Two Years in Review
On the first day of my break I went for an early morning walk (before the UV got too high) and listened to a writing podcast hoping it would provide some motivation for what I hoped to achieve on this little work intermission: Deliver a few chapters of the novel, try and find a way to build an audience in case it’s only publishable if I have an existing audience.
The podcast included a reminder that having a mailing list is the most important marketing step you can take as a want-to-be novelist. My mailing list is tied to bradism.com, and so I thought about this website that I first started writing on in 2004, and if its contents truly represented me as the human being I wanted people to subscribe to a mailing list about. I had a sneaking suspicion that some of the things I wrote many years ago might not hold up to modern standards. What I’ve learnt this holidays is that some of what I thought was witty or edgy fourteen years ago came from a place of ignorance, privilege and insecurity. There was nothing particularly vile, but it didn’t belong on the internet in 2018 and I think it’s a good thing that I’ve grown enough as a person to realise this. I was reassured to find an entry amongst the garbage where I talked about my birthday, and to be reminded that I had been a teenager/baby at the time.
The process of going through these older posts has required me to closely read all my entries from 2004 and 2005 and, fuck me, that has not been a totally enjoyable experience. After binging on months straight of my inner thoughts it has felt like I’ve snorted a very thick, very rotted line of nostalgia right into my brain. Who was this person who shared my DNA and occupied temporal real estate in this existence we shared? What is reality? Don’t get me wrong, reading between the lines I do catch glimpses of myself becoming the person I am today, but other parts seem so alien to my current life that I feel like if someone else had registered bradism.com and posted a bunch of entries about Woolworths, basketball, and their IT degree in the same years I’d just as easily believe that was my life too.
What can we learn from this? I’m not sure if our old decades help us to mature and grow into the people we are today, or if we simply wrap more and more layers of “experience”, “responsibility” and routines around the core of our old selves that we’re not able to penetrate enough to find the old person somewhere deep inside. Probably a little bit of both, and ultimately it doesn't matter. If it’s that hard to find glimpses of your old self inside your own head, the people around you won’t see or care what you were. They’ll stick to the surface, probably too preoccupied with reflecting on their own id. (Unless they work for Disney. And that’s why I removed those entries before Disney can give and then take away a writing and directing job for Law & Odour the movie.)
The other thing I’ve learnt this holidays, and my 2004 journals back up, is that I grow a shit beard.