While writing about a book in my Random Acts of Reading blog, I mentioned a fellow and a frequent occurence from eight grade. I actually included his name and the teacher\’s name. Couple days later, there was a comment from him, a big time California lawyer now. My surreal moment of the week. I think he must have had someone on his staff google his name once a week, can\’t think of another way for him to find my obscure readinng log. He remembered the book and the teacher, but not her favorite comment about him. His comment to me was \”Geez, you have an amazing memory!\”
I\’ve been thinking about that, because I don\’t really have a great memory. But I remember junior high, more than high school and college. And not because of any chemical additives. I think the reason I remember junior high is because I wrote every day, and the reason I remember my junior high classmates is because I wrote about them. I do remember 4th grade pretty clearly as well. I read Harriet the Spy that year and kept a notebook about that year, a la Harriet. It did not go over well for me there, once people found the notebook. I solved that problem in Junior High by writing for \”publication\”. I wrote a soap opera and my classmates were the characters. Every night, I would write two pages of dialogue and then call my best friend Maryanne and we would discuss the episode. She would make editorial suggestions and if I agreed, I would make changes. Then I would re write the thing, this time on a sandwich of carbon paper and notebook paper. I learned early to only bring one copy to school.
So what happened? In high school, there were \”things\” that had to be done, things that would lead to engineering degrees and law schools and grad degrees, etc. I followed along and did those things, even though I really had no intention of being any of those things. I always intended to be a writer. Somehow, my little twelve year old brain knew that to do that, I had to write every day and I did. In HS and the first two years of college, I didn\’t. And there was plenty to write about. So, did I just have more time and energy to write in Jr. High? Less time and energy dedicated to pretending to be something else? Jr. High kids have the amazing ability to totally be themselves and HS\’s do a good job of getting that out of them. Or at least me.
So I guess, like any good writer, I\’ve spend a good chunk of years procrastinating.
\”As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90% procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching informercials. It\’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly.\”– Paul Rudnick.