How happy is the blameless Vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.
– Alexander Pope
Just a quick acknowledgment of the obvious —
In 2003 when I first began blogging, my Xanga journal had a very diary-esque, captain’s log-type format. We’ll call it “captain’s blog.” Har har har ughhhhhhh. Anyway, I would recount each day or week’s activities and talk about how I felt and what was on my mind. Over time as the popular concept of blogging and online networking has morphed into a less personal and more “public stage” thing, my view of my blog has gradually changed as well. First it was like “Oh if I’m working on trying to be kinder, I shouldn’t vent about this person or that person and make them feel bad or make them think I’m dramatic,” and then it was “Oh I can’t talk about work frustrations because I’ll be sacked,” and then “Oh I shouldn’t talk about ideas for improvements to such-and-such because people will think I’m being critical,” and then “Oh nobody wants to hear about the details of my Thursday afternoon,” and then “I’m so busy and don’t have time to be more detailed,” and finally “Why the heck is Stranger McPlatypusface already following me on Google Buzz?” and so on, and so forth. And as the love of keeping in touch and keeping tabs on people has spread to even the most determined luddites, the list of things appropriate to post publicly (for example: things appropriate for one’s peers, one’s boss, one’s mom, and random 6-year-olds in other countries to read) certainly dwindled.
So after moving to WordPress in 2006 (time flies!) and slowly getting more readers, I started to try to shift the blog’s style from epistolary, daily housekeeping stuff to more succinct, visual stuff. I like where it has gone, and I think it performs a great function in my life: I’m able to share things that inspire me and interest me with others who either know me or have common interests, and I’m able to keep people up-to-date on the general happenings in my life.
But recently I started reading Pepys’ Diary, the diary of a 17th century Englishman converted to a blog, and I have been engrossed. He’s a pretty ordinary guy, and that’s actually why the text is so valuable. It’s amazing to see him feeling a certain way that I feel sometimes, which makes me realize how much things stay the same. Or worrying about something I just don’t get, or doing something that I can’t relate to at all, which makes me realize how much things change. It’s interesting to see what he considers worthy of keeping track of. Above all, I love the idea of possible descendants amusing themselves by seeing what I was doing on a given day centuries before. Posterity!
Also recently I had a conversation with Deanna that made me want to pinpoint my feelings at a specific point in my life circa 2003 – 2004. I cracked open the old, diary-esque blog and went to town searching for it, and had a similar experience to reading Pepys’ Diary. It’s also a lot like when I was moving out of the old house on Floyd and I went through my shoeboxes full of letters and flyers and ticket stubs. There’s such a sense of awe and nostalgia that reading detailed descriptions of old events brings! It’s so amazing to read about some random night when I went to such-and-such a place with such-and-such people and we talked about such-and-such. The brain naturally forgets these small details or at least rubs them smooth in our memories, and yet here they are, laid down in perfect sharpness for the future. By turns it’s incredibly uplifting and humbling to gaze at my then-self through the glass of the years, seeing how much things have changed and feeling relieved “to grow older / to move away from those awful times,” and also seeing how much some things haven’t changed and feeling embarrassment at still being so hardheaded and having so far to go. I was also struck by the fact that I have this daily record of my life from my sad years, but none from my happy years. Seems lopsided. Also, I remember that the daily (or almost-daily) practice of quieting down for half an hour and typing in an almost stream-of-consciousness fashion was healthy and therapeutic, if not entertaining for the world at large.
At any rate, I’ve started back up with the journal-style recording, blogging elsewhere with the “today, I got up and did this and that” posts. I’m glad to have an additional captain’s log-type record, starting now, when I’m at the happiest and most energetic I’ve ever been. And I’m glad to have my space here to share with you, so don’t worry — this will still be the place for general news, inspiration, pretty things, interesting links, and a measure of introspection. By the way, thank you for reading after all this time, because, you know…you don’t have to. You could be reading about Mr. Pepys instead. ♥
Writing a journal implies that one has ceased to think of the future and has decided to live wholly in the present. It is an announcement to fate that you expect nothing more….Writing a journal means facing an ocean you are afraid to swim across, and deciding to drink it drop by drop.
– George Sand