Imagined Pasts

Blog Post No. 442

mapring1It’s odd to think that in the future, today may be part of the good old days. While I was working on last week’s blog post, I started to think about when I first started this blog, some eight years ago. I had tried and failed to start several blogs and I had some friends in similar boats. Eventually something clicked and this took hold. I had hoped it would be part of a little network of blogs with my friends with guest posts and posts linking across multiple sites, like webrings of the early internet, but it didn’t happen. Even though some of my friends have websites and blogs, I’m the only one who does regular posts.

Maybe it’s because I’m feeling cooped up and miss going out to coffee shops with friends to talk shop and write or edit (not just because I’ve been struggling with productivity lately) but, I’m nostalgic for a time that never happened. I remember the earliest days of coffee shop hangs when we would all talk big and get nothing done. We had plans for our own stories, comics, or (forgive the hubris of my past self) movies. We would talk about how we could help each other out, combine projects, start bigger ones that came from the collective imagination. Even the first iteration of Adventure Worlds was designed as a series of connecting anthologies where we would each write continuing and connecting parts of long, sweeping epics (as imagined by Justin).

_MG_7883I had images of myself sitting in front of my first laptop (an old grey HP behemoth that I miss to this day) the glow of the screen illuminating the corner of my room as I furiously write into the night. I imagined my friends in similar situations, their individual spaces and quirks (like writing with a nearly memorized tv show playing in the background). We would meet up at the coffee shop the next day, sharing what we’d done, helping each other out and collaborating on more projects. We would joke and laugh and spit out brilliance as easily as we talked about all the work we would do. The drive home in the cool summer evenings with the windows down and the radio turned up would just be a pause. As soon as I got home, I would dive back in and write until dawn.

I wrote some essays in University late at night when they were due the next day. (I was mostly good and on top of everything back then, but a few slipped through the cracks). I was always a night owl, even back in high school when my bedtime was 9 p.m. and I would listen to CDs until I felt sleepy and the worries of unfinished homework and tests not studied for were pushed far enough into the back of my head that I could relax. Even as a child, I didn’t sleep much. Some of my earliest memories are of little Ben sitting up in bed playing with stuffed animals, pretending my bed was a raft on a raging river or a spaceship floating derelict in an uncharted region of the galaxy. (But my sleeping habits aren’t really on topic, just potentially telling of my imagined past).

the-storefrontSome of the coffee shop meetings really happened. I have plenty of real memories of sitting with friends at the Coffee Exchange or the nearest Tim’s in between our houses where we’d talk and laugh and plan. Not a lot of work was done until Adventure Worlds really got off the ground. Eventually we wrote, but the reality was more difficult and time consuming than the fantasy. That iteration didn’t last, either. It’s my current version of the good old days, or the latest top layer of the collective geological past. for now, I’m alone within my writing group as far as regular blog posts.

I do it as much for myself as for any potential benefit it may (or may not) have on my future as an author. One accomplishment I do have is managing to get the Adventure Worlds blog up and running again on a fairly regular schedule with the help of Christian and Brittni. We no longer post short stories there as stories now have too much value to post to a website with few readers. Regular updates are better than nothing, though. It’s a second place for this blog to reference, too. The single link in the chain of my imagined webring from the future that didn’t happen.

2 thoughts on “Imagined Pasts

  1. Pingback: Radio used to be So Important to Me – Ben Van Dongen

  2. Pingback: Imagined Futures | Storyblog

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