So by Saturday I was feeling marginally better. I was able to do something other than watch all of season four of Battlestar Galactica, and since that was all I had done the previous two days, I was also feeling undeniably creative. I don’t know. The impulse to create overtook me. I wanted to write, I wanted to draw; but I also wanted something more frenetic and crazy, with lots of scissors and glue.
I ended up taking a random assortment of things I had written in the last several years (going back to 2001 at the earliest) but never really did anything with, and compiled them into a quarter-page zine, fittingly titled: What I Did on Saturday Afternoon. I had most of it together beautifully, but realized that there was something poignant missing. I searched back through the darker recesses of my iBook and found some random passages of reflection that I compiled in the years after my grandmother’s death.
That miniature memoir, coupled with poetry, microfictions, a monologue, drawings, photographs, and photocopies of random things I found in the cupboard under the stairs (where I keep the photocopier), when assembled into a whole, went from what I intended to be an exercise in randomness to an interesting study of self. When placed together, these orphaned artworks of the last ten years of my life presented a fantastic collage of all the people I’ve been in that time. It was such a remarkable side effect of self-reflexivity and past/present/future that I feel somehow changed. Like this acknowledgement (or release even) of my past work will allow me to reconcile this different facets, let me put them behind me and move on artistically. When I first started, I had an idea what my back cover would be: a photocopy of a Joe Strummer quote that I had hanging over my desk for the last three years, that says: “The Future is Unwritten.” By the time I finished the zine, I handwrote under that: “only the past is written. and not very well.”
I recommend to any writer or artist with those little scribblings, half-started projects, and unacknowledged musings to do the same. You will feel exposed, vindicated, rewarded, and infinitely free.