Placing and rediscovering breadcrumbs
Think of the last time you came across a photo from days gone by or heard an impactful song from yesteryear. Whether it was last year, a decade ago or from your childhood, it's often accompanied by being momentarily transported back to that moment in time.
I know the feeling well from photos and music and the longer I stick with my writing practice, the more I find it here. Whether I’m searching through Evernote for one thing and stumble upon another or combing through old notebooks, at times I can remember where I was while writing it and can find myself either rolling my eyes as I read something that feels a world away from now or when I’m lucky find myself thinking, “Damn. That’s good work LeBeau.”
Years ago when I was at the start of my writing journey I remember Brett McKay from the “Art of Manliness” writing about his grandfather's pocket notebook, which he had with him every day and would always scribe a bit about what happened. After more than 50 years of journaling he decided to write a memoir, which ended up being more than 500 pages, for his grandchildren.
When I think about the way a photo takes us back to a moment we’ve forgotten, I find I am not only transported but also can see how my thinking, interests and writing skills have evolved overtime.
Something I appreciate as I look back is knowing that on a day-to-day basis our lives often feel/are mundane because most changes take place gradually. Sure, there are dramatic moments but as the writer Tim Urban says, “Happiness is the joy you find on hundreds of forgettable Wednesdays.” I like to think my writing helps me log some of the "forgettable Wednesday” moments and hold onto them as opposed to them slowly sinking into the ether of time.
The paper trail I’m creating makes it easier to retrace where I’ve been, what I’ve thought and what I aspired to in one chapter vs. another. My writings of course like a sad song song, can be painful at times to come back across - reflections on a breakup or the loss of a friend - but also the moments I was on fire regarding someone I’d met, a moving experience or a concept sending my brain into overdrive.
Most days sitting down to write doesn’t feel all that remarkable. Rather its just something I do. But every once in a while during the process or while reflecting back It feels extraordinary. Today is one of those days I’m thankful to have taken the plunge.
Go Forth Boldly
Reference: if right now you're thinking, “I wish I had a regular drawing / writing / exercise practice.” All I can tell you is it doesn’t take any special skills other than the commitment to start in a small way. For that, read this James Clear piece.