the last few months i've had a journal of mine from the end of 2000 to the middle of 2001 hanging around my apartment. every so often, i pick it up and read a few parts to try to remember what was going on back when i registered this domain and started uploading things to it.
at the time i subletted in a tiny room in a fifth floor walk-up apartment which had one window outfitted with a fire escape overlooking cambridge, massachusetts: a variety of quaint houses and buildings dotted among a community of aged trees, interrupted by several church steeples. i was only there for a few months, between crashing at friends' places during a particularly tough autumn to score an apartment in the boston area and finally finding a room in a house. despite the lack of space, i remember not wanting to leave this view behind. (also, reading here, i feared that the combination floral/stripe wallpaper in my new room would make me crazy.) the departure from this apartment actually began the countdown on my last year in that city, but i hadn't figured that out yet.
i hadn't figured out much, and it seems so painfully clear from reading through this journal. i've had to skip over tortuous examples of adolescent angst over and over again... though there are also entries like the one where i decided not to see a movie at the brattle theater because it was too crowded and instead went to a bookstore and amused one cashier by the combination of books that i bought: existentialism from dostoevsky to sartre by walter kaufmann and henry and the clubhouse by beverly cleary.
i don't write as much as used to, certainly not from pen to paper in a bound book for my own reflection later. i also write far less letters, and it's nearing to the point where it will be a decade since my words have progressed to photocopied zine form. while i miss having a consistent record, including these idiosyncratic stories i would otherwise forget, there are some experiences and feelings i would be okay with leaving behind. it would be helpful to shed them periodically, maybe not so much by erasing them but rather through the careful editing of a more nuanced perspective. having things written down from a place of despair in the moment makes it harder to look back, at least without acknowledging that the writing the angst down was part of learning to cope.
early on in the journal, i started reading jeanette winterson's gut symmetries and, fittingly, wrote down this excerpt:
i can't go back into the past and change it, but i have noticed that the future changes the past. what i call the past is my memory of it and my memory is conditioned by who i am now. who i will be. the only way for me to handle what is happening is to move myself forward into someone who has handled it. as yet that person does not exist.