Shortly after I started blogging, I wondered how faithful my memory was to actual events of my past. Not that it matters. I am practically the only one left who still remembers anything about those times, so there is no one to contradict me. It was important to me just the same. I lamented that I didn’t have my journals handy, to check my recollections against my impressions of events written at the time.
I did find those journals, which were helpful in verifying my memories. However, I think that I have mined this resource as far as I could with respect to writing about my childhood experiences as a sibling of an older autistic brother.
More than several of my posts were taken from my writings of more than 20 years ago. Since that time, I have been obsessing about scanning all the pages of all my journals into the computer. This might give you an idea of the scale of this project: journals from 1994 and 1995 have about 10-12 volumes each. There are many more that are too big for the scanner. Earlier years have a lesser number of entries. I think I was doing more living than writing then.
I don’t pretend to know what it is like to have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but I realize that I do not need these journals. If they were gone tomorrow I don’t think it would matter. I’d probably undergo a suitable mourning period and move on. But I have this feeling that I need to scan all of them in for some kind of completeness.
As I scan, I have other ‘great’ ideas. I could save each page according to its date. I could also hyperlink to all the photographs I took on those dates, which, by the way, are not currently in digital form. I have hundreds of contact sheets referring to thousands of photographs that would have to be scanned in. Or, I could get a slide scanner, if they still exist, for the Kodachromes and the negatives… You see? Snowballing.
I think that my obsession with the past led me to the need to store everything in one form or another. It is very bothersome. It is harmful in the sense that I could be more creative if I didn’t feel it necessary to save, scan and organize.
What’s a person to do?
I should probably ease away from revisiting my journals. I don’t normally read them while I’m in the process of scanning. Occasionally I notice an entry or two of struggles that I was having. It isn’t pleasant.
I have done my bit in examining my past life to qualify it to be in the life-worth-living department. Remember, according to Socrates, “A life unexamined is not worth living.”
I should try to find my videotapes.