“Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever.”
― Will Self
There was a “Blogtember” topic that I neglected to write about due to my lack of time back in September; however, I’ve always wanted to write about it. The topic was: “Describe ways that blogging (or social media) has changed you.”
I believe that as a kid, I was most influenced by a cartoon tv show called ‘Doug‘ that got me into keeping a personal and (almost daily) journal. Prior to this show, I think that I was probably also influenced by another show entitled ‘Doogie Howser, M.D.‘ where a young doctor wrote his personal journal entries on a computer, at the end of every episode. Although I had a computer as a kid, I can honestly tell you that it was the least user-friendly computer I had ever used/owned.
The computer came with a printer and altogether probably weighed well-over 200 pounds. It didn’t even come built with mouse capabilities as all commands had to be hand-keyed. Upon the initial boot-up all I remember seeing was a black screen with a lime-green, rectangular blip, where my words would appear as I typed (quite similar to DOS). So much time, effort, and frustration went into trying to figure out the commands necessary to use that machine, but I eventually gave up on that hunk of junk. We had the ‘old’ (new at the time) macintosh computers at school that were a lot easier to use, so I feel kind of bad that my mom probably spent money on something that I almost never used.
Anyway, getting back to the tv shows I listed earlier, both of them had a great deal of influence on my desire to write. I think that writing in a journal, also forced me to perfect my handwriting skills so that it was more legible. I actually still have the very first notebook/journal that I filled up as a kid. Across the front of the notebook are a variety of words ranging from “Keep out of my journal” to various estimated ‘birthdays’ of my pets. The journal is practically falling apart, yet it’s so entertaining to read some of my old posts from nearly 18 years ago (man, it’s hard to believe it has been that long).
Rather than describe some of these entries, I’ll give you a taste of one of them and how I used to write as a 13 year-old kid. Please bare with me as I’m going to write this all word-for-word:
Hey! Today was a great day because it wasn’t a bad one. School was okay because in P.E. we didn’t have to do warm-ups. Plus today was midterms and I didn’t get a D. Abby on the other hand got an S+, A, F, D, D, and something else. Terrelle got S+, D, F, F, F, and 2 others. Now those are bad. Then after school, I slept and later on I watched Juan and I still am. Also later on, I bought Juan some milk w/ his own money.
Then Juan still wanted to walk around, so we went around to the other side of the apartments. There I saw a lot of people. I saw Megahnn, Shalaina, Adam, Roger, Joseph, Jerome, and Johnny. I’m guessing, but maybe Johny and Roger don’t go to school.”
To be completely honest, I only recognize 3 of the names that I listed at the very end of that entry. Interestingly, after browsing through this old journal of mine, I even found a ‘long’ entry describing the day my very first pet/hamster died. After re-reading the entry, I can actually remember how sad I felt that day. This only makes me wonder if I would be able to recall all of these minor details had I not written them all down. Even after reading my very first entry, I can recall the event that transpired, but am shocked when I re-read about the small details that I simply forgot about. Someday, maybe I’ll share some more of my ancient journal entries.
It almost feels like I discovered an old time capsule of mine or something. In retrospect, however, I kind of wish that I kept the second and third journals that I filled out as a kid, as well. Fortunately, there eventually came a time when I started utilizing an online community called Livejournal where I was able to write a variety of journal entries without fear of ever physically losing them.
To be quite honest, I believe that writing is a form of my own personal therapy. It forces me to enter the dark recesses of my mind where a lot of my thoughts are gathered and just write about them. In some cases I even lose track of time as I try to gather all of these thoughts into words. Although this all started as a mere experiment in middle school, I’m glad to see that it has helped me to become a better writer; especially when it pertains to academic writing. I can only hope that everyone has a similar form of therapy that leaves them feeling relieved or even slightly more de-stressed by the end of the process. And if that hobby also helps them with an area in their lives, more power to them.