When the past comes back, does it haunt or help?

Today it has helped.

This afternoon, my past has been tapping me gently on the shoulder and reminding me of my life that was.  I pop off the lid off a dark green plastic bin and look inside. I gingerly unfold letters from 1988, 1991, 1994…nothing since then in this box.   I find birthday cards from friends I still cherish and a series of letters to me while I was in Africa from someone I didn’t think I even knew. I skip the yearbooks.  My heart simultaneously sinks and lifts at all my writing from that period: finished and unfinished short stories, notes, travel logs, the binder from my Children’s Literature correspondence course, and oddly, a research paper on the history of the Louvre.  This is all enough to jog memories from the back room of my brain and put me in a contemplative frame of mind for a while.

So much has changed since then.  I wrote so much more, thought about writing so much more, studied it, experimented with techniques and audiences.  I had forgotten what a reliable and valued correspondent I was.  And now, don’t I feel old?  Not necessarily; in fact, perhaps the opposite.  Places have changed, jobs have changed, methods of communications have changed, but I think I’m about the same in some of the most important areas.  I hope so.

When I have more time, I’ll reread everything I wrote, the short stories, the poetry, the notes…and if I’m ready, I’ll start all over again.


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