Now in the full swing of packing (I'm doing pretty well!), I keep finding things I'd forgotten I had. You have to remember - not only have I lived in my apartment for more than 11 years, I've lived in this city for more than 30 (I went away to college so I suppose I can't count all of those years). I have a ton of shit. It's insane.
I was really excited to uncover this treasure: 33 floppy disks and a very dusty external floppy drive.
It took me about an hour to get that drive installed on my laptop. Apparently new laptops aren't built for those anymore. I had to do a little research and some black magic but after it was patched in, I proceeded to look through every. single. disk.
Scripts, essays, poems, short stories, photos, games, websites, coding, graphics. Files created on software so old I may never be able to open them again.
Here are the most amazing things I found, though. Some of these things are deeply personal and I would never likely share them but right now, I'm enjoying a little nostalgia afterglow.
1. My writing. SO MUCH writing. I had a whole disk called "memoirs," filled with one or two page essays and reflections on my life dating back to 1996. I was 17!!!
2. High School writing assignments. I have always written (no joke - I wrote a murder mystery "novel" in sixth grade) but it wasn't until my senior year of high school when I really figured out what to do. I have a brilliant teacher to thank for that. And it was a treat to read back over some of my papers from those days.
3. College application materials. That was a pretty cool find. I didn't even know I'd saved that stuff. The naive idealism in those pages made me cringe a bit but I guess whatever facade of optimism and wisdom I presented worked. I went to pretty great schools.
4. The OG Blog. When I created my very first personal website, circa 1998, in order to teach myself HTML and curry favor with a boy I liked, I picked a pretty stupid site name. I was really into the movie Grosse Point Blank, about a hitman who comes home for his high school reunion and my AIM screen name at the time, as a result, was GPHitman. Eventually I added a journal to the site - my very, very first BLOG.
Fun fact - once I got really good at web design and coding, I ran a couple fan sites. Found those, too. Here's a screen-grab of my favorite one:
5. Daily Wildcat columns. I had a column in U of A's newspaper, The Daily Wildcat, called "Swimming With Sharks" (yes, after the Kevin Spacey movie), and I found all of my drafts, including the ones that were never published. WOW. At the top of the school year, 1998, I wrote an entire column about being an "old" virgin (yes, that's how it felt - even at 19). It was much how I write now - a thread of sarcasm ran throughout the piece. I was really proud of it, though, and was praised by everyone from my Editor to my mom for publishing it. AND THEN I GOT AMAZING HATE MAIL. Especially from religious groups on campus. I actually have all of that in a scrapbook somewhere (and like actual mail because the paper wouldn't publish most of them - they were pretty outrageous hand-written notes I received at my dorm). I felt I'd truly arrived as a writer. Hate mail can be empowering.
6. Scripts. After I went to U of A, I transferred to NYU's Tisch School to major in screenwriting. And I found a ton of old scripts and outlines on my disks. And of all the things I wrote, my most treasured script is a very short one I wrote based on a short story I'd read and loved. This is the script I submitted with my application to transfer into the screenwriting program. You might say it's the one that dictated the course of the rest of my life. Even though I did not end up a screenwriter, moving to New York was the best thing I could have done for myself at the time.
7. The thing I was up late writing on September 10, 2001. I fell asleep around 3 or 4 am on September 11. I woke up near noon that day.
8. The thing I wrote on September 12, 2001.
* * *
If only I had a VCR. You wouldn't believe all of the VHS tapes I've held onto....