« The Curator »

a few of my plastic tubs with archival boxes, courtesy of the DHL company that  used to stock the office I worked at.I keep my junk rather well classified and orderlyThe long unemployed days need to be filled with something once the hard work of job searching is over. This has been one of the longest unemployed periods yet, now just passing six months. Lee Van Ham has been on vacation, so there has been a lull in work for JEM for a few weeks. Add to those the fact that my high school reunion happened a week ago and all this has conspired to drive me to the personal archive boxes in recent weeks and months to find stuff to scan and transcribe for this site.

I have three giant tubs from Ikea, and a few older tubs that have not yet been replaced. They all contain photo albums, boxes of stuff classified by year (since 1992, first full year after graduating and getting off the school year), or by school year (high school mainly), or by groups of school years (everything before high school). I have all six yearbooks from middle and high school. Also stashed in the tubs are various documents, calendars, tape archives, journals, and so on. Over the years I have tended to make things easy on myself, periodically pruning stuff that doesn't hold lasting value. A lot of it is sill there: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There is stuff that makes me cringe now. I've transcribed a handful of journals from high school that are usually just horribly written, and the typewritten text is often no help because it was so bad due to these very documents being about as much practice as I ever got at a keyboard. My voice on these papers was trying to be funny, but it comes off as completely ridiculous and juvenile. I often carried on a conversation with my intended reader, and the amount of asides and parenthetical remarks just makes me cringe. Nonetheless, every now and then something worthwhile was written. Some of these things have been posted here already and dated so that they fall in actual chronological history according to their original dates of writing. Obviously, I was not blogging in 1989!

Ever since I moved my site onto Squarespace in January, I've found it appealing to use the flexible Lego-like options for building a site rich with content of various types. I've been writing for the web since 2002, and with at least a decade of journals before that, I've been telling a story of my life and times for two decades now. (And more if you count those lame high school era things!) Now that Squarespace is so easy to configure for the range of content I have, it has been fun adding things up and seeing a larger period of my life in one frame, so to speak. I've been feeding the galleries with new travel pictures, have been adding the proto-TAPKAE journals, and have also uploaded many of my key recording projects. Because I like to chat about stuff, most of it is pretty well documented.

It also helps that I've emotionally come to grips with a lot more stuff that is referenced in the archival boxes, and that now I see it important to tell a more complete story, warts and all. The current gives me a chance to integrate things, and to tell a more unified story than I ever have. Being able to post images with captions, or blog posts with pictures, or all the linking opportunities back and forth has made me see things with an eye to dismantling prior compartments of life. It has been an exercise in reclaiming previously disowned parts of me. As time allows, there will be more of that.

The thing is, most of my life was lived in the pre-digital age. I have lots of photo albums and plenty of photos in boxes that still want to be seen, but jeeze, a scanner is a miserable thing to deal with, even with newer hardware. One document at a time, three pictures at a time? Recoloring and cropping? Saving and uploading? Commenting? It takes time, and it is far from my intention to ever get it all up. So for now, the most interesting things are going up. Maybe another wave will come, maybe when life's twists and turns bring a person to mind, and all of a sudden the heart gets pulled in the direction of telling stories related to them. Who knows?

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