dancing, girlfriend. See there, what if I forgot that?

And the remains of the corsage I didn’t wear to a different Homecoming dance (what’s with Homecoming anyway?) remind me that I was mean once to a boy who didn’t deserve it.

But the best sources of all are my journals. Yes, I was a blogger back when it required a pencil and paper.

I wrote pretty consistently in my journals (I went through several) from 7th through 12th grades. This was not considered a cool activity at the time, so I kept it quiet. Different from now, huh?

The journals are mostly full of idiotic stuff like rankings of which boy I liked best that day. (Feel free to join me in a sigh of relief that I am no longer 14.)

Also featured prominently are elaborate weight-loss plans and play-by-plays of my interactions with various boys, including my – usually faulty – analysis. It’s so easy to read it all now and see how dumb I was.

My journal writing slowed to a trickle after high school. My favorite way to write was in pencil, by lamplight, in a spiral-bound notebook, just before I went to sleep. Sharing a 12x12 dorm room, that got harder to do. Besides, I was out actually living my life instead of just daydreaming about one.

Then I met Darwin the summer after freshman year of college. He inspired a few frenzied journal entries, but then? What did I have to write about now that I had what I’d always wanted?

So a whole chunk of my life is missing. When Darwin and I can’t remember something about the early months and years of our relationship, there’s no reference to check. That makes me a little sad because now, almost 6 years later, some things about that time are hazy and others are gone entirely.

But now there is this blog. It’s the new record of my history, our history and our house’s. Even just 18 months into this, some of our early mistakes already make me cringe. But that’s okay. How else are we going to learn?

8 Comments:

John said...

I completely understand.

I started my journal writing a lot later in life than you. I was a senior in college and I kept up with it pretty well until I started the Devil Queen blog & my son was born. Between the two of them, I just don't have time to scribble to myself anymore.

Really, it's a shame because I write so I will remember. There are a lot of conversations I had with my grandparents that I wish I'd written down. They are all gone now, and I'm just not sure if what I remember is true or what I have forgotten.

As for the geneology bug, my Dad and I both have it. What this means is that we both have closets full geneology papers, but, like you, I sometimes have to wonder what it all means. In any case I feel compelled to collect it.

7:59 AM  
Jocelyn said...

I have journals from about age 13 to late my early thirties. I went thru some rough periods so some of it makes for interesting reading. It is truly fascinating to go back and read some of it- just to see what was on my mind back then.

Blogging has got me writing alot more again, which is good though of course I don't blog as personal as I would in my journal!

At one point I threw away a year of journals I felt were "toxic" and I regret it today- I would love to read them now.

4:32 PM  
mindy said...

Kristin,

I was always a journaler, too. I have stacks of notebooks from my highschool and college days, and tiny little pink-papered diaries from elementary school. They're all hilarious in their own right.

It's a good, cathartic habit that our kids will probably get a real kick out of someday. I doubt I could give it up even if I wanted to - I am so addicted to documenting my life. Friends often marvel at how much I remember about our younger selves; it's definitely due to the journaling!

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