Secret Pop

May 30, 2010

A Headache Not Worth Having

I used to write more things down. I used to have dreams all the time and remember them. I used to stop mid-sentence and scramble to find a pen. Maybe it's something about all of this micro-blogging. I think of something and just spit it right out. There's never a chance to let the words linger a bit. See where they go. See if anything comes of them. There's no mellowing period. The immediacy overtakes the art. I've even learned to forgive myself if a tweet contains a typo. It's usually an iPhone typing gaff. And if I don't catch it before two other things have been posted, I commit it to history and accept that there will always be evidence that I might not know the difference between "if" and "of." That is an evolutionary shift.

Not so with this blog of mine. Even today, if I happen across a post from years ago where "going" is spelled "giong," I fix it and republish on the spot. Preserving quality for a posterity that is ironically bound to be less expansive and perhaps less attentive than the ones who read what I tweet. Although one could argue that having a great deal of attention for a second or two at a time does not constitute occupying a place of great meaning in people's lives. It's the ones who sit and listen for a while. The ones who wish there was more. Those are the ears worth whispering into. Those are the ones who will hear now and yesterday and sometime later today and be able to tie it all together, context being a precious, precious thing that nearly never accompanies a status update. Those are the ones who would notice if you were tweeting in a series. They wouldn't require the two of three.

But notebook time was a different time. The notebook was a staging area for something more complete. And I would review what I'd written without waiting so long that my handwriting became illegible to me. And I would fill the notebooks up before they began to disintegrate in my handbag. The notebook was a place I would remind myself to make more of things later. And, in general, I would follow through. That is becoming less the case.

These end up being ways for me to feel the vitality in me ebbing. If I sit with a pen poised over a blank notebook page, I might wait for hours and find that nothing seems worth saying. When I was in high school, and we were required to sit and write in a journal for a half-hour period every day for one semester, I often filled those pages up with song lyrics. Because I couldn't think of anything else to say. All my angsty teenage musings and I couldn't make sentences of them. But I could remember the lyrics to songs I liked. And I usually liked them either because they made me feel forlorn and romantic or because they said things that sounded dirty to me. So those are the words I wrote. No one was ever going to read them. It was more an exercise in penmanship than in anything else.

And in some ways, it's a kind of code. A way to say, "I'm feeling something," without having to say what it is. And if anyone gets wise, you can just point out that it's a song and that you didn't write it, and there ends accountability. Anyone who presses you further either doesn't understand social cues or really, really cares about you.

The notebook I carry still contains sporadic history. There's the bit I wrote when I was waiting for that guy, the first time we went out and he was a little late. There's the thing my friend said that made me want to launch a line of greeting cards. There's the mini-diary I kept the first time I flew to New York for my current job and everything seemed so pre-perfect.

I've managed to sunburn my front half pretty well. Tomorrow I will set out in search of balance. And the outcome will be damage in symmetry, but damage just the same.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Goddamn. I miss you so much.