A rambling rumination to illustrate aaaaaaaaaa
Revisiting my shoetube.tv blog post for the illustration of aaaaaaaaa, I noticed that it was written exactly five years before the date of the Boston Marathon bombing which made me feel queasy. As I sat with that queasiness, I discovered the entry aaaaaaaaaa. Because of some questions that arose about how I developed this dictionary during a recent interview with Melanie Brooks, author of Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma, I decided that this might be a useful way to unravel my process. So what follows is the bumpy journey to figuring out that aaaaaaaaaa was worthy of inclusion.
Having just been to the fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing to record the illustration for aaaaaaa, I was unnerved by the temporal symmetry. A decade ago, elements in my post felt like concrete constants in the equation of my life and I did not feel the clock ticking down on that certainty. (Do other people feel this way postaaaaaa? I get terrified that itemizing out all these entries could seem self indulgent or wallowing needlessly in pain. (Would identifying this idea be relevant to others who are grappling with tragedy? Would it make them feel less crazy or alone?))
When my parents used to ask me about what I wanted to accomplish in five years, I never guessed how much potential for change existed within that unit of time. During the years between Lizzie’s Disney Marathon and terrorism altering the course of the Boston Marathon, I could hardly process all the new algorithms of my reality. Most of my concrete constants had been revealed to be dependent variables. For example, just one death transformed my sweet rocketship building nephew into a semiaaaaaaaaa, Lizzie into a widow, and me into aaaaaaaaa. And really all the aforementioned redefining of identities happened in an instant not over five years. (Are these details useful then for helping us to reimagine how we want to live the rest of our lives? Do they teach us something…even if it is just to be more mindful of small choices that we make?)
A Prayer for Owen Meany has been hanging out in the Clary and Cimermanis Little Free library for almost a year. It is one of my favorite books and it reminds me of my mom so I decided to snag it one day to look for more evidence of negative space entries. Rereading chapters at random, I stumbled onto Owen talking about “THINGS THAT GIVE YOU THE SHIVERS.” (Ok, so this is a literary reference to what I experienced when I first noticed this aaaaaaaaaa in the shoetube post .Would this be enough to sway the editors at the Oxford English Dictionary? Well, probably not but it is enough for me.)