My parents are moving in a few weeks. They've lived in their house since 1984, and I would have thought there would be no more of my stuff left in their house. Through the years, we've sorted through my stuff several times, so imagine my surprise when two boxes showed up yesterday.
Some of the stuff in the box is stuff that wasn't ever mine, like old pictures. I feel kind of weird about having these, but I'm telling myself that my parents probably have other copies somewhere. Maybe they gave me the baby pictures of me that weren't their favorites.
But probably not. They're moving to what will likely be their last house, unless they need assisted living or the nursing home. They're doing the final sorting. I appreciate it, on the one hand, because it means that my sister and I won't have as much to sort later. But on the other hand, it makes me feel weird.
One of the boxes had file folders of my first writings in it. I was really surprised to see this box. I thought I had my earliest writings. But there's a picture book I made, called Happiness Is . . . And I drew pictures to illustrate what I thought happiness was. And yes, it's likely inspired by a book series that came out in the 1970's, the Love Is books (which are still in print!--or back in print, more likely).
My "book" was made on the back of notecards. They look like class notes, but they're not in my parents' handwriting. Hmm.
I love the files that I made. There's one called "articles and short stories." Yes, even then I was thinking in terms of genres. One file folder is labeled "Seasonal Plays," and contains just what you would think. There's a file folder of old Berkey Bulletins.
When I was young, I loved putting together newsletters. The Berkey Bulletin had crossword puzzles that I made up, recipes, articles. I did this when I was 11 or so. I wrote to family members to ask for contributions and subscriptions.
It's no wonder I became a college journalist and later a blogger. They're all very similar writing disciplines. I remember writing for my college newspaper about the death of Simone de Beauvoir and reviewing records and covering campus events. Likewise, when I blog, I might offer a poem one day, a recipe the next, and reviews here and there.
As I looked through my old papers, I was reminded of the early, elemental joy that kept me writing. It's the same joy that wakes me up early (what would be the middle of the night to most people) and drives me to my desk. If I can get some writing in before work and then some exercise, then in many ways, I've done the most important work--and often, before the sun rises!
Everyday Poetry at Radio Free Nashville
4 weeks ago