According to my records, it has been four years to the day since my very first post on my very first blog, way back in the second semester of ninth grade. I’m reading that post now; it focuses on my emotions at the end of my time working on the school musical, Sondheim’s Into the Woods. I played viola in the pit orchestra, back when I still played violin and viola, before I got interested in the tech side of the theater world. This was so far before I got interested in the tech side, that I still hadn’t overcome my desire to act. I wrote about how I used to go into the theater at lunch, stand downstage center, and declaim Shakespeare to an empty house. I remember only knowing a few monologues—the Prologue from Henry V, Puck’s last speech in Midsummer Night’s Dream, a few bits from Macbeth. Part of “to be or not to be.” But I remember how long it took the penny to drop, how I didn’t realize that it was odd and awkward that I was the only non-drama kid to enter the Shakespeare recitation contest, for example.
I’m getting off-topic. But I think it’s odd, and maybe something worth complimenting myself about, that I was blogging in 2005, long before the new media really took off. I had a Blogger blog since day one, and I moved to WordPress in, if I’m not mistaken, 2007. I never used Xanga or LiveJournal. I talked about silly teenage things, though, even if my platforms weren’t teenage ones.
I was fifteen when Into the Woods closed, the most successful show I worked on in high school. It even got reviewed in the city paper, and some of the people who were in that production went on to take theater and film very, very seriously. But now, in college, at the age of nineteen, I know people who are or will be genuinely famous, who are indescribably brilliant at what they do, be it theater or anything else. In ninth grade, I had no idea how much bigger the world was going to get. I didn’t know how much I was going to grow as a person—a trajectory that’s evident from four years of almost-daily archives—or what the world outside my high school was like. In ninth grade, I hadn’t even begun the weighty processes of figuring out who and what I am that continues to this day.
I had tons of goals for high school. Some of them I accomplished, and some of them I didn’t. I made it alive through four years, an accomplishment which, for anyone, is larger than some people might realize. I made it to graduation without having sold my soul to the destructive culture that is public high school in America. I think that’s why I cried at graduation. I couldn’t believe that it was really happening, that I was really going to receive a diploma. And now I’m here, at Princeton of all places, and hating and loving every minute of it at exactly the same time.
But I’m sorry. I got off-topic again. Because this is supposed to be about blogging, not just about being older, though I think that is relevant too. This is about the first writing I ever really did outside of school—some of it private, and some of it public, but writing all the same. I did, and am still doing, what writers are supposed to do, keeping a journal of my thoughts and feelings and what happens in my day-to-day life. (I should mention, since I haven’t already, that the four-year blog in question is a private, password-protected site, while this new blogging endeavor is only a public manifestation of what’s been going on for years.) At the time that I began blogging, the writing I did was very limited: the only place anyone saw it was h2g2, a BBC-sponsored, Douglas Adams-inspired, haven that once was critically important to my life. But now I’m on the verge of conceiving of myself as a writer by trade. I’ve had enough experience to fill a resume, and I set my sights on very ambitious goals in the writing industry. It’s something that I try very hard at, writing. It’s a huge part of my life.
I know that all my writing is so personal, so much infused with “I,” that it couldn’t be without four years of writing about myself on an almost daily basis. Blogging is how I’ve developed (and am still developing) my voice, in addition to figuring out my identity (as a still-teenager, I feel as if that remains vital). And even of itself, isn’t it a bit of an accomplishment to have kept this journaling concept going continuously from my freshman year of high school to my freshman year of college? I remember when I’d start journals and never write in them again. I haven’t done that in quite a while.
I feel as if this isn’t a very good way to talk about conceiving of myself as a writer, because I’m just typing, and then I’m going to hit “publish” without proofreading what I’ve written. I’m sure someone will find typos and grammatical errors. I’m sure a lot of what I’ve said is clunky and kind of lame and self-absorbed, really. But hey. That’s what I’ve been doing for four years. And I really do feel as if it’s worked so far.