Past-me embarrasses me.
(I’m ashamed to admit that I had to look up how many “r”s there are in “embarrass”)
Every now and then, usually biannually, I get the urge to revisit my older works. Open up dusty notebooks. Boot up the ancient 518MB-RAM Pentium III and listen to it struggle to start up like my grandfather’s Toyota. The process varies, but inevitably, I find myself closing the notebook, the word document, or the browser window feeling like I should bury my past work under a landslide.
Holy crap, I wrote that?
Past-me is such a showoff. There’s a whole 3-paragraph writeup that was specifically written how it was just so Past-me could include the word “epitome” in there, because it sounded like a cool, sophisticated word to use. Past-me writes long, drawn-out melodramatic scenes, milking it for all it’s worth. Past me has not a single clue about what on earth he is doing.
I’m sure it relates to anyone in any profession, especially when it comes to creative work, and especially if you have just started out to learn your chops. Inevitably, invariably, there’s going to be at least that one things that is going to haunt you from a forgotten part of the internet; or from a dark corner of your mind – whether it is an old work; a blog post from years ago; or a highly emotional facebook status. If you’re lucky, the world will never see it. If you’re not…
Still, it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing that Past-me embarrasses me. It’s a good thing that I cringe when I look at the words Past-me chooses to use in his narratives. Why, you ask?
Because it tells me that I have grown. As a writer. As a storyteller. As a person.
The fact that I can be embarrassed by my older works tells me that I have managed to elevate my thoughts to a higher level. That I have acquired better taste over the years. It reminds me of how much I have grown in the space of the past 5 years or so; and who’s to say what the next 5 years will bring? If I look back, 5 years from now, and go, “That was pretty solid writing I had there”… I will have cause to worry then. The implications would be that I have become complacent. Stagnant in the mastering of my craft.
(and that will be bad)
5 years – this very blog post will probably embarrass Future-me in turn.
And that will be a good thing.