Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One line at a time

For Christmas 2011, I was given one of those 5-year journals where you write a line each day and then the next year you start back at the beginning and write a line under the first (continued theoretically for five years...but I'm presently on year two). It's a neat idea because, when I'm being good about it, it's a nice way to record the little intricacies of each day that don't make it to the blog, as well as the exact day that events both big and small occurred. And then, more importantly, unlike this blog, which theoretically I could go back and pour over if I didn't have anything better to do, having to write the line for each year under the ones above it causes me to actually re-read what happened to me previously. In doing so, I've learned a lot about my writing style, patterns of which I was not aware, and how honest I can be when I'm assuming I will be the only reader.

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Since January is coming to an end, I thought I'd share a couple of things I've learned about myself from re-reading last year's journals while adding this year's:

-I always feel like I'm in a rut in January. (Note, I'm going to throw the word "always" around with impunity despite just explaining that my sample size here is only two.) I think it's because after the holidays and my birthday, the winter in New York can just be kind of depressing, with very little to look forward to until spring happens. Last year's January bitching was mostly centered around grad school woes and how I'm probably not good enough to get in. (Keep in mind that these self-pitying entries were long before I'd even finished applying, much less been rejected). This year's complaints are more about certain aspects of my job which just seem that much sillier when I look at how much worse my job was in January of last year. Lesson to be learned: clearly this has less to do with my ability to write or how many vacation days I have, and I should just suck it up and go ice skating or something because winter really isn't that bad. 

-It will always take me at least three weeks into the new year to stop writing the date for last year in the blank. Again, sample size of two, but I feel like I can accurately predict this. 

-I enjoy little ironies like the fact that we won the first two weeks of a trivia tournament at the same bar where two days later and a year earlier we won trivia night for the very first time. Are we growing smarter? Or have we just learned to figure out the way the trivia woman thinks, like finally understanding Will Shortz's clue code through constant cross wording? I tend to think the latter, but I have finally gotten to a point where I can remember the capital of Australia is Canberra, and not Darwin as I always try to make it. 

-Regardless of what else happened that day, whenever possible I try to get a line in about food. What I ate, what I made, which recipes were failures. I don't really see that changing any time soon.

In addition to mulling over the past, writing in this journal gets me thinking of the future. All of those blank lines, yet unfilled. What will I be doing December 31st of 2016 when the last entry is written? I've always had a soft spot for writing messages to my future self. From swapping letters to friends to be sent later to writing myself emails on, I guess I just like the idea of writing to this person who is technically me, but who is so much more knowledgeable about what I'm doing in the future. I think part of this stems from laziness. Future Me is hopefully reaping the benefits (or consequences...) of the work Present Me is doing today. I actually had a dream about this (or technically not a dream because I never remember mine, so to be more exact: a fully conscious daydream of sorts while riding the subway). Me from 6 months in the future was holding a perfectly finished, printed, and bound screenplay. She said it was perfect (which is further proof that this is a dream, because I can't imagine ever feeling that about any piece of writing, let alone my own), but then held it just out of reach. The implication was that I could have that in 6 months, but only if I actually, you know, put the work in today. Future Me just seems so much better at that. 

I feel like this whole post is a bit more stream of consciousness than I originally intended. I just wanted to take a moment to assure readers that I'm not having a psychotic break wherein I start conversations with my future self on the subway. I've seen that particular unhinged subway rider, but it's never been me! Looking forward, I think my main focus will be on actually finishing one of the projects I've started. At the very least, I can say I've committed to writing every day. Even if it's just one line. 

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