“Beware thoughts that come in the night.”
William Least Heat Moon opened BLUE HIGHWAYS, his autobiographical road trip chronicle, with that admonishment in 1982. Those words have kept me out of all sorts of trouble over the years. A countless number of dubious ideas that bubbled to the surface after lights out have often suffered under the perspective offered by the light of day.
I’ve spent the past four days and nights ruminating over the relative merits of what may yet be another hare-brained idea, but in this case it’s beginning to feel like my nocturnal creativity is poised to win the day. Which is another way of me telling all of you who have often encouraged me to undertake an autobiographical writing project of my own that you are about to get what you’ve asked for.
Last week’s discovery of the diary I kept 40 years ago in the early months of 1975 was just the creative trigger I needed to give form and context to an autographical undertaking. This is my idea: Beginning on January 1st, 2015, each day I will publish the diary entry from that same day in 1975. I will publish the entries exactly as they were recorded, complete with spelling and syntax errors. Not one word will be changed, omitted, or edited in any way. At the end of each entry, I will offer some present-day commentary for the purpose of providing historical context. My hope is that at the end of the project, the diary and commentary, taken collectively, will offer a fairly comprehensive picture of my early life and, perhaps, give some insight to my creative existence.
I have started the process of sharing my idea with those individuals who make an appearance in these pages. I want to offer a complete, unabridged, warts-and-all story of a critical time in my teenage life, and to that end I am seeking permission from those who are still alive to use their real names and stories. Many of them are on Facebook, and I want to be sensitive to their privacy concerns. So far, I have received 100% support from those contacted. For the most part, the only person in serious danger of embarrassment would be me, and I’m totally okay with this possibility.
More on this as we draw closer to New Year’s Day…