Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I woke up this morning thinking about summer camps.  My sole experience was not at all positive and even less positive in retrospect than while it was actually happening (I was a counselor for one week at one of the MDA camps,  and not really at all prepared to deal with the campers who needed far more emotional maturity and experience with disabled kids/teens than  a 16 year old can provide.) I realized with a start that it was 25 years ago, which seems highly impossible, and yet it was.  There was a lot of crying about not being able to cope.  First kisses behind boathouses and a general tendency to freak out about things. It was also the summer I got my driver's license. The summer of 17 year cicadas.  The summer where storms kept taking out the power like clockwork.  Where me and my sister learned to make strange hybrid peanut butter cookies that were more like peanut brittle than like cookies.  Beyond those first weeks, the summer loses focus and I remember maybe one of two more things..tent slumber parties with my friends. An awkward cookout with other camp counselors later in the summer.  There are definitely summers I remember better, but it struck fear into me that I've no doubt forgotten so much of the less impressive moments.

Last week, my mother was talking about my father and the journals he used to keep/ possibly still keeps.  Simple daily records.  My grandmother, as well, was prone to small diaries with rather short, ordinary entries like "Ironed L's shirts.  Went to the store."  They were dispersed among the family, but I managed to land two of them--one in peices and since repurposed in collages and another small diary sporting a kitten playing with a ball of yarn.  As someone who has pretty much always kept diaries or journals, even if rather halfazardly and inefficiently  of some sort since I was 15, those small brief entries seem woefully insufficient and yet somehow more effective at capturing ones' life than the sort of writing I've always done---more in depth but also far more sporadic.

Every once in a while I get it in my head that I am going to blog everyday and fill this space with more detail and everyday, such blogging gets pushed back by other obligations until the next thing I know it's been two weeks since my last entry and so much of life has passed I may have already forgotten half of it. There's also that tension between public and private and how writing in this space (or any online space beginning in 2003) and writing in those old Mead composition books I used to fill in my 20's.  While I am hardly one who would censor myself really, there is a different feel to writing for any sort of audience vs. writing for my eyes only.  Not in the details maybe, but in the tone, the subject matter.  And maybe the internet has thinned that membrane between public and private to barely a film anyway. We live our lives much more publicly these days, and it's hard to even remember what not doing so was even like at all anymore.

Those print journals felt more like space for working things out inside the self and the blog has always felt maybe a little like that but more about expressing the self.  But I do still long a bit for the mere documentation of life.   Like the fact that I was thinking about camp and later,both of my grandmothers on the ride to work.  Like that a couple of days ago, I put a charming strawberry colored streak in my hair.  That I am mid-point on the apocalypse manuscript now and should have it finished by the fall.  That I just got the contract for the next book in the mail as well as a case of Raspberry New York Seltzer. There is some darkness at the edges, but things are mostly good.  Oh summer, you spoil me.  Over and out.

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