A Self-Help Blog

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

"All good novelists have bad memories" ~ Graham Greene
I can't really apply that quote to myself at this point in time without bookending it with this one:

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards" ~ Lewis Carroll

Because I do plan to have a novel finished by the time I'm 85.

Every mood I'm in, every stage of life, it always feels like I've always been this way and never any other. It's very tiring. And something that I see others ascribe to young children, and yet here I am all 41 and haggy, and I regularly succumb to this way of thinking.

Logically and rationally, I know how much things change.  I remember in some vague fashion that things are always changing.  But the fight for perspective is a difficult one, because I am like David, fighting for that perspective using a ragged, pathetically sievelike memory as my weapon. Honestly, I did not smoke that much dope in my earlier years for my memory to be so truly, monumentally fucked up.

I am feeling a little unsure and adrift (geez, what's new?)  Feeling on the verge of new ways of looking at things, hanging onto the hope of other people to think that I can do that.  And so to remind myself of how I have dealt with feeling these sorts of things in the past, I went looking at my blog to see how I felt in 2007, 2009, randomly flitting from one post to another, seeing that really and truly, nothing much really has changed - I'm still depressed in some variety, still anxious in another, still struggling to get through some of the days.

And yet at the same time it feels everything has changed. Every word I have written that is in the past has this feeling of everything being somehow easier than it is now.  Which is not true.  It's just that everything is frozen in time in every second that is not now.

The interesting part about reading the words I had carefully crafted on some day other than today, on days where maybe I was trying to keep my head above the water of whatever swell I felt was sinking me at the time, was that the rereading felt redemptive.  Even apart from bringing you clarity, hope and purpose, the act of writing about your own shit brings along with it its own comfort.  I know I felt that sense of comfort. of reframing, when I hit "publish" on those posts in 2007 or 2009.  Because it's how I feel every time I hit "publish", every time I finish writing something, anything.

The redemption comes twice over, upon rereading your own blog posts.  Discombobula has literally become a self-help blog for me :)

It's all good, as long as you can put aside the discomfort that you must be horribly self-absorbed to go reading your own stuff for help - sort of like how I imagine it would feel after cooking a beautiful meal you're proud of, only to vomit it up whole.  Looking around to see whether anyone else is looking - should you re-eat it?  But hey, you're hungry.  And what better than enjoying it once but enjoying it twice?



  1. I often read my blog, Sue, and gain greatly from it. I don't think that makes me strange (there are other things that do, of course:)) Everything I write or quote there is for my benefit as much as for other folks'. Yours never fails to intrigue, delight or challenge... or all three:)

  2. It's okay Sue. My blog is kind of a self-help blog too. Only yours is more sofisticated than mine.

  3. Hello there, Cole :)  Nice to see you again.  I'm glad I'm not the only one who reads their own blog :)

  4. Well, thanks to thee, Harry!  :)

  5. a blog is a web log, a digital journal or diary
    sometimes the only way to realise just how much we've grown, how far we've come is to revisit old writing, old art, old quotes that spoke to us then, but perhaps not so much now
    a reminder that as much as we might feel like we're stuck in a time-warp of repeating our old failures or living the same stupid stories repeatedly, we do actually change
    it's kind of like an old aunty visiting - you know the one we hated as kids who used to slobber all over us with big hugs and kisses exclaiming "My how much you've grown! When I saw you last, you were only this big..."
    revisiting our archives gives us the benefit of seeing our growth, without the slobbery kisses and cloud of cheap Avon perfume

  6. I actually edited and published in Zine form one of my blogs that was in hindsight, about a long depression. You go through that thinking that its all a waste of time at the time. And at the time that writing was really nothing more than a survival mechanism. I took ten copies that I copied and cut and pasted (by hand - not mouse clicking) and stapled together into Sticky institute, degraves st subway and everyone of them sold! In hindsight, that blog was for me a very therapeutic thing.

  7. Yes, it's true. Although sometimes too revising our archives makes us see how much some things are still the same. Which is not necessarily a bad thing ... it just highlights the areas where we are working, I guess. I get a vision of going up a mountain, around and around its circumference, coming back to the same spot but from a different position. It's a fascinating area to think about :)

  8. I remember that blog. I'm not surprised the zines sold (note to self *must* check out the Sticky Institute) because there were some really lovely thoughts in that blog that came out of pain.


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