Monday, July 21, 2008

Let's dance in style, let's dance for awhile

I just finished reading an excerpt of a memoir by Elizabeth McCracken in O magazine of all places. It was about the birth of her stillborn baby and subsequent feelings of extreme pain, loss, and ultimately some sort of peace. It really resonated with me. It was just amazingly written. Wow.

I'm also reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell and really enjoying it. It was recommended by Daisy I think. It takes place during the period of the Falklands war from the perspective of a 13 year old British boy. Completely coincidentally, I was rummaging around our crawl space today and came across one of my (many) old and unfinished diaries. This one happened to be written when I was thirteen. I was struck by how unrecognizable this girl was to me. I read with interest and curiosity but little recognition. From the few entries I read, thirteen looks like it was a relatively peaceful year in my world. Maybe that is why I can't really remember it... The traumatic ones tend to have more impact. Also surprised at my innocence and naivete. I do remember 14 and I was up to all sorts of shenanigans. I already was smoking a bit(cigs and a bit of pot from the looks of it) very boy crazy, but my thoughts were so child-like and optimistic and trusting. There is something in there my mom told me that I took at face value and realize now it was a total lie. I must confront her with this!

For the first time ever reading my childhood journals I felt maternal towards myself rather than like a peer. I love that I found this today. I am struggling a bit with my daughter and reading my own memoir has made me realize I am way too hard on her. I always thought I was such a mature, wise, smart kid and then reading this stuff? Oh man, so wrong. Just an innocent, confused, mostly nice kid, bewildered and amazed and excited about the world.





11 comments:

vinny said...

I never kept diaries.

brooks said...

I wish I was still the all-knowing, never wrong 14 year old I used to be. Of course, that might also mean I have to spend all my time in my bedroom listening to Stone Temple Pilots.

Also, does this blog change themes everyday?

LceeL said...

Love that you found your diary. A guide book for raising a teenager, perhaps?

And I love the photos. Great colors.

We had a stillborn girl on December 10th, 1980. As a man, I have every second of that day etched in my mind, forever. I can only imagine what it must be like for Annie - or any woman, for that matter. It's one of those things that speaks to you on a gut level - especially if you're a woman who has had a child - or lost one.

Indy said...

Oh to read journals from the past. I have read mine now and then. I was so into boys. Did I do anything else? It is hard to believe it was me. I will check out that article in Oprah. Hope I still have it. Thanks.

Manager Mom said...

You've inspired me to reread some of my journals, if for no other reason to remind me that it's OK to like myself as who I am now, because I was kind of a jackass as the person I was back then.

LOVE the photos...

OHmommy said...

Man do I wish I kept a journal.

What a great thing for you to read and reflect upon. You are an awesome mother.

Sogeshirtsguy said...

very cool that you kept a diary. I never kept a journal as a kid and i'm kinda glad i didn't. I was messed up then and had no idea what i was doing. Nice to see that you use your diary as a learning tool to relate to your daughter.

Eve Grey said...

Vinny, even though i kept diaries they were never completely totally candid because i was always afraid i'd die and my mom would read them.

Brooks, yeah it kinda does. I have to think on it & get one i like.

Oh Lou, I am so very sorry to hear that. You should consider getting that issue for your wife. It is in the Oprah magazine, August issue. The woman that wrote it said she found it very comforting to meet someone else who had been through the same thing so she didn't feel so alone.

Indy, it's the new issue, a whole section on memoirs. Haven't read the others yet.

MM, it did, in a curious way, make me re-think how hard i am on myself and others.

Thanks OHMommy, i'm not sure about that, but thanks.

Thanks Tim, i thought i might let her read parts of it when she is the same age. We would be like peers 28 years apart...

neutron said...

What did your mom tell you? Or is that too personal?

Eve Grey said...

No, not too personal just too long & convoluted for this here blog. Suffice it to say, she was saving her own ass by the little "white lie" she told me.

daisy said...

Glad you are enjoying BSG. I think I accidentally left my teenage journal at my house when I moved out and my three younger brothers all read it. Luckily by the time they told me about it I only found it mildly amusing, instead of horrifically humiliating.