Friday, June 02, 2006

Recently I tried to write a novel based on my friends and me at boarding svhool when we were 15. I couldn't really remember much about when I was 15 but I have thousands and thousands of pages of journals from those years. I thought I could just read them over and get a sense of it all from that..... but, I couldn't. I could not read them. I started to, but they were so intensely painful, and yet so ridiculous, that I couldn't stand to read more than a few pages.

I wouldn't even be admitting this, probably, had someone not been brave enough to read HIS adolescent journals on THIS AMERICAN LIFE (the program was about cringe moments: the memories that make us flinch). We were as different as people could be (interests, generation, class, sex) ...yet the journals' styles and tones were almost identical.

He wrote about his plans for being Prime Minister of Israel as seriously as I had written about being a famous writer (or, possibly, a traveller: someone who travelled very light, or maybe a great mother)....there was the same self-aggrandizement, tedious philosophizing (written with a fervent seriousness and passionate belief in the importance of our weighty ideas, and PRIDE in having them).

These were mixed in my case with very detailed descriptions of events that had actually taken place: sometimes that WERE taking place even as I wrote my thoughts into the journal:
"Linda can't fit into her dress....she doesn't know what to do... 'That's right, go ahead, write in your diary!'...Linda just tried on the dress with a different bra and it fits perfectly!!!!!"

Yet it was these little throw-away moments, the things that I wasn't really even paying attention to and that I recorded almost by accident (not the carefully phrased philosophy) that held my interest.

Another (I can't remember the exact words and I won't look!) was about how our children would be dressed. Someone said she could just see Linda's kids: "They'll be immaculate." I offered that when I grew up, I also would dress well:
"I'll wear a white dress every day," I said, seeing myself vividly (a completely different person, of course -- more like Wendy or Mrs.Darling in PETER PAN than me, even in looks).
The other girl sighed and said with a despairing conviction I still remember:
"Oh, Libby, you won't."

In this blog I am going to write only about the things people do and say and leave the philosophizing to the reader.