Two-track writing

When writing about an experience or event in my diary, I sometimes write about it twice, so there is one version from an objectively descriptive (outward-oriented) perspective, and one version from a personal, introspective perspective.

Analogy: an experience has many layers, that can be explored separately – just like musical tracks in a music editor

First, I describe what I observed around me: who was there (full names if I know) and how they were connected, where it was (address, ambient snapshots), what happened, content notes, people behaviours and known agendas, what people said, and professional jargon and concepts. Everything I observed in as much detail as I can recall. These notes can be useful later on, so I carefully tag them and make them easy to find & navigate later for future reference.

When I’m done, I’ll write through the experience again, but this time I get personal. Typically, I was struggling with the breaks – background noise, confusion and social fluff, and was increasingly exhausted and perhaps depressed. Sensations, moods, and social speculations (What is happening? What do they mean? What am I supposed to do/know now?) always take up a lot of “mindspace” and can be overwhelming, and sometimes the stress about it causes physical illness. Also typically, some things went well – it is important to notice & celebrate & build on the good things.

Verbalising the mental perspective is therapeutic for me. It helps me to recover from feeling like a failure/weirdo, notice & remember small successes, and helps tidy up what might at first seem like meaningless chaos. By sorting through difficult feelings and social confusion, I draw some conclusions and can better let go of the recent past and move on to the present, instead of speculating relentlessly.

I’m unlikely to read it later. There is heaps just like it already (different settings, same issues), and the benefit of writing about it in my diary is mainly that the process of putting experiences into words and down on paper, gets them out of my mind. It doesn’t mean I forget them, it means they settle down on appropriate mental shelves, and stop looping frantically around in the forefront of my mind.

Two blogs

I have two blogs, none of which is active (perfect strategy, I know). This one is my old personal blog, which evolves around my life with Asperger’s syndrome/autism (also before it was labelled)…. The kind of things I would like people to understand about me, but which are generally not suitable topics for real life conversations, because these would become excruciatingly long and too personal for anyone’s liking.

The other & newer blog is Canine Saga, which I use as my online identity platform for animal-related social media participation on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and so on. If we for a moment pretend that it is meant to be a real blog with content, then the core topic is dogs and aspects of dog culture (people-cultures around dog activities, pet owners etc) – observations and opinions inspired by my dabblings into worlds of dog activities alongside my dog trainer education.

It is empty, but since I write diary (about) every day and have done it for years, I could pull content from my diaries about relevant experiences such as animal training workshops, trying different dog sports, dog show visits, and currently canine SAR training (albeit not as a dog handler), and rewrite content for the Canine Saga blog. Then if I wanted to, where an entry has two versions I could rewrite the inside perspective for this blog. One event described from two perspectives on two blogs, for two audiences (dog/animal behaviour people, and aspies/auties… although there could be overlap). It seems like a good idea at this time.

However, it probably won’t happen. My mind’s burgeoning backlog of ideas and plans that are never carried out (“yet”) keeps growing over time. Also, there are much more urgent tasks on the agenda that are also not happening. In fact, writing this post is an act of procrastination, since I have a shockingly overdue video assignment starring right at me, from a mountain of mostly so-so video clips that I need to revise down from hours to less than 7 minutes in order to submit a video journal for a training process (hopefully I won’t need to record new footage and accumulate even more clips). Then, there is one more video of same type, with a different animal, also overdue. There are other projects and tasks looming too. So I better go.

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