Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sarah Hoyt, It's a Blast from the Past!

Right before I went to bed last night, I happened to be flipping through old blog posts. I found a post about rising above toxic parenting practices, prompted by a post Sarah had written about her trip to Portugal in 'According to Hoyt,' almost exactly a year ago. Then I posted in the 'Sarah's Diner' Facebook page, and asked others about their practices:

If you journal or blog, do you ever go back and see what you wrote a long time ago? And if so, does it make you laugh, or cry, or both?
Different points of view emerged. Some did, most didn't. Sarah said she didn't, because there was so much! And I get that, with an ink-soaked writer: You are so busy cranking out new content, there's not much opportunity to review.

And yet...

...and yet there have been times in which reading my old writings has been profoundly revealing. I remember reading, a year after they were written, the 1979 New Year's resolutions written when I was a poverty-stricken seminary student & beleaguered youth minister, and realizing they'd come true: I was no longer in poverty, because I had left the ministry, and was working in what would become my first career.

Sometime in 1988, a casual search of my closet discovered something I'd written the year before about my despair of ever being able to control my drinking. I was in the first year of sobriety when I found it, and I remember the deep sense of gratitude, and relief, that came over me when I realized I wasn't dragging that chain around any more. It's now been 29 years, 6 months, and 25 days since my last drink, and some of those 10,798 days have been doozies, but I am still grateful and relieved.

And on a slightly different note, there was a discussion in the Mad Genius Club some years back, cautioning writers not to burn their earlier attempts at writing. It was through that discussion that I discovered my true calling, which is to be a book reviewer, not a book writer. I talked about this in my blog post "The Bonfire Also Illuminates."

And so, I wonder. Sarah is right about the VOLUME of writing that some of us generate; but in that volume there are snippets, scenes where the adult female has a mid-life crisis on an airplane, and emerges with the understanding that she is "an American, born tragically abroad." That's an insight worth re-visiting.

Not going to go too far with it. I plan on looking ahead, reading the books, and writing the reviews. But, just as I take a break from time to time to re-read Heinlein (or Freer, Ringo, Kratman, & Drake), every great once in a while, I'll read some Patterson, too. Like to see if the boy has grown any.

Peace be on your household.

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