When I first saw that “chronicles” was the prompt of Sunday Scribblings this week, I wondered what in the heck I’d write about.
I first thought of The Chronicle, a large part of my daily life many moons ago during college. I never worked on the paper, although looking back, I wish I would have, so I could’ve written about that internal struggle–not having the confidence to pursue writing earlier. Eh. Another time.
Then I thought fictionally, and imagined a middle-aged woman cleaning out her deceased father’s apartment with whom she never had a close relationship–figuring out what to keep so as to chronicle his life for the next generation when she, in fact, had no idea what kind of life he had. But then I realized that I scribbled about death last week, and also wrote about my deceased grandmother a few days ago, and well, I’m just about deathed out.
So then this morning I went up to the piazza for my morning cappuccino and was greeted with this scene:
And I thought about writing of this woman chronicling her life through the items she makes. In years past, it was very common here for a young signorina to make all of her own linens for her house, embroidering and whatnot. I imagine that as time goes on, many women crafted more things with their hands–scarves, blankets, linens for children–that if taken together would chronicle a given woman’s life. But this would end up being about death too, wouldn’t it? So let’s call these my photos for “chronicles.”
So I’m thinking there are just so many different ways to chronicle a life, which led me to this:
I’ve always loved writing. Yes, composing, but I’m talking about the physical act of putting ink to paper and forming letters, then words. I used to play with my handwriting all the time, often copying the style of a favorite teacher, making the M in my signature all different ways. One of my favorite M’s was stolen from a framed picture in my room that had my name written in cursive and proclaimed what little girls are made of.
I used to love writing so much that one day when I found my mom’s handwritten notes from nurses’ training, I decided to write them over. I was probably about 10 years old, so of course I had no idea what anything meant, but that didn’t matter. I loved writing, and so I got my looseleaf and favorite pens and went to work.
I remember struggling to read my mom’s handwriting, an odd mix of cursive and printing–so not allowed in a structured 10-year-old’s mind. “What’s this Mom?” must’ve driven her crazy. I don’t know how many pages I ended up copying (I’m guessing not many because I bore quickly), but I do remember imagining myself in a big room, surrounded by other people my age, furiously scribbling as a talking head in the front used a lot of words with many syllables.
Yeah, I was a geek, so I actually fantasized about being in school, but more than that, I see now that I was channeling a part of my mom’s life that I’d never be able to experience. I was able to sit there with her, writing words I wouldn’t understand for another 10 years. All because she didn’t chuck her notes.
Fast forward many years, and you know what? I, too, still have all my notes from college and law school. And perhaps I flatter myself to think that someday, someone might be so inclined to recopy them just to feel closer to me, but for what it’s worth, they’re there. I went three-hole punch happy and man, what a chronicle of that stage in my life I’ve made.
I have journals, letters, and scrapbooks from those years as well, but the academic experience was undeniably a big part of my development too. Who knows what was occupying my thoughts as I learned about evolution, the development of the prison system, Tennyson, Whitman, Yeats? Granted it was most likely Cute English Boy, but I could’ve had an interesting thought here and there. Maybe.
Someday, if I’m so inclined, I can find out. And so can future generations, if I manage to keep track of everything. And as an added bonus, we can even trace the development of my handwriting, which if you’re curious, has ended up looking a lot like my mom’s weird mix of cursive and printing.
I still do that M from the picture though.
[tags]sunday scribblings, chronicles, handwriting, old notes[/tags]