Sunday, March 7, 2010

Continuity and meaning.

When I was in my early teens, I began to develop a desire to track the daily aspects of my life.  This began with notes about trips and travel (such as they were), grades from my schooling, lists of the most popular radio songs of the week, the names of girls who entranced me, and so forth.

As the entries grew, and began to include more small drawings and typographical experiments, the agenda-style books I'd been using began to feel stifling, and I changed over to undated journals (usually with unlined pages).  Although I still enjoyed the format of the daily agenda, once I made the switch those books caught far less of my content, became scarcely used or referenced, and increasingly remained untouched from each February onward.

In these journals I developed much of my calligraphic flexibility, my computer-friendly date/time coding system, and my voice as a writer, all while compiling a fairly detailed record of my experiential, psychological, emotional, and intellectual histories.

The frequency and size of individual entries certainly varied (heh - that's what she said), and there are gaps from time to time, but I still have a remarkable record of my moves, relationships, big thoughts, drug experiences, moral intentions and material ambitions, lies, and general events, from my teenage years onward.

Over the past three or four years, my journal writing has dropped to effectively zero.  I don't even have a book to use at this moment.  This would mostly be due to computers and my job.

To imprison writing in physical form, rather than letting it float in a constant state of editability and as potential copypaste material, seems almost Luddite.  And now that every week is moreorless indistinguishable from the last, I certainly have less to say than I ever have.

I remember the gradual realization that I was losing my ability to write pen-in-hand.  It began to require far too much time and patience to record even the simplest ideas, and the keyboard beckoned.  Now, of course, I realize what is lost when one gives up contemplation and brevity in favor of an ease-of-use-enabled word-dump process.  There isn't too much that's better about how I write now, which is usually closer to shallow recreation than to creation.

My smokinggirlsinaction journal project -- named after my realization that most of my early musings centered around smoking, girls, and inaction -- was always designed to record and track my progression as a person.  Since I no longer have that continuity, in a sense I am that much less a person.  And I already know of several other aspects of my being that are less than they once were.

So a radical revision may be in order, something violent -- not to the world, or to myself, but to the order of things as they have currently settled in my controllable environment.

I can shore up my circumstances as they are, and charge ahead in the direction I'm already facing.  I can quit my job tomorrow, run out on my established habits and my spoken or unspoken commitments, and hit the road.  I can opt for a flight later in the year when I have had a chance to liquidate and plan.  But regardless of which choice I take, or if I avoid the challenge and continue to drift, I MUST re-establish my written journal, and the pattern of staying in daily touch with it regardless of how empty I might initially feel.

Mustn't I?  After all, this is a core life function I am neglecting...

However, questions remain.  This weblog was envisioned as a continuation of that thread of self and meaning, but this post says a lot about the state of the project in general.  Accepting Leary's proposition that a life lived openly and publicly is defensively and actively effective, do I decide to go with the future and the evolution -- as it legitimately can be seen -- to an increasingly digital mode of operations?  It will require bravery and dedication, and since I've broken my continuity I don't feel confidence in my position to judge how much I have of either... (Or perhaps today's loss of Sparklehorse simply has me in a contemplative mood.)

Someday soon I'll be able to speak and have instant text accurately transcribed.  Will this lead me to abandon typing -- I already feel that wear settling in -- and become lost in a cloud of Franklin Gothic anal fixation, like the dream addicts of Until the End of the World?