I have deliberately placed this post on the day before the day that I actually started writing this blog. In actual fact, I'm writing this entry on 2010-11-28 (with updates in 2013). It's a mysterious post-from-the-future! By this anachronistic act, however, I mean to introduce my grand, narcissistic project: retroblogging.
I realized, some time back, that the ability to back-date blog posts means that I could post to my blog back in time: to times before I was blogging; to times before there were blogs; even to times before I was born.
The fact is, I have been journaling, on and off, in rather bloggy fashion, for a major portion of my life. So one day, I had the epiphany that I could transfer the content of my paper journals to this blog. Perhaps selectively. But… autobiographically.
Several times, I've taken steps to try to "digitize" some of my old journals. Before the "hard drive disaster of '98," I'd typed over 100 pages into a laptop. There's a certain narcissism inherent in this sort of project, I realize, but reviewing the past has a certain therapeutic value for me, and putting out into the online universe matches up well with my beliefs and feelings about the importance of living a sort of radical transparency – not as a prescription for others but for myself.
Not all the journal entries are equally suitable for placement online. Some are, frankly, illegible. Some are disturbingly banal, or downright incoherent. A few are too private to put online, even for someone as radically transparent as I strive to be. But there are lots of things I think I'd like to record. This blog entry, here, will serve as a place to "explain" what these "retroblog" posts are about, that I can link to in a note at the bottom of those old posts. The posts themselves will show up at the appropriate date, in the archives, through the use of the back-dating feature.
Here is a picture of some of my journals. I carry several kilos of these green- or blue-ruled "comp books" with me from continent to continent.
I also tended to keep journals on those those yellow legal pad thingies – but over the years, those have decomposed into disorganized manila folders crammed with paper. I carry those around, too.
All along, my approach has been not unlike the way that I continue to approach this blog. The difference is that I was much less aware, for the most part, of a specific audience. If I thought of an audience at all, it was most likely some mysterious future biographer. Or simply my future self. And, in fact, clearly, that latter future audience idea was exactly right. But now… with some selectivity, I'm going to be putting dated entries here in blogtopia.
Dumping the many caveats of my life from my paper dumptruck.
I was most prolific during my last two years of high school and during my college years. But there are interesting materials to be found for nearly every year, if I poke around a bit. I doodled a lot. I frequently experimented with my handwriting – sort of a private typography. Almost always, I had some "language-in-progress" that I was trying to study, and just like today, I would jot down notes or lists of vocabulary. I sometimes typed, using a manual typewriter, imagining something hemingwayesque, maybe.
Here are some images of pages from these past journals.