I have finally added in the last of the first fifty-one stories from my old True Life site.
I started writing True Life back in 1998 as a hand-rolled web memorial to my past family, events, and themes. It was then, and remains today, my personal mirror and cathartic echo chamber, and a place where I can polish my stories, refine my memories, and find patterns and meaning.
I stopped adding to the original site sometime around 2005 – maybe I just got burned-out, or bored with the way the site looked. It had just stopped exciting me, so I let it be for what it was. Not long after, my personal Linux server started to die, so I took it offline, and True Life (which was hosted on that server) went down entirely.
Strangely, I didn’t feel much loss from “de-publishing” the True Life project – maybe I even felt liberated. I didn’t have to carry that self-imposed burden of a shrine on my back, if I didn’t want to. I began resenting Mum and Dad for all their failings as parents, and then moved their little framed photographs off the top of my dresser, and down to a low corner of a bookshelf, where I wouldn’t be reminded of them so often. I decided that it’s okay to not want to see them, and to feel sick of them and of the one-sided story I’d been telling about them for almost 10 years. I decided that we were a failed family, and they were failed parents to my sister and I. Kids can’t choose their parents, but as an adult, I could sure as hell scorn mine, post-mortem.
I have noticed that I tend to obsess over people who are no longer in my life. If there’s nothing to be learned from conversing with ghosts, I really ought to let them go unanswered.
However, I eventually came back to my family background, as I always have. Reminders of past joys, sorrows, abuses and achievements kept entering my mind. Writing my memoir as “True Life” may be a compulsion now – a deep part of my identity. As they say, I might be done with the past, but the past ain’t done with me.
So, I’ll boot up Scrivener, or get my pad and pen, and start sketching out snippets of a path that will take me from 1976 towards the early eighties, when things got much, much worse.
It’s time to bite off more than I chew again, and choke down what I can of all those random scraps of daily life, and digest it all into some kind of coherent narrative. I will stick my head out, and see where the process takes me.
Should only take a few hundred more stories to get True Life up to the year 2000. At this rate, it may never get done, but I think the process is the important piece.