Once, when we were moving house I was sorting through some old boxes to see whether I still valued these things that I had not managed to unpack from the last time, and which I was now contemplating hauling with me through yet another move, and I came across a whole lot of poetry I had written when I was a teenager. Reading this poetry was a mortifying experience, this was some of the absolute worst poetry I have ever seen. But I could see why I had kept it.
The poems were such an immediate marker for me, in a way nothing else has managed to be, in reminding me who I was back then and exactly what kind of emotions and thoughts I was having. They took me straight back to a place I had inhabited that was otherwise impossible to really locate – that my photographs couldn’t reach, that music, films and books from that time could not – and it was a fairly self-pitying, maudlin, navel-gazing kind of place, but it was me as a teenager and it was secret and truthful.
There is only one problem with keeping these poems and that is that others may find them.
My biggest fear is that someone will find them after I have died and wrongly assume that I kept my poetry because I was so proud of it. They may even then decide that a fitting tribute would be to read these poems at my funeral. I picture everyone then, at my funeral, listening to this dreadful poetry and wincing at how bad it all is and wincing again at how oblivious I must have been to just how bad it all was. I have begged Bill to find these poems and destroy them when I die but I have pretty much zero confidence in him, he can’t remember to turn off light switches let alone remember poems at the bottom of a box somewhere.
All of this is to say that I have recently been asked by the National Library of Australia to let my blog be part of their Pandora Archive, an acronym that encapsulates their mission of “Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia”. And I said yes, because I am totally flattered and really proud to be a part of this special project in recording Australian history, but I realise that this also means that people will always be able to read some of the really crappy writing here, too. Some of the early stuff, particularly, was a bit rough and ready and was written before I had developed my blogging voice, and some other stuff was written in between feeding babies and arguing with my partner and wasn’t all that polished, and quite a few posts were written on things about which I have since changed my mind … and well, whomever is reading this a long time from now, please know that I know that some of this is badly written and that I kept it anyway, because it is a marker, it was me, secret and truthful.