Monday, January 02, 2012

Honoring the Sleeve-Passions

I once went to a talk by members of the Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre.  One of the actresses was recounting her career path from med school to the stage, noting her parents’ disappointment and eventual acceptance of her choices.  “I think you know what you really want to be when you grow up, when you are a little kid.  At that time in your life, you wear your passions on your sleeve,” she said.

I thought that was a brilliant observation, and I often consider it when making my next move.  And my moves have been sort of disparate, but they still follow a me-specific logic that, I hope,  stays true to those sleeve-passions: journalism, art history, costume design, yoga, more journalism, and, now, biology (in preparation for some sort of teaching/writing).

My mom gave me a priceless gift for Christmas.  It is a neatly-compiled volume of much of the materials of my young writing life, all self-illustrated, self-published, and--as I’m about to relate--self-distributed.  About 1974-78 is represented and all in print from, as this was about two decades before the Internet was introduced.  Three decades before GTTSB went online.

The starring entry from among the Mothers’ Day cards, Narnia-esque stories, and haiku collections is Brenda’s Bugle,  a two-page, monthly newsletter I typed and sent out to various friends and relatives from 1977-78.  The articles range from interviews with my family, crafts fairs at my elementary school, book reviews, to ice cream drink recipes, comics (many lifted straight out of “Wee Pals” and “Archie”), and an obituary for my sister’s gerbil.  I even invited this sister to contribute towards the end of BB’s run...I think because I was running out of ideas to fill the last page.

Of course, the content is hilarious (R.I.P. Sausage, the gerbil), but what kills me is the writer’s voice of the ten-year-old me.  I don’t really sound all that different in tone and I’m really curious what I was modelling myself after:

                               Brenda’s Bugle Vol. 2, No. 5 (March, 1978)

Ah, ink (and White-Out)-stained wretch that I was...yet I hear some of the quality of GTTSB’s conversational tone in these early entries.  

Reading these back issues of BB inspired a resolution to return to the blog and do some none-academic writing this semester.  It’s hard to find the time for anything, but I’ve missed the exercise of working a thought out in print...and, of course, the exchange.  The chance to interact with readers and other writers was tamped down this fall and I’ve missed it  (even the editor of BB had a survey every once and paternal grandfather “loved” the articles, but felt the puzzles were “not for me”; my great aunt “read it from start to finish--enjoying everything in it”).

Maybe this week of reflection and looking forward is a good time to revisit “sleeve-passions.”  Was the young you onto something that the current you has forgotten or ignored?  Or maybe the young you was the inspiration for your present endeavors?  Either way, it makes a good story and I’d love to hear it...

Brenda’s Bugle Vol. 2, No. 7 (May, 1978)


Anonymous said...

Boiling root beer and lemon jello mix? Really?


Eco Yogini said...

oh that is SO MUCH FUN! Love love love it.

definitely hear you on the sleeve passions. I always wanted to be a singer songwriter, but my parents (who love me dearly) actually told me they wouldn't help pay for university in a music degree... sigh.

I've actually made some steps to write and sing more this year- I'm hoping to keep that up!