Friday, December 21, 2012

The Word Hoarder

Hello. My name is Roger (or Dorien), and I am a word hoarder. I find it next to impossible to throw away anything I have ever written. Not infrequently, I will set off to write a blog and for whatever reason not finish it. As a result, I have quite a little file—79 at the moment; I just counted—of incomplete (some justifiably so) blogs. Why don't I just throw them away? Because, like any true hoarder, I am convinced that someday I will find a use for them. I have a somewhat similar problem with physical belongings, too, though I draw the line at opened jars of peanut butter with an expiration date of 06-01-04. But torn pants? Old sweatshirts? Well, surely I might be able to get a few more wearings out of them. I am well aware that were I to keep physical things to the same degree as I keep my writings, I would be like those pack-rat recluses occasionally found dead beneath fallen stacks of floor-to-ceiling old newspapers.

But surely you can understand my reluctance to part with partially-written blogs. (You can, can't you?...Hello?) Well, let me demonstrate. Here are a few never finished blogs pulled at random from the pile.
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As so often happens, yesterday afternoon I realized I had not yet written today’s blog, and set out to do so post-haste. I chose the topic of “Beauty”, a subject of great interest to me, but with which I have had no direct personal experience. I got about two thirds through it and, upon reading what I’d written, realized I must have been channeling one of the lesser and more florid Victorian romance writers. I found it ponderous, pontifical, and saccharine to the point of embarrassment. It emanated the distinct scent of talcum powder.

So I decided to hold off on it for a while, which was probably a good idea. However, having done so, that left me with no blog for today. I went to bed thinking—I am nothing if not an optimist—that I would whip one out this morning when I got up.

The only problem I find in “whipping one out” is that it quite often tends to read as though I had done just that.
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Each of our lives is built on a solid foundation made up of blocks of people and events. Slowly, over time, the foundation begins to crack and crumble. The death of a loved one, the end of any element of our lives which provided us comfort and security, represents the crumbling of another stone in the foundation of who we are, leaving us more alone and more vulnerable.

Change, as we’ve talked about before, is inevitable, but it can also be scary. We are who we are because of our past, and as our past is taken from us, it means part of us disappears with it.

I read recently that the U.S. Navy is discontinuing the Naval Aviation Cadet (NavCad) program which, rightly or wrongly, was one of the most solid of my foundation stones. Even though it was 58 years ago (...and how old are you?) and I did not complete the program, it was one of the most memorable parts of my life. That there would always be a NavCad program was a comforting given. As long as it was there, I was there. It was like a trail of breadcrumbs which I could follow confidently back through the years to find a long-gone and terribly missed me.

My NavCad days are more vivid for me than many other times of my life simply because I have a detailed journal of them in the form of letters written home to my parents. Each letter was written within days of the events described, and this sense of immediacy comes through (to me, at any rate) more than half a century later.
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Hey...those really aren't bad. Maybe I should really get to work and finish them. Or not.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (


Kage Alan said...

You couldn't think of anything to write for today, eh? lol

Dorien/Roger said...

I rest my case.

Nikolaos said...

When I was learning how to write ... no let me rephrase that, since I'm still learning ... when I was just starting out writing, I read a heap of books purporting to advise one about how to write. One piece of advice which did stick was that you should never throw any writing away, since it's raw material which can always be reused and improved. Mind you, so of my early efforts were so bad I think as regards them he was wrong. Some writing is unsalvageable.

I must say, roger, I admire your disciple and ability which gets you writing a blog piece every day. I do aim for that, but ... both the spirit and the flesh are weak!

Nikolaos said...

I meant discipline. Oy!

Dorien/Roger said...

Drat, Nikolaos! And here I thought I had a disciple out there somewhere. Oh, well, another illusion shattered.