Monday, April 28, 2008

Increments of 12

Another realization that I need to get my ass in gear ...

Today, I recalled a walk I took in Madison 12 years ago. It was our first spring in Madison, I was working extreme mornings while Wife (then, Girlfriend, maybe not yet Fiancee) worked a normal shift, so I had afternoons pretty much to myself. Besides a big park nearby, there was plenty of residential neighborhoods to saunter through. Once it got warmer, I started venturing farther out, and one warm day, I was listening to a particular tape in my Walkman that struck a chord (no pun intended).

During the 1980s, I was fanatical about taping songs off the radio, and in no year was I more fanatical than 1984. That summer, I probably went through about 10 tapes of songs off the radio. On this walk, I was listening to one I hadn't heard in maybe a decade, and the memories were flooding back. Not just from the songs, but the commercials and DJs that I might have accidentally taped, too. I couldn't believe it had already been 12 years since that tape, made when I was 13 and about to enter high school, now in my Walkman as a 25-year-old with a full-time newspaper job. I was inspired -- I wanted to write all about that childhood, as I had wanted to since college. This tape seemed to be the firing point to get me to do that.

This is what occurred to me today -- that moment where I listened to that generic Kmart 90-minute tape on my Walkman through the subdivisions of Madison's far southwest side, was 12 years ago. The same span of time has gone by between the making of the tape and the nostalgic enjoyment of the tape and the nostalgia and today.

I was good about writing, for about two years, but not as proficient as someone with afternoons all to himself should have been. I've been better about writing lately, but not as good as someone staring 40 down and wondering why all those words swirling in my head for years haven't hit paper or Microsoft Word should be.

I'm tempted to pull those old tapes out, but they are so old I'm almost afraid to put them into a Walkman (especially since many weren't brand name tapes, but generic Kmart and Walgreens cassettes). I need to figure out how to convert them into MP3 format so I don't lose them. And I need to figure out how to stay inspired.

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