Two years ago I conceived a plan to write an autobiography in 50,000 words. It’s time to refine and execute that plan.
Even as the whole thing seems unrealistic.
What caught my attention was downloading my Facebook and Twitter archives and seeing how how much information existed there. I reviewed my Gmail account and its 183,194 emails since March 2006, remembering I have another seven years worth from multiple email accounts on another drive. There are thousands of blog posts. That’s not to mention close to 100 bankers boxes, trunks, desks and the like filled with documents, recordings, images, mementos and other artifacts to be rediscovered. There are also thousands of books… and the garage… and people… and you get the picture. There are hundreds of everything to “help” my research.
What was I thinking?
I’m not famous or well known outside my local community, so who cares? I’m hoping our daughter would find such a work to be of interest — maybe a few others.
I’m old school in that when preparing for a life of writing, an autobiography is a first step. Right or wrong, I learned that in high school. I’m already at retirement age, so I better make this part of my life brief.
Before writing a major work, one must follow the Delphic maxim to “know thyself” and its later Socratic expansion, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” We have to take a look. Going through my archives will help me assess who I was and who I might be. I can also use the experience to downsize the amount of stuff accumulated over the years.
Finally, I don’t know a topic that is not complex and subject to context and multiple interpretations. A brief 500 words per chapter forces me to consider what’s most important and stick with it by condensing the raw material into a succinct and hopefully brilliant couple paragraphs.
If I fail to reach brilliance or even get it done, what will I have lost? Nothing.
So here goes.