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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Internet Legacies

I like the internet. I don't a person currently in existence that doesn't like the internet (minus the people who still believe dial-up is the way to get on it). It's an extremely useful, entertaining and infinite thing. It's also the one place where you can put something and be assured that it'll never go away.

That's why so many people fear what they say on the internet will come back and haunt them. It's why people tell you to be careful what you say on your Facebook page or your Twitter feed or post to your Instagram account ... it's because once it hits the internet, it will remain. Forever. Longer than you or I will ever be a part of this planet.

And that's why I blog. That's why I write. It was pointed out to me some years ago, in my first attempt to edit my first work of fanfiction, that I what I had written before came from a unique viewpoint. A viewpoint of a 19-year-old punk who was cocky and a hopeless romantic. A viewpoint of a person who was dealing with things then that he had no idea how to process ... other than to write it out.

I was told by a friend that I shouldn't take a blow torch to it and completely rewrite it, as I wanted to do. As I still want to do, at least from a technical standpoint. I've learned a lot since I first wrote that story and I would love to rewrite it with all that knowledge at my fingertips ... I could definitely improve it.

But the viewpoint would be completely altered and skewed by that type of editing. There would be no way to preserve it because the way that Zach thought isn't the way I think. We share commonalities, yes, but I've changed a lot since I was that 19-year-old punk. My writing has changed. My perspective has changed.

Which is why I'm not going to take a blowtorch to it and why I blog about all the things I do. My fears. My hopes. My crazy thoughts, my fleeting moments of clarity, my big decisions and my guilt about past actions. All those things, all those thoughts, come from a unique perspective that I likely won't have access to years down the road.

It's my internet legacy and one I hope will help, in some way. Nothing I say here is entirely original and unique, but it's not about being original or unique; it's about telling those who have access to this what I'm feeling, thinking and doing. It's a legacy that's not going to garner any stellar reviews or make me any money.

But I hope it'll help my own kids, assuming I have any, understand what their old man was like.

I don't have an understanding of my parents before they were my parents. I can count maybe a dozen stories between my parents about their lives before they were parents. Before they were married. I know virtually nothing about their formative years in junior high/high school/college/early adulthood. I don't know their struggles. I don't know their successes. I don't know what they were like.

That's a huge blank spot and one I refuse to let my own kids experience. Those years (as I'm discovering in retrospect and at present) are extremely important ... and I have nothing for my parents. It wasn't a subject that every really came up.

It's not a criticism, let me be clear. I know it seems that way and it seems judgmental, but it's not. My parents didn't try their best or did the best they could. They did their best. They gave their best. Period. I don't doubt their intentions or their effort, not for a second.

Let's be honest, for those that know me well enough, I'm not exactly an easy person to get a handle on. I was a tough first child, it wasn't easy for them and the lessons they learned from me have benefited my younger siblings. As it should be.

But, knowing this, I can't in good conscience subject my kids to the same thing. Hence why, when the time arrives where they have questions about certain things, I can give them advice right there in the present. Then I can reach back in time and ask someone closer to their age, someone who was having similar thoughts/feelings/questions ... I can ask me. I can just pull up a blog post and that can be used as a starting off point.

I hold no delusions that my blog, past, present, or future, will have all the answers. Or any answers, but I'm confident that something will ring true for my kids, even if its just a phrase or a sentence. Let's be frank, assuming I'm not some genetic anomaly and a once every seven generations thing, my kids might inherit some of ... well, me.

This is always a tough thing to project when writing children of characters you've written. It's an even tougher thing to project when you're missing the other half of the equation (in this case, the girl for me ... cause at the moment there isn't one, at all). Not only is it tough to project, it's also scary as hell.

Scarier than hell, actually. At least hell is defined vaguely enough to where eternal damnation is a solid bet. My future, non-existent children? There's no solid bets there. I'm not even sure what I am right now, so trying to figure out which bits of me end up in them is ... mind-breaking. Horrifying. Strangely thrilling.

The thrilling thing only because having kids means having the ability to do what I'm good at. Which is be with kids. I'm good with kids, always have been, though I can't tell you why. They seem to like me. A lot. I suppose it's the innocence of youth but I'd like to believe that they're able to see something worth liking. I don't know for sure, it confuses me, but I tend to just roll with it.

My own kids and I would be inseparable I think. I'd get to introduce them to cool stuff (Star Trek, of course) and see if it stuck ... and they'd force me to experience things I otherwise wouldn't and I'd probably end up having a better time than I'd like to admit.

At some point, they'd reach the age where I'd see more of their door than their face in the day (ah, the teenage years) and at that point I'll hope we have enough of an understanding that they'd trust me to talk to me about a few things. I don't expect full disclosure. It'll never happen, it's a parental pipedream and that's okay; people have to grow on their own in some things and sometimes they have to do it the hard way (I'm an example of that, though at this point whether I'm better for it is unknown). But I'd like to be let in on a few things.

I never let my parents in. On anything. I kept it to myself because I felt like I had to ... why would anyone care? I had to change it myself. I had to fix it myself. I had to do it myself. The lie there was that I had to do it myself. I didn't. I had help. It was there and I just stubbornly, pridefully, stupidly ignored it.

That's probably my top fear, or at least in my top five, with my own kids. That they inherit this psychopathic stubbornness I have. I'm hoping it's not a nature thing, that this is just something that was nurtured into me, but I don't think that's the case. I think it's very much part of me and my family. My only hope is that they take after their mother ... maybe her genetics will be stronger than mine.

But I blog for them and for everyone else. For readers present and readers in the future. To help myself and provide some insight. To let let others know what this Zach, in the here and now, feels and thinks. I won't be able to really tell anyone at some point in the future.

But that's why I have the internet. Nothing leaves here.

Thanks for reading folks. God Bless.

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