Hejira

 

pack rat

August 23. 2000

scenes from a moving upheaval:

My room, almost bare (observe starry walls)

My room, almost bare (observe starry walls)

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the empty bureau, ready to be moved

the empty bureau, ready to be moved

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Mom's new loom, bought from one of her college friends

Mom's new loom, bought from one of her college friends

I was busy emptying out my bureau when I came across a stack of vinyl LPs. They're mostly hand me downs from my parents, and I have no clue why I've kept them, seeing as I have nothing to play them on in the first place and most of them are in pretty bad shape to begin with. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road has a huge stain in the middle, Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is in two pieces, held together only by Saran wrap, and Ladies of the Canyon was missing entirely. The only one that's in reasonably good shape is Boys for Pele by Tori, but I only got that a couple years ago.

I marvel at the stuff I've accumulated in these past 19 years. I came across a big stack of programs and playbills from Broadway shows, two cases of Tori bootlegs on tape that I haven't listened to in years, and stacks and stacks of Reader's Digests, which I promptly threw away, along with all the old Newsweeks.

Going on to the top drawer of my desk, I sorted through old notebooks filled with angsty teenage poetry about hating my father and doomed teenage love affairs. Most of them are scrawled in a hard pencil, leaping out of the confines of college ruled lines and so light I can barely make them out. Some of the writing is impossible to read, scribbled in a fit of anger or despair.

I stopped writing poetry about a year ago. Why, I don't know. Maybe because I finally figured out I wasn't any good at it, or maybe simply because prose fits my frame of mind a little better right now. And sometimes the feelings I feel are too complicated for me to even attempt to put them into words.

Lots and lots of photographs. Not of people usually, but of places I've been. I'm not one to bring a camera along to snap pictures of my friends at Disney World. I bought a book to put them all in, it held 400, and I filled it up completely. Pictures of the NYC subways, Centralia, my art work. I dredged up a notebook of negatives from the photos I took in my high school photography classes, and I put them carefully away, promising myself to use them someday.

About a year and a half ago I started collecting natural things. Grapevines from the front yard I love especially. Big, smooth river stones from Lake Erie last summer. A pottery bowl full of dead rose petals, with shells from Okracoke sitting on top.

I like to save things. To glue them down, to preserve them, and arrange them in an order that makes sense to me. Every day, every moment, another little story or memory. Little pieces that add to a bigger picture. I try to fill in a few more of the gaps every day.

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Today's my journal's first anniversary. I wish I had something to offer for the occasion, but the redesign is an the embryonic stage (just a couple of disassociated ideas floating around in my head, actually).

Reading my entries from a year ago might prove to be a rewarding, if odd experience. A couple of nights ago I read from the beginning to about the end of November. It was an interesting journey that brought back the memories of all those feelings of misery and disconnectedness that marked my first semester at college. I think the old entries have a naive honesty that's missing from my journal now. Of course, when I sat down a year ago to write the first entry, I had no intentions of keeping an online journal, let alone caring if anyone was reading it or not. But I'll quit my usual overbearing commentary on my own writing and just let you see for yourselves.

One Year Ago:
I start this thing.