I wrote my first real blog post on January 17, 2003. I set up my own pages, linked to new ones every few entries, and at first asked for email replies. A few months later I got a tag board, and a few friends and I would leave each other messages on it. That was really fun. Actually, I'd started doing a sort of online journal the year before at LiveJournal, but never got into it the same way.
Today I was reading through old entries from 2003-2006, and feeling so incredibly old. I went from just using Dreamweaver to Blogger to Vox to here, and in between I had a photo blog at WordPress, and messed around with just about every other free blogging platform. I love my Tumblr page, though haven't been able to do much with it this month.
But I most miss my original pages. They weren't reproducible at Blogger, but became too cumbersome as the web changed and blogging changed, after the first year or two. So the words remain, but the cheery colors and design are gone forever.
None of that is the point. The point is that I've changed dreadfully. I'm such an old sad person compared to the seemingly eternally optimistic young person I was at 37 or 38. Even though life wasn't all that terrific then, it always seemed on the verge of breaking open and breaking free. But it never did. And so, it became more and more difficult to sustain the floating happy bubble that carried me through all the worries, changes, uncertainty. There's no bubble anymore.
In some ways, I like myself better now. But the me of eight years ago wouldn't. It's a funny thing.
That summer I posted a poem by Pushkin, just after I turned 38, which is the age he was when he died of a pointless duel wound. I'm going to repost it here, plus a completely different translation of it. I don't know the literary story behind the two translations. I very much prefer the former, in terms of poetry...
Elegy, by Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin 1799-1837
Of my mad years the vanished mirth and laughter
Affect me like a fume-filled morning-after.
Not so past pain – like wine is it to me
That as the years go by gains potency.
Sad is the path before me: toil and sorrow
Lie on the restless seaways of the morrow.
And yet from thought of death, my friends, I shrink;
I want to live – to suffer and to think,
And amid care and grief and tribulation,
Taste of sweet rapture and exhilaration;
Be drunk with harmony; touch fancy's strings
And freely weep o'er its imaginings…
And love's last flash, its smile of farewell tender
My sad decline may yet less mournful render. 1830
The vanished joy of my crazy years
Is as heavy as gloomy hang-over.
But, like wine, the sorrow of past days
Is stronger with time.
My path is sad. The waving sea of the future
Promises me only toil and sorrow.
But, O my friends, I do not wish to die,
I want to live – to think and suffer.
I know, I’ll have some pleasures
Among woes, cares and troubles.
Sometimes I’ll be drunk with harmony again,
Or will weep over my visions,
And it’s possible, at my sorrowful decline,
Love will flash with a parting smile.
But the latter suits my nature a bit better just at the moment.
Perhaps this does as well, but that's no different than before...
Still, the rest of me remains about as shallow as ever. Joe Cotten looked really swell in his naval uniform in Since You Went Away, which was on TV earlier, and which I never miss.