When I turned on the computer this morning, a surprise was waiting for me. iCal (my calendar) alerted me to a Letter to Myself that I wrote a year ago. And my first thought was, “oh no, do I really HAVE to read this?? I was going to get more work done on my drawing!”
I told myself off for being lazy, found the letter to myself, read it, and thought, “is that it? No blinding words of insight that will add something to my day? It’s all stuff I could have written yesterday (or could write tomorrow), though I do have glasses that work now (varifocals), and have found some (not all) of the books I was looking for.”
Unimpressed. Though that snippet about my father was of value, as I would have forgotten it otherwise.
I didn’t say much about it last year: Memory of a Garden. But below is the blog post I meant to post last year, and didn’t!
“Write a short letter to yourself, to be read one year from now. You don’t have to post the entire letter, but you do have to:
(a) write it
(b) post about what surprised you the most about what you wrote
(c) whether you found the experience interesting or not…
…and don’t forget to set a reminder in your calendar to read it in one year.”
Thursday 21st July 2011
I have no idea where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing, but I hope all of your current aches will have gone, and that you’re wearing glasses that work! (Right now I can’t read, write or draw well, with or without them). I hope you’ll have found and read the books on your ‘to track down’ list… Sean Thomas Russell, the missing Patrick O’Brian novels, Robin Hobb, Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.
I don’t know what else I hope for you, as I can’t wish a particular course in case it’s the wrong one. Que sera, sera, perhaps… but the newspaper article that Mum found today struck a chord… she handed it to me with a significant look.
After reading it, I was silent for a little, then said, “Obviously we haven’t flattened the men quite enough. I vote we start with [censored].
“Spoilt for choice!” said Mum, with a basilisk glare.
She said earlier today how men of previous generations did not like shopping — but my father ‘was unusual’ because he enjoyed it. I asked what was in it for him? Gadgets? And she said “I don’t know. Just enjoyed looking.” It lifted my heart to think of him enjoying such frivolity. Of course he always was warm and human, but it makes him seem even more so.
My main regret, I think, is that everything rushes by so fast — and sometimes you don’t fully understand or appreciate people, things or places till they are long in the past. To want them back seems useless — to fly in the face of how life is.
Regret is also futile in other regards — if I didn’t say or do certain things, I wouldn’t be me. Sometimes you read something bad you wrote, or find a depressingly poor picture you’d worked on for hours, but other times there’s a pleasant surprise or two. Today I found panoramic images I didn’t remember creating — of the garden and my bedroom! Rough, but evocative.
Just don’t give up on yourself… try to keep your ship afloat, like in this morning’s dream. It would have been easy to let it sink, but I kept on and was around to rescue someone who sank his own. Also, it’s such a cliche to say “you’re never alone,” but it’s true that you’re one speck among many who share similar experiences.
That last bit sounds detached and a little frightening, as though you could blow away at any moment and never be seen again through the swirling dust storm. But you’re still in there, along with people you know — the dust cloud is all of us.
I’m beginning to feel a bit lost in this message, and my pen has already run out, so I better stop. As you know, there is the blog and the private journal if you want to read more from the past! Asterix and Obelix are waving to you from the side trolley, as perhaps they are waving to me from wherever you are. The song in my head is ‘I Am, I Said’ by Neil Diamond, which is strangely apt.
Please keep blogging, reading, making pictures/videos, sitting in the sun outside, looking round the shops… enjoy life while you have it.
Lots of love,
To complete this assignment, I’m supposed to post about what surprised me the most about the above letter, and whether I found the experience interesting.
Previously I scoffed at myself, writing ‘…my entire journal is a letter to any future me who cares to read it.’ But some things came out in the letter that I was too lazy to write in my regular entry for the day… Mum’s words, the panoramic pictures and the newspaper article. I don’t mention my blurring eyesight much either, though it causes me problems every day. I wonder if it will be better a year from now, or worse? Will I have found a solution… bifocals??
Did anything surprise me about the letter? Yes, that it wasn’t longer and more waffly! That things like my dream fitted into what I was trying to say. That I wouldn’t tie myself down to anything more specific, such as a better career or a more organized life… as I know how life often isn’t what you expect.
Something I didn’t mention in either letter or private journal entry but which I found interesting… Apple is building what I would call a mini city or a Ringworld. Rather scary… but I wonder if there is room there for me. I could do a panoramic photo there…. “my new abode”.