Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Ship's Recorder

When I was in the 6th grade, my class went to the Space Center in a neighboring town which is a facility set up for the ultra-nerdy and perhaps for schoolchildren to teach them how to work together on simulated Star Trek-esque missions.  This was in my pre-Star Trek-loving days and might be where the first seed was planted. I loved it. I can't remember all the jobs but there was Captain, First Officer, those assigned to Security, and there must have been Navigators of some kind. Because I could type fast, I was assigned to be the Ship's Recorder. Basically I got my own little elevated balcony area where I had a computer and full view of the action. I shared the balcony with my friend Sara, who was "Damage Control" and had to leave every other minute to clean up messes, whereas I got to park it in my chair the whole time and enjoy the show. I'm not sure anything I did was of any use. It didn't feel too important. I did help Sara make some fast decisions. Her job looked pretty stressful. But no one needed my help to recall any of the events that had transpired during our mission. But oh, what I'd give for a transcript of my recording that day. 

Any time I see a court reporter on TV I think, what a cool job. Mostly I'm thinking of Ethel Beavers on Parks 'n Rec who not only has a cool job, but is just a super cool lady.  And I think, that could be me. I could do that.  And then I realized today, I do do that. I am that. I am Ethel Beavers, cool crotchety old lady who doesn't give two figs. I had to decline an invitation today and in my RSVP I left a comment, apologizing for our absence and requesting that someone please write down any good stories/jokes shared and forward them to us and that we would miss everyone, especially those with the good stories/jokes.  And then I thought about it and was like, dang, that person writing it down would be me. I would be the one who would do that. 

And I am always the one to do that.  This is what I do, have done for all my life.  I've been reading through my blog which is extensive to say the least, and I asked Sean, why do people even do anything if they're not going to bother writing it down? How can they possibly remember it? Because I am reading blog posts that I've 99.999% forgotten. It's almost like it's brand new to me and I have this strange opportunity to read my own work completely objectively.  So three cheers for a) writing stuff down and b) subsequently forgetting it? I guess?  But really. I am amazed at all I've forgotten and the joy having these memories dug up brings. And, yet again, I thank past me for taking the time to make a record of it.

Life's a journey and so is writing. I've taken a break but have begun making slow steps back into writing.  I started out by making a goal to journal every day for a week.  I failed at that but that's ok because I practice self-compassion and recognized that I had been writing more frequently at least.  I am working on some writing goals and want to put my work out there more. I'm still trying to figure out how but I have some ideas.  I am especially buoyed when I read an old post and, due to my newfound objectivity ability, think, hey, this is good.   I think, in the tiniest voice in the back of my brain, that maybe I could publish some stuff. But like, for realsies.  Not that the blog isn't real. The further I go back, the better I can track and see with my own eyes linear progress. I can see how I've improved over time and effort. 

Sean asked me if I had the same quality/style of writing in my actual journal.  "Heck no!" was the reply.  I use my journal just as they should be used-- for emotion dumping, word vomiting.  I also use it to record the events in my life as they transpire, some meaningful, some less so but that still contribute to the final draft. But blogging has allowed me to be more thoughtful, intentional, editorial? about what I want to say. I'm a journalist of my own life. And I enjoy nothing better than to sit back in my chair and examine, asking myself, what's the story here? I find something I hope is something, then put in some effort to construct it, whip it, shape it, and then display it.  I feel like an explorer, a treasure-hunter,  but instead of simply finding treasure, I have to also decide what the treasure even is. But I'll never get to that point if I don't record and document my findings. 

So, as the captain of my starship, this is my goal. This is my plan. My continuing mission.  (I had to do it)  Whatever life presents each day, as I navigate my choices, make the final call, make secure what I can, and deal with the the fallout of things gone awry, you can be sure, ever the ship's recorder, I will also be making it a priority to write it down, recording the journey and exploration, and, fingers crossed, finding a good story. This time, though, I'm keeping the transcript.  


Alanna said...

It's shocking, at times, to read through my own blog and find things I'd completely forgotten. Does anyone remember any of this stuff if it isn't written down somewhere???

I feel like my own blog has warped into more of a (boring) journal of what my family does, whereas when I first began it, it was more of my own quirky thoughts. I need to get back to that. I can still have quirky thoughts, right?

)en said...

Seriously, do people just live their lives from one minute/day/year to the next, completely oblivious to their own experiences? I can hardly remember anything anymore. if I don't write it down, it WILL be forgotten.

You can definitely still have quirky thoughts. It's kind of too tiring these days to have them but I am trying really hard. Trying to sift them out of the rest of the stressed out heavy bummer thoughts that always seem to rise to the surface and need to be actively quelled.