What does it say about me that I read something I wrote twenty years ago

What does it say about me that I read something I wrote twenty years ago and found it both hilarious and completely disgusting? I remember grossing out my friend K with the story, and he was someone who was hard to one up when it came to irreverence and disgusting literature. I didn’t have the balls back then to turn it in as a short story for a creative writing class, and I’m not sure I will have the balls to post it on my main blog as I go back in time and try to post almost everything I’ve written in one place. I suppose that now, it’s not so much about having the balls or not, but about shaming my son–I’d hate for him to walk through life under the shadow of a dad with a reputation for having once attempted to write in the splatterpunk genre.

Reading what I wrote ten years ago, I have a different sort of response–I was whiny and full of myself and paralyzed from getting out of so many mucky holes I’d dug for myself financially, relationship-wise, career-wise, etc. You might not have gotten the impression I would ever amount to anything at all, having read some of this stuff.

The silver lining in all of it is that there is proof that people can change throughout their adult lives, even after they’ve stopped growing physically and educationally, and their careers are more or less incrementally improving. People can change no matter what is said about their personality traits or so-called ingrained characteristics. People do change in spite of themselves, sometimes, not because of any dedicated effort on their parts.

I suppose after I am long dead and gone, it will hardly matter what of my writing gets published, but I am somewhat apprehensive that the representative sample will be skewed to something salacious, titillating or downright offensive to almost anyone who reads it–something I wrote at the age of 20 with the sole purpose of hoping to offend everyone, including my unflappable best friend.

Of course, I could delete it. I’ve tried to delete every instance of one particular story, but I’d apparently embedded it in a massive file that had a collection of all my unfinished short stories, and that file has continually been copied over and over again each time I back things up.

On the other hand, I could optimistically hope for a future generation of humanity that is more forgiving than this one is. People screw up, make mistakes, say stupid things when they are young and many times when they are not-so-young, and these things aren’t necessarily reflective of their core character. Sometimes they probably are, as in the case of a repeat offender–but, not always. Then again, the only real forgiveness that will matter comes from above.

Sure, I could just go through all copies of stuff I wrote in the late 90s, and delete it all. I mean, it’s not like anyone at this point cares who I am or what I’ve written. Or, I could just let Fate take it where it will after I’ve died.

It remains to be determined what will happen.

One thought on “What does it say about me that I read something I wrote twenty years ago

  1. George Bernard Shaw said, Throw away nothing. He’s right. Oddly enough, you likely have stories and characters to present to the world. It does not matter whether the work is immature. That can be fixed. But you’ll learn something about writing. If the works are period pieces (of the 1990s, or 2000s) you will want to leave those assumptions, facts and observations in tact: I assume you wrote the truth – that’s how someone around you was thinking. Is it important to memorialize?
    I know this because I just typed a manuscript I wrote about beach communities in 1989-90. It was set in the middle of the 1980s. I wouldn’t change a word of that, but I’d correct the grammar, spelling and tell of the characters and what they are doing more completely, in order to perfect the communication.

    Liked by 1 person

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