Sunday, April 27, 2008

1,099,596 Words a Decade

10:09 P.M.
Journal Entry # 1
Yep, it’s that time again. Every year I try to keep a journal. Every year I think that this is going to be the year I write every day and final begin to hone this craft I’ve been working on for years. Maybe this isn’t the most positive ways to start off one of these but hey, that’s just the sort of mood I’m in right now. If anything, maybe I’ll get some use out of this new computer, break in the keyboard a little bit, and figure out if it is possible to type with a steering wheel on your desk.

Ten years ago this experiment started. That’s what I wrote when I first embarked on this serious attempt to be a writer. Maybe it wasn’t the most inspiring opening in history but it is a start. At least I’ve gotten rid of the steering wheel.

It’s tough for me to think about just how long I’ve wanted to be a writer. It really goes back to being a kid playing around with a manual typewriter. I’ve just always been fascinated by telling stories and reading stories and I thought it was the best job ever. Plus, your books got to be placed in libraries for everyone to see and I thought that was all kinds of cool.

So as a kid I loved writing assignments where I would get to be creative and funny. All of those wild daydreams I would have to make my days in the classroom go by faster finally had a place to go. In high school I started writing out these one page comedy skits that I would share with people. It was an extension of the whole Bart Shakespeare character and showed to everyone that I wasn’t just a math nerd. I think the only reason I would want to be a teenager today is that I could blog and have a bigger audience than my little one pagers had. High school would have been much easier if I had a platform where I could present myself by writing instead of by having to actually talk to people.

I’d still try to write in college, mainly short stories that I will no longer let anyone see because of how bad they were. My love for writing was dampened by the fact that a) I spent all my time looking at squiggly circuit diagrams and b) I was coming to the conclusion that I wasn’t good at it. That was tough for me to deal with because I knew I was letting a dream die. The math nerd was going to win out.

But in 1998 I decided to make one last try at writing. I started a writer’s journal or at least that is what I called it. Officially a writer’s journal is supposed to be where you collect all of your story ideas at character sketches and little pieces that you write over time. I never did that. My writer’s journal quickly became my sitting down at the computer and spending fifteen or twenty minutes writing about my life or whatever caught my attention at the time. Technically that would make it a diary but I’m a guy and guys don’t keep diaries. Hence, I always call it my writer’s journal.

Ten years later and I’m still writing in it. Over one million words and counting, a fact I swear I didn’t know until I just did the calculation. It’s morphed into the blog over the past few years resulting in some slight changes. It is less of a diary now and more of a pop culture criticism with personal stories thrown in. I’m still a little saddened by that because one of the best aspects of this project has been the fact that an entire decade of my life has been documented. I’ve been able to send people proof of what I thought about them the first time we met because I had written about it. So much of my past is collected in these files it is just incredible. I really think everyone should try to keep a journal at least once in their lives. You will learn more about yourself by just letting yourself write for no one except yourself. I became who I am through these nightly sessions at the computer.

I still don’t know if I have fulfilled my dream of being a writer. I am much closer than I was ten years ago and my writing has improved so much it is staggering. But I’m just happy that I still enjoy sitting down every night and looking at a blank screen, wondering just where I will go tonight. I get to create every day as part of my hobby. Maybe one day I will turn it into more than a hobby. But until then I’ll take pride in the past decade of work.

Best of 120 Minutes: Not sure why I’m posting this video. I just remember that it is the first time I saw Bjork. Maybe I just feel like giving props to the greatest Icelandic rock band ever. Ok, the only Icelandic rock band ever.

The five random CDs for the week:
1) Jump, Little Children “The Early Years, Volume 1”
2) The Smithereens “11”
3) The Pogues “The Ultimate Collection”
4) Josh Rouse “1972”
5) Damien Rice “Live from Union Chapel”

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