shout out louds // my friend & the ink on his fingers
“Nothing quite has reality for me till I write it all down — revising and embellishing as I go. I’m always waiting for things to be over so I can get home and commit them to paper.” - Erica Jong
Lately I’ve been wondering the value of trying to write about my life for the internet now that I get paid to write for other people’s lives at my job. The sad truth is that I wonder if what I do came more naturally to me before my employment hinged on my ability to do it. The writing I did before I had to do it was more consistent, more natural and honestly, better that any of the writing I try to do now. Most of what I attempt ends up scorned and stored away in the void, of my “Drafts” folder, stuck there in a mysterious Tumblr holding tank, only to be deleted in a fit of self-loathing after a day of plunking out some directional copy.
I’ve done such a poor job cataloguing anything that I think or do or feel since I started this job that in fact, even though it continues to be one of the biggest changes in my recent life, and one of the only things I will truly carry with me into adulthood, there is little mention of it at all on my blog, other than this.
I started to write a post like this about the best days and most memorable experiences of my year, only to discover that I’d barely tossed any of them into the Tumblr world. I plunked together an album of my favorite photos from the year on my iPhone, only to realize that most of the days memorialized in those photos went unrecorded. As a person who, for years, has relied on my written accounts to recall the way experiences made me feel, I was left wondering what made many of those moments so great.
I know that sounds melodramatic, but I’ve structured my memory to work around my writing since I’ve been quite young. I’ve remembered things specifically for the purpose of writing them down. When I don’t, where do they go? This is one of the first years I can remember for which I have little written account, and that’s not a trend I’d like to continue. It was the first year I made little to no note of the books I read, the music I discovered, the movies I saw, the new places I went, the clothes I wore, or the people with whom I did any of those things. But it was also a year in which most of the things I regularly do and the people with whom I do them changed more dramatically than they have in almost four years. I don’t know how, or if, that was influenced by my failure to catalogue what was happening around me.
Most days, by the time I stumble home and fall face down into my bed with my clothes on, the thought of pushing any more words out of my head is emotionally exhausting. I don’t really mind, but when I see the way so many of the people I follow have grown into their writing through Tumblr and its community, I know I’m not only wasting a resource, but refusing to practice my profession in the most useful, painless way possible.
In the past, I always used writing as a way to work things out in my head. To process the anxiety and the uncertainty, to be able to look at a concrete explanation of it in front of me. This year, not only did I have little time to question my moves from one place to the other, I didn’t have much reason to. I fell into the career I’d imagined myself having since I’ve been a very, very little girl. I developed the social life I saw on sitcoms about other people my age, a life I once imagined did not really exist. I still feel anxious – mostly all of the time, and especially at night – but I don’t honestly worry that it’s not going to work out. So I don’t write about it.
And that’s not right, because for me, writing has to happen for better or for worse. So as I try again to put to words what it is that made this year memorable, it will mostly be that. This last one was the first year, that for the first time, I honestly started to believe that eventually everything be okay.