Way back in 2003 I bought a little note book. On the cover I scribbled “Eric’s Book of Ideas.” It wasn’t my first notebook. I’ve had several, most of which are stuffed filled of poems, songs, sketches, and whatnot. In a way, these notebooks work like crumbs to mark the trail of my emotional journey as I slowly worked out how to be a man and deal with the outsized set of emotions with which I was born. To say a lot of the writing is tedious and overwrought would be fair. They are. It is. Perhaps you had a better way getting to where you are, but I didn’t. In some ways I still don’t.
But that being said, I hardly write poetry any more. I haven’t really since I met Teri. Its as if poetry was some strange language I spoke only when I was single, and when I settled down I somehow lost the ability. I find this idea fascinating, and wonder if you, dear reader, have also had a similar transformation. Have you? I can assure you, mine was not intended, it just happened. Moreover, I am all the better for it. At least the marriage part. The poetry, I’m not so sure. Even now, when I look back over it, I find my poems tedious and overwrought. I can’t imagine you would experience them differently.
In any event, I mention this because I pulled out this particular notebook the other night, and read through it, cover to cover. Over the course of its use (I’ve since switched to using my iPhone, and thus do not write in notebooks anymore) I went through a lot of changes. Trevor grew up. I grew into appreciating fatherhood. (believe me, I wasn’t so sure at first, even though it was my own idea) I took a screenwriting course at the local college, and I switched back to writing fiction. All of these transformations are marked in these pages. Not by the words directly, you’d have to know the transformations were there to see them, but echoes of these changes are clearly imprinted in the words.
As a diary of sorts, it makes for fun reading. Its good, I think, to be occasionally reminded from whence you came. But as a journal it is extremely lacking. There’s no direct connection to any part of the real world. With the exception of a single note, which remarks that Trevor turned 20 months old on that particular day, there is almost no connection to my day-to-day life. Its as if a drunk monk went over your life, randomly picking things important only to him, and somehow used this as the basis of your biography.
So I suck at my own history. Sue me.
But I did find, on this recent excavation, a few ideas worth mentioning here. One was a story idea called “I Know Americans” which I jotted down in 2003. To my knowledge, this is the only story I’ve thought of that takes place in an advertising agency. Considering I’ve spent the better part of 24 years in one ad agency or another, I find the absence funny. This story I have already started, and hope to finish soon. No promises yet on when it will come out because I think it’ll be good enough to send out for publishing. You can be sure, though, that I’ll post here on its progress. Its a fun one, and I think my peeps who have had been stuck sweating with me in the advertising mines will appreciate its scope and ideas.
The other thing from my notebook I find worthy of your attention is a poem. This one is a rare poem I wrote it in 2013, well into my marriage. It is also less about my own emotional mess (or my fears of being single forever, and ever, and ever, and ever) and more about helping others. I guess marriage has been good for me. I’ll post it tomorrow. Look for it then.
In the mean time, if you have something to share from your notebooks, or whatever method you use to measure your progress, feel free to share it here or on Facebook. I love to see how other people work out their shit. If for no other reason than to feel like I’m not the only one.