A Sense A Day - 03.05.01

In the past when I've started new sections, I usually take a look back at the 12 month mark and reflect on whether they were a success or not. I did it with the Lesion Legion section and I've done overall looks at my site the last 2 years or so running. Just the other day, though, I realized that I hadn't really gone back and properly looked at the Come To My Senses section, even though I'd been doing it for well over a year. I'd made small references to it within other pieces I'd written that sort of discussed my level of happiness with it, but I never really sat down and looked back through all the entries and thought what they meant to me until recently.

After doing just that, one of the things that strikes me as the most interesting about the entire section is that no matter how obscure or off-kilter the entry is, I know exactly what I was referrring to. Obviously, there are some events (like flying into a 40-foot ditch with my car on icey roads or jumping off sand dunes in New Mexico) that are a lot easier to remember, but it's the small things (like the first taste of the chives I'd been growing in my window or standing outside in a downpour) that it was my intent to remember a little better and in that way alone the sensory log has served its purpose fully.

Looking back, it was actually those small and seemingly insignificant (at the time) things that actually gave me the most pleasure to read about. I realize that I'm not the most witty person in the world, but for some reason when I went back through and read some of the smaller bits, I couldn't help but smiling just a bit and thinking back to an event or experience so small and fleeting that I normally would have forgotten it within a day or even a couple hours.

In comparison, I've kept a journal before and I compared the two side-by-side just to see which one I should go with. Obviously I've continued on with the Come To My Senses section, and haven't started up my journal again, but there are a couple reasons for that. The first and main one is that the journal format simply takes too much time. Between emailing every day and trying to write a music review (or two) and getting everything else done (as long as having some semblence of a social life), I just didn't have enough time to sit down and write in a journal every night. Another thing about the CTMS format that works better than a journal for me is that while it captures a glimpse of my life, it doesn't pervade like a journal.

For example, when I was writing in a journal, it happened to be what I thought was a very happy time in my life. I wrote a lot of bubbly, silly things and looking back on them, I realized how much I'd changed (and how much I just wanted to get rid of the entire thing). With the CTMS format (even though I went through sort of a tough 8 months at the beginning of last year), that feeling isn't so overwhelming. While it shows through on some occassions, it's not nearly so overwhelming to me and as something that I would look back on and read, therefore much more entertaining.

It's not that I want to be entertained, rather than read things that I find depressing and have to deal with them, but at the time that I was writing both the journal and the CTMS, I was dealing with those things in real life and thinking about them a lot (it also shows up in writing in other sections on my site) as well. In the end, the journal may have been a bit more therapeutic initially, but it ended up being more of a drag at a later date.

One final thing that I have to mention about the section is that the reason I put it into the format that I did was because it allowed me a lot of flexibility. I could write very cryptic entries, or I could be blunt, and I could write a lot (although one entry has never really grown to be more than 6 sentences or so) or very very little (I've had several entries that are only one sentence and a couple words long). Although I told myself that I would never do it, I admittingly did censor my writings very slightly on a couple occassions just because of things that I wanted to say but knew that I probably couldn't without hurting people reading the site.

Instead of really censoring myself, though, those sorts of situations just made me get a little more creative in my writing. On every occassion, I still wrote about what I was going to say initially, but my writing just took on a different edge and I went about saying things a little differently than I would have in the first place. Looking back, I could still pick out all my obscure references and cryptic entries, just as I had hoped (although they probably don't make for as much fun for the outside reader without knowing the back story).

As you could probably tell if you've been to the Come To My Senses section, I've continued doing it. I still have a lot of fun doing it and after looking back through the archives, I can't really imagine not keeping up with it for future reference. I mean, chances are I'll remember that I almost passed-out while putting up fence last summer on a 100 degree day, but it's always good to have the written reminder.