Today’s experiment, after waking up at 4 AM and only four hours of sleep (I was revising poems till midnight), is data mining a “day in the life.” It’s a little research project I dreamed up after having not just one or two run-ins with my errant brain and its memory flaws, but a whole string of seemingly unconnected instances. These instances can’t be random. They have to have occurred for a reason and now I feel as if I’ve been challenged to figure it all out. I will perhaps elaborate on these occurrences later, but for now, it’s time to start digging.
June 28th is the day. It’s an ordinary day as far as I can recall but what on Earth was I doing on this day in history?…
2021: Loneliness…. I was worried about how to help my daughter navigate her loneliness and included a random daily poem from the Paris Review. It’s a good poem.
2019: A Little Bit of This and That and the Other…Huzzah, (and no surprise) a list! 1) Visiting my bro in colorado. 2) Failing to follow through on writing endeavors. 3) Celebrating my daughter’s summer scholar accomplishment. 4) Jim and I working on our “save the date” cards. 5) A blood donation success story. I also mused a little bit about school and the 3rd semester I was just about to enter and how much work I was taking on.
2018: Back to Good… A wonderful day, seemingly completely satisfying in every way. A little work talk, some QT with my kids, and a nice long evening with apparently a lot of conversation with Jim (on the phone??!). I also wrote a poem–complete garbage which has never seen the light of day (and will never).
2017: Waking Up Unemployed… Another wonderful day! One final post about quitting my full-time job and feeling good about the decision and my life. Also foreshadowing of a first date (which must mean I was in a good place).
This is where the easy-easy research ends. These blog/journal entries, I are ones I found easily on my computer by looking at this website. Before that, the files are still mostly accessible and in some sort of electronic format, but I have to hunt a little more. My potential sources are also kind of scattered. I’ve got private journal entries on my computer plus journal entries on three different (now mostly archived) blog sites:
- My very first blog: https://shyspark.wordpress.com/ (October 2010- September 2020)
- My secretive alternate blog: https://shyspark.tumblr.com/ (May 2011 – December 2016)
- My 2014 NYR blog (and Miss SugarCookies first appearance): https://thesugarcookieadventure.wordpress.com/ (January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014) This one was also originally a tumblr (https://miss-sugarcookie.tumblr.com/) but I imported the whole thing to WordPress. Only the Universe knows why.
The days here are hit and miss. Not a single June 28 post, Evernote note, or Word document between 2009 and 2016. There’s a lot of really interesting stuff on some of the dates right around there in a few years, but that’s not the game I’m playing today. Nope. Today is all about June 28th and if it didn’t happen on June 28th, I’m not including it.
After combing through the files and reading several “near misses,” I finally find a journal entry from 2008. That’s a 9-year gap! Good gravy, this is pre-divorce, pre-Josh, pre-dating, pre-Vis, Pre-Matt, pre-career-change, pre-mid-life-crisis, pre-everything practically. Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter.
2008: A Saturday. I was sick, had to play frisbee golf, and was thinking deeply about the death of a friend. It was quite a long post actually.
Finding this is ironic because just two days ago Jim asked me if I’d ever played frisbee golf. I said no. I was sure I hadn’t. I could not recall a single instance in my life where I had done that. I remembered playing frisbee with Matt a few times, on a date once, and once at Summer Res, but never frisbee golf. So I was wrong and I’m a liar. But this is exactly what I’m referring to when I talk about my flawed memory. Is this just me, or is this a natural part of the human brain?
Previous to that, there are very few electronic files. I think I started to type things out in 2008 so only a handful of word documents exist prior to that time. Here’s where the data mining gets really tough. Paper sucks. Paper is stupid. I have so many notebooks. It’s like the worst, messiest, most unorganized rabbit hole ever. And my handwriting is atrocious! Eeee-gads!!
My paper scribblings from adulthood are very sparse (now we’re talking 1996 through 2007). I’ve got notebooks from random years that were used for more than one purpose. Maybe I journaled for a few days and then stopped and ended up using the notebook for something else. Maybe the notebook was for something else in the first place (like work or keeping track of what I was eating) but then I jotted down something I wanted to remember real quick, and sometimes a poem. Many times, there are only a few recorded dates in the notebook so I must not have been too concerned about keeping a good record. I spent way too much time hunting and came up empty for most of it.
Then I hit 1995 which is significant because between the years of 1990 and 1995 I did a great deal of journaling and poeming and kept meticulous records. The notebooks and folders are all in pretty good shape. The journals are all dated and titled with all the poems re-hand written and collected together in their own binders. I must have had a lot of time on my hands during those years. In any case, it was pretty easy once I hit that time period. As it happens, though, in that nearly six year span, there was only one entry I found.
June 29, 1991. (Technically not breaking my rule here because I was writing about June 28th and had not been to sleep yet. According to the journal entry, it’s 12:44 AM.) I had an actual date with my biggest high school crush, Scott Wheeler. OMG, I’m practically over the moon according to what I wrote that night. It’s 5 notebook pages full of “I can’t believe this is my wonderful life.”
Of course, this event is a tad more memorable than frisbee golf. I remember going on a date and how epic it was but to have this level of detail about what we did, where we went, and what we talked about is totally priceless. Not to mention my giddy outlook about the future. So cute!
All the journal entries before 1990 were lost in a fire. I have one binder of poems dated 1984-1990, presumably from the lost journals and from my creative writing classes in Jr. High and High School. None of the poems have dates on them.
Then that’s it.
And it certainly is enough. I’ve had several starts and stops today while conducting this little experiment, but I’ve wasted most of the work day and successfully procrastinated doing the thing I did not want to do (TGLR author contracts).
I’m a little amazed that most of what I found was positive. That’s not my typical MO when writing. I typically feel more motivated to write when I have some issue I’m working through or have a rant that’s been building up. But a few of the days I discovered here were really wonderful days! Cheers to that!!
What I am not surprised about is the fact that I found an event I did not remember (the frisbee golf). As I said up-front, one reason I went on this little archival dig, is to gather evidence of a circumstance I’ve run into a lot lately… which is flaws in my memory. It definitely makes me want to try this experiment again to continue to validate my thoughts on the subjects of memory and time, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a good use of my time given the amount of work involved and all the other stuff I’d be neglecting in the process.
I suppose, if nothing else, this exercise has shown me how great the electronic world is. Files are date stamped and most of mine are dated as a part of the file name. It’s helped me envision a way I could become even more organized across all my files, but that’s a whole other project entirely. A “left-brain-day” project.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have.
Until next time, Peace and Love,