Last week, while I was digging around in my closet for a new book to read, I came across some notebooks of mine from a decade ago. Sadly, I have not owned a bookshelf in years, so for now, all my books are being squished and smothered to death in weakening and crumbling cardboard boxes in the darkest corners of my closet. But among them, I found these sacred notebooks of mine that I have all but forgotten about. I knew they were in there. I have moved them aside many times in my searches for new reading material (of which I have quite a bit that has been unread by me – I had a bad habit of buying books and then not reading them), but I never cared to open them. I didn’t think that there was anything hidden inside. But I was gravely mistaken.
The picture shown above is a maze that I had doodled on the back of one these green hardcover notebooks (standard 8″ X 10.5″ military record books) during my early years in the Navy. I date it some time between June of 2003 and November of 2004, and more likely towards the latter. There is only one way through that giant tangle of pathways, and many, many dead ends. I have never forgotten about the maze – in fact, I reminisce fondly of it whenever I see it – but what was written inside was what really caught my attention this time around.
In my teens, I dabbled here and there in writing stories, usually not making it more than a page or two before crumbling it up and tossing it in the garbage, and then turning to TV or video games. But apparently, I had some pretty good story ideas after I joined the Navy, because that was what I found within. The writing was awful. The sentence and story structures were terrible. But after all these years, I can still admire the ideas that I had come up with. And what makes it even better is that I found a 3.5″ floppy disk taped inside! Doubtless I had started typing out my story, but computers nowadays don’t even have floppy drives anymore, so I am unfortunately unable to see what is on it, if anything. I will hang on to it, though, in case I ever find a way to view its contents.
After perusing that notebook, I went on to the next and found more of the same. With this notebook, I was smart and had labelled it “March 2003.” No maze this time, but I had drawn a map of a fantasy world that I had been creating at the time. I had character names and their relation to each other, how they met, and what city they were from. I had even written a chapter and started a second. Again, the writing was awful, but I have already begun to rewrite it. I like the ideas that much. I have no recollection of any of it, though, except for the maze.
I am happy that I decided to take a look in those notebooks this time around. Not that I need any more ideas – I still have dozens to work with – but seeing what and how I wrote back then has given me a good view of myself that has severely diminished in an alcohol-induced daze that overtook me during my Navy years. Hopefully there are more lost (or locked away) memories that I can rediscover as time goes on.