I've been on a knitting tear again (still) which means as soon as my ass hits the couch at the end of the day those needles are in my hands. If the television is on it had better not be anything I'm too attached to actually processing because at least two thirds of it will be missed. Unless I'm knitting the body of a sweater or something else without any sort of pattern I'm going straight into the zone with it. Last night I finally gave up and did something I've never done before, I made a pattern grid just to keep my ass in check. It's not even a pattern really it's just four staggered increase rows that repeat seven times and there's no way in hell I'm going to remember where I left off and if I zone out and forget for a minute where I am in the increase bit (am I increasing just the body or the body and the sleeves this row?) or no increase at all I'm likely to eff the thing up in all number of ways which will result in having to count stitches two times minimum in each section (until they foot and tie) and then do math backwards and forwards until I'm sure about where I should be and know what I need to do to fix whatever it is I've done this time. Yeah, so that. I made a grid pattern and I cross off each square as I complete the required row. I'm pretty sure most knitters could get through these twenty-eight rows without having to do this but my brain is going elsewhere when the rows have two hundred plus or minus stitches.
If the television is on, it provides white noise and my head goes a nice sort of blank. I process approximately 33% of whatever is happening on the screen. If the television is not on my inner monologue can either be damn entertaining, monotonous as hell, or something which ought to be beaten with a stick. It's that beaten with a stick business I can do without. I try to find something which has more than one season so I can let the episodes cycle one after the other from beginning to end. If there's only one season and I'm only paying sort of attention then I'm horribly disappointed because I was only just starting to care. Recently I cycled through five seasons of Person of Interest. Notice I didn't refer to what I was doing as binge watching. To binge watch I think you actually have to watch.
Person of Interest is about an A.I. referred to as The Machine which spits out random numbers that indicate people who either need saving or people who are likely to rain havoc upon the lives of unsuspecting other people. Or something like that. In one particular episode The Machine has been compressed into what amounts to just about nothing. In other words, code that requires the space of a ginormous super computer shovels itself into a briefcase. It's all very nifty. The Machines acolytes (my word, not theirs) really have no idea what they're going to do next but it's the only way they can save the damn thing from the other A.I. hell bent on taking over the world (think Pinky and the Brain) which would include eliminating any competition. I realize this is substantial shark jumping but I assure you, the producers of this show had a jumping shark right out of the gate so you sort of have to accept it at face value.
Later, at the secret, underground, no one could possibly find them, off the grid (except there's power?) hiding place (and how the HELL do they walk the dog on a regular basis much less themselves from that location?) the father of The Machine opens the brief case, plugs it in and sort of does something (I was knitting, don't call me out on this) and The Machine starts to decompress itself.
BUT IT'S GOT NOWHERE TO GO.
Inside an abandoned subway car there is a wall of servers and they're too fat to be blades; I'm not even sure they're properly racked (knitting) but we're all very clear The Machine is NOT going to fit in what amounts to a hidey hole of circuits and plastic. The Machine decompresses itself anyway (knitting, I think there was a fire involved and somebody showed up just in time to put it out with some conveniently located liquid nitrogen but that may have been a different scene, knitting).
In any event, The Machine got itself fully operational again or at least most of the way. We aren't really sure what was left behind, maybe just white noise. Knitting.
I went back to January, 2007 with the intention of unarchiving this blog, one post per month, one year at a time and I got lost in it. It made me think about The Machine. If you have limited space and you have to get out the bare essentials, the things which are most important, leaving behind what can be considered noise, how do you chose that if you're making single threaded decisions? I don't know that The Machine was single threaded (god, I hope not, even that's too big for the shark) and I'm not particularly single threaded but when I go back ten years I kind of am because unless I open up every single post, load them into memory and do a new sort I don't really know for sure what I'm looking at. It might be my life and it might be entertaining but I really do not want to read sixteen hundred posts.
So I did not.
Admittedly in the earlier years I had to read more than a few per month to get what I was looking for. It needed to be something that could stand alone, not everything I write makes sense if you're not following very carefully. It needed to be something I considered well enough written. It needed to be something at least a little bit meaningful and most of all it needed to be something I was still willing to talk about. It isn't that I necessarily wanted to hide anything because I've always written with the understanding that every single post could one day end up on the front page of the New York Times (metaphor, people), it's that there were some things I needed to get off my chest that I didn't necessarily need to keep floating around and there were some things as I worked my way through the more recent years that I'm just flat out unwilling to republish. In a few years I might feel differently about that because four or five years ago I would have been unwilling to publish a damn thing about David but I'm OK with it now.
The hardest part was trying to string together a reasonable representation of my life and what mattered most. That was hard because some things got left out because other things were more important. For example, there is very little about cooking or gardening or chickens in there because as I sifted through the posts written in tandem there were bigger things going on. When I found posts about my children I found them hard to pass up because this is a living document of their lives as well. The growth and development of Lucia and Elizabeth is far more important than what the chickens and the garden meant to me. I have some about Mike but he is not as present in these ten years as the girls, being gone at twenty in April of 2007 and MIA entirely until August of 2009 and then ghost like, in and out for another couple of years.
I didn't expect to get it all done at once. I thought it would take weeks, maybe a few months or maybe I'd never make it past the first few years. What happened was the story line started to decompress and like The Machine coming out of the briefcase, once started, couldn't be stopped. Some months, not too many, but some months had more than one post. A few had three because they strung together and could not be separated. Some months it felt like Lucia was simply tracked and in others it was Elizabeth. As I got closer to the present, or really the line of demarcation between the end of David when I pushed him off so hard it left both of us spinning in space and the beginning of my next long term relationship I had to think really hard about what I wanted to publish. What is really going to matter to me about the two and a half years between January of 2013 and June, 2015? In the long term, really? What is going to matter? I ask this because as all encompassing as that relationship might have felt at the time, swinging me forward and back, spinning until the bottom dropped out and I stuck to the walls wanting to vomit from the g force which went one way and then the other, there were absolutely other things going on in my life. They just weren't as damn traumatic which doesn't mean they didn't carry as much, if not more weight. So those are the things that got published. Those things mattered more than post 1000 where I publicly stated that I was able to love someone again. Whatever. Good for me. I don't need to keep that because I haven't the space in that server rack and also, it isn't something I care to say a second time. I regret not publishing the post titled Emotional Honesty because that was an absolute breakthrough moment but it still evokes feelings which don't deserve airtime and won't deserve airtime until the buttons they push have completely flattened out.
I also notice I published very little about Contra. This bothered me because Contra started well before my last relationship but then I realized I'd published very little about Bikram. There just wasn't any room. I haven't gone back and cataloged what all is in there yet but I expect what I'll find is a representation of the things which are most important to me or the things which have been most significant in the bigger picture.
One thing I do know is I'm damn grateful for this machine and these archives. At $89 per year, which has not changed in ten years (how the hell is that possible?!) what I have is not measurable. If I'd sat down ten years ago with an offline journal I would never have kept it up. I might have made it a month because for me writing into dark space is like talking to a wall, it's pointless.
Writing into the blogosphere without knowing who you're talking to (even when you do) is a way of being heard, by myself, by the universe, and by unknown readers connected by bits and bytes and ones and zeros. If I'd thought about it on January 3, 2007 when I set this thing up this never would have occurred to me. When I moved my three relevant posts from March of 2006 over from Myspace and post dated them I had no idea that having them would matter so much in the continuity of this river of time.
Knitting. Not knitting. Knitting.