The Barn Trip 

This morning started out with a minor walking trip through the dewy grass in my sandals up to the big red barn to recover the small pet carrier that is stored there. Normally, I don’t visit the barn that often; and I don’t think I have ever been in it at 6:30 in the morning. If I am not digging out a half of coffee can’s worth of chicken feed from the barn’s feedbox as the substitute “farmer” in place of my dad, I really have no call to be in that dark and dusty place. But this time I needed the pet carrier because the cat (the cat which I never had any intention of owning in the first place by the way–long story) was going in for her operation. This vet trip gained particular urgency in the last couple of weeks because the cat had been seen cavorting with the stray tom who lives in the woods behind the barn. Not a good sign since the last thing I need is another set of kittens: one set was already too many. In any event, I managed to pack her off into the carrier and have her driven to the vet. The cat is currently spending the night there after having been spayed just this afternoon. The other cat, much too young to be neutered yet, has decided to stop being a pain and settle down after an hour of trying to sit on my keyboard, assuredly some kind of feline entertainment.

The only other reason beside the pet carrier or chicken feed that might be cause for me to be in the barn is the fact that some of my old things are in its upper loft. These things comprise about eight or so boxes and are mostly filled with old textbooks or schoolwork scribbled down in notebooks from my undergraduate days of about six or so years ago. I tell myself that I should move them to prevent any more of the thick barn dust from settling on it, or to prevent the inevitable dew from wetting that dust and caking those papers with a fine mud thereby warping the pages. Probably, I will move it sometime in the summer.

Still, even though I was a little tired, I braved the rickety ladder and opened up a couple of boxes to retrieve six of my notebook journals that I had written during those early college days. Back then, I fancied myself as a writer of sorts, so I included everything that one who considers themselves a “writer-to-be” in those journals: poems, phrases that I thought interesting at the time, a few overheard conversations, or memories of things I had done. I had been to a few author readings, writer presentations, or library events where writing was concerned, and invariably, aside from questions about how to get an agent, the speakers mentioned that the best way to develop “the craft” of writing was to keep a journal. After all, artists have their sketchbooks, so writers should have their journals. Most of my journals were written before I had a blog of any kind, and in that regard, if I had never created a blog, I would probably have filled up a lot more than just these six.

I still keep a written journal to write things down when I don’t have a computer on hand to type something off real quick, but mostly the blog serves most of my creative writing purposes. I’ve only had a chance to read one of these older journal and already two things stand out pretty clearly. One, my writing was pretty terrible–overwrought and whiny–which I have to admit, I can still be guilty of, but trust me, it was far, far worse back then. There is a lot of awkward complaining about being lonely and trying to be a “good person,” which likely meant that I was really, really, really lonely and had more than my share of self-esteem issues. The second thing I noticed was how, back then, my writing was less focused on my personal problems. I suppose I use my writing more these days as a way to explore my emotional life and sort out how I feel about things or my past. Even though the old writing is terrible, I miss the creativity it expresses. I think I should go back to writing more poems. A few of my undergraduate professors had mentioned that I had some talent for it, but then again, that is the story of my life: potential that doesn’t seem go anywhere. Perhaps this is my basic personality, but I sure hope not. I’d really like to be able to have accomplishments to be proud of rather than a truckload of regrets for things I haven’t done or things that didn’t pay off with the results I really wanted.

21 May 2007
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