What I Learned from Reading My Old Writing

Home for the Holidays means one thing: going through old clutter and purging. Old clothes, old collectables, those kinds of things.

But then I found five old notebooks. I knew what they were before I even opened them. They were notebooks I used during my time in University where I wrote a bunch of stories. They were a series of stories about (insert cringing face) a series of four friends who play on the same hockey team….that is being possessed by a demon. Unfortunately, the evil demon is the team’s best player, and they aren’t sure they want to stop winning.

Here’s what I learned from reading through it all.

It’s not easy to throw it all out.

I was ready to toss them all out. But as I started reading them, I found myself laughing or turning the pages to see what happens next. Will these stories ever see the light of day or be re-worked to become publishable? Dear god, no. Do they deserve to be trashed? No, not really.

Writing was important to me.

Somehow in the middle of lectures, library research, textbook highlighting, drinking with friends and long essay writing, I found the time to put the pen the paper (yes, these stories were handwritten!) and continuously churned out page after page of story. I even found one chapter that was written very messily, and in the margins I had written: “I wrote this on the bus!”. I am so impressed, looking back on myself, that I was so into my story that I actually pulled out my notebook and started writing a scene while riding the bus. Somewhere along the line, I had forgotten that I have always been a writer. That is something that time, work, and personal relationships can never take away from me.

I was good at characterization.

I’m actually impressed with my ability to create four very distinct personalities, and have them show up on the page. I’ve recently been victim of falling into the trap of writing people who are too similar to one another, or voices that don’t sound unique.

I wrote for myself, not my audience.

I know that’s the opposite of what you’re supposed to do when you’re trying to become a published author, but I guess back then writing was more of an escape for me, and I wrote for myself. In a way, it gave me a sense of freedom. I explored some very dark themes, and some very corny ones. But that was okay, and I enjoyed writing it.

I wrote what I know.

And in this case, I knew comic books. Reading through my old pages, I can see my influences very clearly. Which goes back to the whole characterization thing. I’ve stopped reading comic books, but now I suddenly miss it. The magical worlds really did open up my imagination, and provided a huge escape.

Well. I’m glad I found my old writing. It’s good to be reminded of how writing has played such a strong role in my past.

And hopefully my future.

Welcome to Mercury Retrograde!

Ever notice that four times in a year, all communications go haywire? The subway stops running (moreso than usual), you accidentally reply-all saying YAS to afterwork drinks, or your date tells you he wants to see you again but you interpret it to mean he doesn’t want to see you again, and then months later he says you ghosted him when you thought it was his fault?

Well, my friends, that is called Mercury Retrograde. It’s when four times a year for several weeks, mercury, the mighty ruler of communication, travel and electronics, appears to be traveling backwards in the sky. And it is not friendly.

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Me, during mercury retrograde

The final mercury retrograde of 2017 runs from December 3rd to 23rd. Perfect! Let’s end this already shitty year with a disastrous bang.

It’s already hit me so far. On Thursday night, I was driving my brand new 2017 Chevy Cruze when something popped up on my display.

“Why is my car telling me to check my oil when I literally just changed my oil?” I asked.

My friend leaned over. “Oh, no.” She covered her mouth with her hand. “That’s the Check Engine light. That’s not good.”

My heart sank. I literally bought a new car in May for the sole reason to avoid the dreaded reoccurring Check Engine light that kept popping up on my 1992 Dodge Colt. This was supposed to mean no more problems. So how can I be six months into owning a new car, and already be having an issue with it?

So, the next day, I ditched out of work and brought it to the dealer. Which is the worst, since the dealer has the same coffee machine as we have at work, so the coffee tastes like being at work.

I was ready to yell and scream about how my brand new car should not be having problems. But they were really friendly, and they fixed it.

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Life would be better if dogs were mechanics

Now I’m still worried that I may have bought a lemon, and that I’m probably going to be screwed after the warranty is up. Hopefully this was just a manufacturing defect that was caught early, and it will be smooth sailing from here.

This is just the start of Mercury Retrograde….let’s hope nothing else wild happens.

Stay safe out there and make sure you double-check any emails you write!