Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

To keep track of my life

Even before starting this LJ, I was journaling, and otherwise communicating/taking notes. I was a letter-writer from at least third grade on. What made me a committed letter-writer was my dad's 1988-1989 cruise on-board the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy. I kept track: I wrote 40 letters and postcards that got shuttled to the ship over those six months that Dad and a few thousand fellow sailors were all over the Mediterranean. I found out during the cruise that Dad's crew in the Air Ops office liked hearing Dad read my letters: nice validation for a high school freshman's interest in words.

The first personal journal I can remember keeping, I started in spring 1990. Right around when I learned to drive (and soon before, er, my first of a few car accidents). Thick red spiral notebook. I still have it somewhere, plus the follow-up notebook (also red). I remember several years ago sitting in a booth in the now-demolished SW Park Ave. location of Virginia Café, looking back through it. Thanks for taking those notes, Then-Me!

I've run into other journals during this cleaning jag I've been on. There's a printout of my college-age diary that I'd kept on the laptop I used from Christmas 1992 to when the computer gave up the ghost in 1997. That log -- I always called it a "log," not a diary, maybe because "log" sounds more military -- I started in January 1993 and kept doing until sometime in 1994. The portion I printed out ends mid-entry May 30th, 1994, on Page 160. Why didn't I print out what was after that, slightly more recent Then-Me?

Spring 1997 got another notebook log: thin, tall, grey. And a period where I seemed to be writing around what I was dealing with then, taking a while to deal with them directly. Alicia and mine's break-up that summer got a quick, undated "moment of silence" note in the lower right-hand corner of a page. Took me a while to actually write about what I was feeling -- no, that's wrong. I wrote letters. I just don't have those. Other writing went off and, perhaps, disappeared -- like letters to someone now dead.

Other diaries happened sporadically. I got into it again Summer 2001. Just in time for 9/11. Yes, I needed to write a lot when that happened. I have those logs, too. I like my writing -- usually -- and so I've kept a good portion of it. And other words that I passed along, in letters, emails, cards: I'll imagine/hope that those words were appreciated, wherever I sent them to.

And then there's this, the blog, a place where I can go on about my life publicly. I got into the habit of blogging a few months after I'd started this blog; this blog became a serious thing sometime in 2005. I've only had occasional breaks since then. This is the longest single continuous written record I've kept of my random-ass thoughts: years and years. I don't write about everything I could write about, because my mom reads this -- *grins* -- but the habit of keeping a public record of What I Do and What I Think has been, overall, a good one. Keeps me thoughtful, I think.

Then-Me was sporadically good at keeping track this way. Now-Me and Future-Me? Keep it up.

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