Today I learned a lesson in perspective, the benefits of distance, and just how little I knew and understood about writing when I was younger.
In the course of doing something completely different, I ran across a LiveJournal blog I started sometime in high school, I think. Oh, the memories.
At the time I created the site, I had deftly mastered using AOL’s website builder and, despising it’s limitations (and the grotesque HTML markup it generated), I searched for greener pastures. Hope exciting; a page on the World Wide Web all to myself, outside of the shepherding crook of America Online. I wrote journal entries and blog posts, and thought myself rather clever. I eventually lost interest in LiveJournal and went elsewhere for my blogging needs; I think I actually posted entries manually using a text editor to my UVA webspace for a while before using ModBlog and then graduating to WordPress.
Anyway, the last time I posted to this LiveJournal page was in 2001, the year of my high school graduation. Curious, I looked to see if I could identify a progression in how I thought and how I conveyed my ideas to others over the course of posting.
Oh, my. Horrid. How did I ever manage to get into UVA, writing like that? 😛
When I actually sit down and make the time to write, I consider myself a careful writer. I strive for clarity and search for the right words: why add superfluous words to get my point across when a handful of well-chosen ones will do? Now, in light of this glimpse back in time of the state of my writing as I entered the University of Virginia, it’s quite humbling to see where you’ve come from.
I look back at much of the poetry I wrote in high school, the stuff I was so proud of, and now see clumsy, cheesy phrases and awkward idea constructions. These are problems of execution, of course, not imagination – it’s like watching a small bird make its first feeble wing flaps before it trips and totters awkwardly out of its nest. Even so, I had some good ideas, and it felt great to get them out on paper.
I wouldn’t consider myself a master of the language now, by any means. It is encouraging, however, that I can look at the same pieces and writings now with some perspective, see what was wrong, but also see what was right.
I guess, if anything, it shows that I’m always growing. Where I came from shapes where I am now, and it eventually leads me closer to where I want to be.
…But it’s still somewhat embarrassing. 😉