Early Hypergraphia

I’m working on five different posts right now and can’t make myself finish any of them. I write a paragraph, read it, then delete it because everything I type seems so empty, banal, blah. Every time this happens, I think, “Gosh darn it, Anna, why don’t you write an extra post a week? Then you’d have a bunch of posts to draw from when the well goes dry like this.”

Then I get back into a writing rhythm and think the well will never go dry again, so why write extra posts? It’s the cricket and the ant, continually. I want to be the ant, really I do. But I’m just a frivolous cricket.

HOWEVER, I was recently inspired by Rob Bell’s interview with comedian/writer/actress/creative Lyssa Mandel. Mandel started a project called The Bitch Seat, in which she simply reads aloud from her teenage diaries. Now she gets other people to read from their old journals, and they are just as hilarious and heartbreaking as you would imagine.

It was when she was talking about her collection of old journals that I remembered: my sweet Lord, I have a journal stockpile too. I’ve kept a diary off and on since the age of five ( yes, five. It was a Christmas gift from my parents, I guess because I was always asking for paper to write books. It’s written mainly in the third person and past tense, because at the age of eight I began to have delusions of future greatness). In those early high school  years, though, I got committed. I wrote every day; I would fill a journal up, and then in January, go to Barnes and Noble to choose the diary for the coming year. I’d write the first entry on my birthday, usually something along the lines of oh how I wonder what this year will bring, and write faithfully every day for the next 364 days. I didn’t write quite as religiously in college, but still–I wrote at least a couple of times a week until I was 22.

Then I stopped. I’m not completely sure why. I know I was tired of saying the same things over and over, tired of my own thoughts.

The point being, however, that I have a close record of my adolescent thoughts. While they are neither hilarious nor heartbreaking, I present to you:

Excerpts from the Mind of Fourteen Year Old Anna

Written inside cover of diary: If this book is found after my death — burn it, without reading the pages contained within.

This is gonna be good. And by “good,” of course, I mean absolutely mortifying.

February 7
Today I will make a list of my many faults.
I am so critical of others, and so unwilling to accept any kind of reprimand. My behavior is often giddy and stupid. I feel like I am putting on an act a lot of times. I get jealous and envious of other people. I think I’ll stop now, listing my faults is depressing
.

Right on, kid. Pretty sure this entry was inspired by one of Louisa May Alcott’s moralizing youth novels (probably Eight Cousins).

March 24
The play was over last night. In one way I was sad, for a reason I’m not altogether sure of. But I was not sorry to leave Brett.  OH how irritating! He was always bossing me around. There was one scene where we had to look at each other in a mushy way, and since I’m uncomfortable STARING into ANYONE’s eyes, I looked at the wall behind his head for a few seconds. He made a comment about how we really had to cheese it up, and then said, “It’s called acting.” Well, excuse me! And just how many plays has he been in! I’m not the world’s best actress at all, and he’s not the worst actor but it took a large amount of my acting ability to be civil to him offstage!

What 14 year old uses words like “civil”? One who was reading way too many 19th century British novels, that’s who. Also, that poor kid. Was he insufferable? Yes. Was I just as bad? WORSE.

May 11
Got into a stupid argument with Jim over Tai Chi.

Without a doubt the most tantalizing line in the entire diary. Were we actually trying to do Tai Chi? If so, why? Where did we even learn about it? Were we disagreeing on a matter of form or philosophy? I have so many questions, questions that will never be answered.

***

That’s as much as I can bear to share now. Actually, it’s already more than I can bear, but I’m sharing it anyway. New motivational tool: write those extra posts or be forced to post embarrassing entries from teenage diaries. I have a feeling this is gonna WORK.

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