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A Foreign Country

June 20, 2008

For awhile, I couldn’t remember what I did today – excitement and nerves about my trip tomorrow, I suppose.  Hopefully I’ll have plenty to blog about this week.  Today’s entry will be a little light.

I spent most of the day avoiding packing, playing computer games and watching MST3K, but this morning I worked on my non-fiction memoir about asexuality.  The hardest part about writing non-fiction is that to really get to the heart of it, I have to drudge up a lot of memories I worked very hard to repress.  I don’t remember details because I didn’t want to remember them.  I’ve grown a lot as a person, and didn’t relish returning to that time.  I purposely tried to lose my emotional baggage.  Retrieving it wasn’t the most comfortable of experiences.

In some ways, it’s cathartic.  Recalling my feelings for a certain boy brought a smile to my face; I was a real idiot over him.  The downside is looking back on past behavior, and wondering what possessed me to do it.  I look at that boy now, and I wonder how I could have been blind to his many faults, or how I could have made excuses for him.  It’s hard to write about whatever indefinable characteristic it was that drew me toward him in the first place.

What’s worse is that I spent years hung up on this boy, and yet I can hardly seem to fill five pages.  All the details are smoke – all I have is a basic timeline.  I think because I took it so hard and was so confused, that I didn’t want to have those details haunting me for the rest of my days.  Now I regret it.

Ever since taking my first non-fiction class at UCR, I’ve regretted not paying more attention to my past.  I’ve tried to take an impression of every day since, but even events like a trip to Europe two years ago have faded.  I know I had a fantastic time, and I remember places visited, I even tried to keep a travel journal.  But I was in Prague before I started writing about Vienna, and had been home for two months when I realized I never finished.

I’m trying to make up for it now, but, of course, the last twenty years of my life are the formative ones, the meat and bones of all my good stories.  Not only do I wish I’d been a better diarist, I’m beginning to wish I wasn’t so camera shy.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I’m starting to write about my past – without my writings, there will be very little evidence that I lived those years.  Can’t have all that hard work just surviving to the age of twenty-two go to waste.

 

Quote of the Day:

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” – L.P. Hartley, author The Go-Between

Link of the Day:  What is Creative Non-Fiction?   Trouble is, no one can really agree…

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 13, 2008 1:39 pm

    I know what you mean. I’ve never tried writing a memoir – all my stuff is fiction, and, when I bother, it’s usually tiny additions to the SAME work of fiction – but I’ve always wondered: what if I ever get published and become a successful author. Will someone write a biography? What on earth would the say? I’ve lived the most boring life, I can’t remember half of it, and — even though I kept a travel diary, my memories of May’s trip to Britain isn’t nearly as vivid as I’d hoped/expected it to be not even 1 year later.

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