Past Writing

~ art source

~ Often I find myself looking at my writings, recent or long past, and I recognize just how much I don’t recognize. Simply put, it’s hard for me to understand how {or why} I can write some of this stuff {especially the poems}.

Upon review of what I have written, published or no, I often fail to comprehend my own work here, both in style and ideas. Logically, I can read the words, shifting my demeanor between hating and appreciating the style, and then take in the ideas/arguments conveyed (usually somewhere along the spectrum of abject to lukewarm agreement) — and realize ‘yes, of course I wrote this and thought and felt this.’ Generally, I can hear some semblance of my voice. So it isn’t about changes within my heart and mind. Minor alterations can occur I think, given enough time. I might go about writing some of these stories and musings and ruminations differently. Perhaps these changes in my character or take, however slight, can only occur in post, reading from the seat of many days past their inception. And only then, with this understanding in hand, will I experience these shifts in disposition on a subject or an emotion, or the inflection of the story I wanted to tell. Whatever the writing accomplished at the time of its conception, it is accomplishing something different now, and thus there are some new flavors and spices I observe which went unsplashed.

But this is rare, so far. Generally speaking, once I have written and edited, I find it relatively easy to set the stone and move on completely. It’s not often I feel the need to return to something to change it, beyond a few words here and there for the sake of clarity. This is true, even if I know I could do a better job writing a particular thing. It might be laziness, or it might just be perspective. To my mind, I am better off devoting that energy to writing something brand new.

So in musing on the writings of the past, I recognize the big picture. The recognition of the work as a finished product, as my own, is assured. Then does the question arise within the process? It’s the writing itself, the putting the words onto the page — the work — which I have a hard time imagining, or remembering. The flow of the writing, the layering of the words and ideas, the unconscious formulation of sentences linking together in a chain of cogency, the conscious revisions made later, melded in, that now appear as if they were never not a part of the whole. Those details — the flash of inspiry, the sudden added word or insight — the ‘little things’ that went into the work which forge that final look I can smile upon at the end. These are certainly missing from my remembrance. Released only in experience though, and not in appreciation. It makes sense. The execution of writing is this sacred thing, I think. This is something I have only begun to unravel now, as I begin to do the work merely as a hobby.

And perhaps this is what gives a writer his power: he draws from the nameless daemon within him to craft his works, then forgets {represses? exiles?} the memory of that cooperation altogether. The inner source of his working methodology, which he returns to endlessly to perform his writing, is not fully understood and is thus fascinating and itself even a source of inspiration.

What are the stakes here? What’s the real breakdown of an understanding of one’s past work {the big picture and the details}?

Well, in both conscious ideation and the unconscious work of the creation, my past writings are me, right? This isn’t so much a leap? Writing is none other than a painstaking, interminable, sincere form of self-expression. Even if I am writing fiction or satire, that itself is a choice and one that says a lot about who I am. It is, before we even consider the content and message of the works themselves. All these words, the time I invested to pour them onto pages to form stories to be read by whoever, whenever — they are a “pretty good” representation of who I am. Right?

Who knows. Probably. Why does any of this matter though? Because it does. One’s writing fills a forest, a past for others to look back on and for you {and me} to re-experience from time to time. What one writes has to be important to them, even if they think it represents no part of who they really are, or conveys things which were temporary to their identity or houses some chimera of an inner mistake or flaw, or it’s all constantly in a kind of flux even they do not fully understand. Regardless of the specifics, I think too much consciousness goes into the act of writing for it not to be consequential as a reflection of the writer {like a dream, in unconsciousness}. I think it is the perceived ways in which it is important, and how the writer might view it as a reflection, whether permanent or temporary, that is important.

Let me get back to the thesis of this particular writing, regarding my past writing. Maybe I am not being completely honest in all of this. Because no matter what — whether at the time of writing it I remember where I was, what I was thinking, what was going on in my life, whether I would install any change whatsoever, or redux the working process entirely — I continue to have this intuition that maybe (or certainly) all my past writings, in their full circle of comprehension, style and ideation — were written by a different person than my self. A different self due its different time.

That is to say, I am right now a current self writing a past self into existence with the very words and ideas being penned in this musing. And my future selves will be able to read it. Wild. Weird. Wondrous.

~ {hi future selves🖐} ~

Now, what about y’all {these other me’s}? Are you a true reflection of who I am? Or only what I became? What about all these above words, this writing that is none other than a ‘past writing’ to you — is this really me, a.k.a you?

~ {Alright. I’ll stop 👏} ~