One of the many writing projects I work on in fits and starts is my general autobiography (working title: “My extraordinary ordinary life”… and honestly, I think the title falls more into the category of “accurate” rather than “pretentious”). Anyway, one major impediment to making progress on this thing — and by extension, on every other writing project I have — is that I like to futz around with the things I’ve already written, rather than compose something new.
I have written quite a bit over the years, to say the very least. And I’ve saved most of what I’ve written, from a few theoretically poetic lines to long essays, comment series, and so on. But most of those writings happened well over a decade ago, and sometimes multiple decades ago. Yes, whether formal and already published pieces or simple transcriptions of random handwritten scribblings, all such material does provide snapshots into my thinking or frame of mind and/or feelings at particular points in time; as ever, however, it’s easy to let the details drown out the broader strokes and themes — or, rather, it’s easier to concentrate on the damned trees rather than spend time working on the missing forest.
The outline of the forest(s) exists. Part of me wonders if I’ll manage to fill in the outline before time and age end up permanently clear-cutting the trees of memory, despite the leaves and branches of words from years past. A lot of trees are already gone.