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#30: March 26, 2003
I’ve referenced Richie numerous times the past year. His birthday was March 26.
I liked my entry from this date for its imagery, especially its focus on sight. Growing up, you picture how things might be, but fate takes away that vision, blinds you. The imagery of “veils of tears” and “blurry . . . snapshots” references our tendency to exaggerate memories, to make people who’ve died better than they were. You shake away bad memories and memorialize the good. It’s only after you’ve truly confronted your feelings/memories that maybe just maybe you can see truth.
#29: January 13, 2003
People think I’m an extrovert because of how outgoing I can be. But I’m actually an introvert. Depression mostly strikes introverts because introverts seclude grief within themselves until their whirlpool of misery pulls them downward.
I liked my entry from this date because it was the first time I publicly admitted my battle with severe depression. I masked my depression so well, my roommates didn’t know how often I contemplated suicide. I liked my imagery of sleepiness; how it expressed the yearning to give into infinite darkness; how happiness (delusionally) seemed just beyond that eternal void.
#28: March 30, 2003
All of the entries this month have some combination of being the best-written of my stuff and/or packing an emotional punch, i.e. the entry makes me want to cry even after the 50th reading of it.
I chose my entry from this date more for its emotional core than for its prose. This date was exactly a year after my wife had a miscarriage. Even though we ended up having another child – and Zachary is everything I could have ever hoped for in a baby – I’ll never forget the one whom I loved for six weeks.
#27: November 9-10, 2002
Sometimes writers find themselves on a roll. Like an avalanche, the words flow from some place inside, a fountain they cannot control. They write, themselves not knowing where the piece will take them. I chose my entry from these dates for this very reason. I wrote intending to create something kid-friendly I could read to my son and daughter. Instead, the “what ifs” began tugging at my heart, ending the piece with a verse that wrenches my heart every time I read it.
The answer to all of the poem’s questions, by the way, is yes.
#26: April 1-2, 2003
I hated my mother growing up. It pains me to admit that, but without rose-coloring the past, I really did wish I had a different mother. The reason we didn’t get along is clear: I am my mother. Not in the Norman Bates way, but in the sense that our personalities are the same: stubborn, quick-to-anger, impatient.
I like my entries from these dates because they express what I’ve come to realize. Whereas my stubbornness, anger, and impatience were all selfish, my mother’s was borne from her love for us, for me.
I love you, mom.
#25: June 28, 2003
I love my entry from this date because my son Zachary is truly “remembered by God”. He’s only 4 months, yet he’s already been through a lot. During the spring of 2002, my wife and I decided to have another child. In March, we were ecstatic when she became pregnant. We were shattered six weeks later when she miscarried. In June, she became pregnant again, but when she began bleeding heavily six weeks later, we braced ourselves for another heartbreak. Only this time, my scrappy little boy held on with the strength of all our love.
#24: January 19, 2003
Fatherhood has profoundly affected the way I think, especially how I view my parents. I understand now, and better see their desire to ensure our lives are better than their own. My entry from this date was bred of my seeing my mother as a person instead of this imposing authority figure, seeing her as a little girl with her own fantasies and hopes and ideals. It makes me smile when those fantasies – such as flying to London where the streets are paved with dreams-come-true – emerge and reveal that underlying person, hidden to us as children.
#23: June 29, 2003
I chose this entry because it discusses my favorite thing to do. People without kids don’t understand how beautiful sleeping children are. They think they’re cute, might even watch them sleep for a few minutes, but they couldn’t stand at the foot of a toddler’s bed, or by the side of an infant’s crib and think to themselves that of every activity in the world, no matter how tiring taking care of children has been all day, that standing there watching them sleep, this activity, yes, this one, they could do this all day, all day.
#22: August 30, 2002
Sometimes I feel as if I‘ve spent more time writing about my children than I have about my wife. Or I’ll feel that the entries about my wife are more about the difficult times we’ve had rather than the good times. If either of these is true, I have grossly misrepresented my heart because there’s no one I love more truly than I do my wife. Not a soul. That’s why I like my entry from this date – because all of my efforts to describe the depths of my feelings for her ultimately fall clumsily short.
#21: February 11, 2003
In quantity and quality, February was my best month of entries. It has more top 30 selections than any other month. I liked this entry for several reasons. First, I liked the subject matter. My wife and I honeymooned on the Oregon coast, and this entry smilingly reminds me of that week. Second, I like the rhythm of the words, how they run together, and though there are four periods, it feels like one long sentence. Lastly, I like the captured “time” of the piece – this one moment, this marriage, coiled before a stoplight and released.
#20: September 21, 2002
I’m a hopeless romantic, and I’m comfortable enough in my masculinity to admit that. I like remembering anniversaries, buying Valentine’s gifts, and sharing my feelings. And I love writing about how much I adore my wife.
I like my entry from this date for its tone. The phrase “some kind of wonderful” was frolicking in my head, and combine frolicking phrase with thoughts about my wife, and out comes 100 words. I like how this entry grabs logical reasoning and transforms it into mushy poetry, how the mind always takes a back seat to the heart.
#19: February 8, 2003
I’m the type who has to be prepared. If we’re going on a trip, it needs to be completely planned. If we’re going shopping, we need a list. And if I’m going to face hearbreak, I’d prefer to know as well in advance as possible. Maybe this is why though my daughter is not yet three, I’m already dreading the day she grows up and leaves my fatherly embrace. I like my entry from this date because it captures this dread of impending loss. Preparation makes no difference; the heartbreak will crush me all the same.
#18: August 7, 2002
My entry from this date changed the way I viewed these daily 100 words. My first five days read like a diary – musings on whatever thought appeared. August 6th was a throwaway day. But August 7th was different. As I left for work that morning, the sight of my wife sleeping paralyzed me, made me want to quit my job and stand there and stare. It inspired this piece. From then on, I knew these 100 words could be used not just as a diary, but as a record of times whenever beauty stopped my heart.
#17: August 14, 2002
Awakened by my entry from August 7th, I decided to test the limits of my creativity by trying my hand at poetry. I’m not a natural poet, so my poems usually stink. They often come off as too contrived. I like my entry from this day more for it being my first poem rather than for its technical skill or quality.
I also like its use of symbols: blurred colors representing moral ambiguity and frigid ocean representing struggle against sin. The distance between the filth of sin and holy purity is the width of a cross.
#16: February 2, 2003
Some entries simply connect with readers better than others. They might not be the best-written or the most creative, but they’ve captured some kernel of emotion, and the reader instantly reacts. I chose my entry from this date for this reason. This entry about my dad and my daughter generated more comments than almost any other piece of the past year. I like the entry, but there are others in the same month I like better. There must be something universal about aging parents, toothless smiles, and timeless love that bites readers and doesn’t let go.
#15: September 10-11, 2002
No one needs to explain “September 11th” to add meaning to the date. I chose my entries from these dates for their historical significance. As someone in the city on September 11, 2001, I chose these entries for their personal significance. As a writer, I like both pieces for their creativity. I like the discussion of time, and the wordplay between tomorrow, today, and yesterday from the 10th. I love the picture of a weeping deity from my entry on the 11th.
If a writer writes a significant piece, and no one else cares, then what?
#14: February 25, 2003
In some ways, I enjoyed my wedding rehearsal more than I did the actual wedding. The wedding was nerve-wracking and tense and overwhelming, my heart catching in my throat at the sight of my wife in white. At our rehearsal, we were dressed casually, and standing before the altar, holding hands before friends and family, it was fun and lighthearted and I was in love.
I also like my entry from this date for its pacing and rhythm, how it runs together and races like my heart did at that moment, hands held forever before God.
#13: April 7-8, 2003
I hear voices – all the time. I used to think I was schizophrenic, but now I believe I simply have a bad habit of talking to myself. My memory, good for memorizing plays, is terrible for self-talking. I spend half my mind replaying events of my past better left unremembered. This bad habit is the basis for my entries from these dates. I like my poem because of its imagery of insanity likened to being chased by shadows, of running from your problems/shadows, or confronting them, chasing shadows. What you cannot grasp can still be beaten.
#12: October 1, 2002
I love my poem from this date for its rhythm, structure, and theme. Rhythmwise, I like the internal rhyming (fly-by, when-hem, etc.). Structurewise, I like the two stanzas followed by a third incorporating previously-used verbs. Themewise, the poem is about how I chased my wife for three years, believing if I could simply say the right words, she’d fall in love with me. It took me a year and a half of heartbreak to realize she loved me already – her running away was more a matter of God’s timing. You can’t catch a perfect dream alone.
#11: February 18, 2003
I knew Lori about as long as I knew Richie. In many ways, she was a closer friend. She committed suicide on July 27, 1993 – 103 days after Richie passed away. Her death hurt me more personally than his, simply because hers was voluntary. I love my entry from this date for its description of how I like to picture her last day – full of something I eternally wish for her: peace. There’s also one line that kills me every time I read it – how I imagine she thought of me for one more loving moment.
#10: June 9, 2003
Today marks our entrance into my top ten favorite pieces. The #10 entry barely beat out #11– a tough decision considering they’re both about Lori. A month before she took her own life, she sent me the cross necklace which I had bought her on her 15th birthday. In some Christian denominations, suicide affects one’s salvation. Biased as I am, I have no trouble believing God has forgiven her – of everything – and that a returned cross is not a symbol of lost faith, but a symbol of a promise of eternal friendship not of this world.
#9: February 23, 2003
Parents always hope that their children will grow up to love each another. But the first few years are always unknown. My daughter was perfect her first two years: sweet, kind, obedient. The last thing we wanted was to have another child whose presence somehow disrupted her, jealousy driving her in a polar direction. Instead what we got was instant love, the inspiration for my piece from this date. I love its title, leading unknowing readers into momentarily thinking the piece to be about something other than what it is: siblings and love at first sight.
#8: January 25/March 20, 2003
I chose my poems from these dates completely for their form. You know you’ve done something right when the lines flow instantly from your hands without a struggle to find the proper words. These poems required almost no editing from my part, and fit 100 words as if they were destined to do just that. I like both of their internal rhyming schemes. The subject matter has been discussed in various forms on various dates (times of struggle between my wife and me during college), but none as beautifully to me as in paired poetry.
#7: March 16, 2003
Every writer has a muse. For me, it’s my wife. I’d never been creative until I fell in love with her our senior year. It was spring of 1992, and during the months after I fell in love, I wrote her two sonnets, dozens of poems, and reams of mushy sap. Of everything I’ve written to her, my entry from this date is my favorite. Beneath the kites of Lincoln City, Oregon on our honeymoon, I looked into her eyes, bit into my salad, and realized my life was about to begin – and it was perfect.
#6: September 7, 2003
My entry from this date is about my wife, and my love for her. The focus of this entry is about how she (and her love for me) turns every one of my senses on its ear -- whispers you can see, smells you can hear, and sounds you can taste. The imagery used throughout the piece are allusions to favorite moments we’ve shared: my calling her a gypsy in high school, our camping trip together our first year of marriage, our honeymoon in Oregon.
She walks within my heart and I taste her snow-white footfalls.
#5: April 15-16, 2003
I like my entries from these dates for obvious reasons. Here’s proof of Einstein’s theory of relativity: there are days the hurt is so fresh, I can’t believe a whole decade has passed; and there are days when the voices in my head toll another day (in the thousands now), and I feel as if I’ve been counting passing days for as long as I’ve been alive.
This entry hits me more personally than just about every other entry I’ve written this year. I can’t read through it without tearing up, relativity dissolving beneath prematurely-ended love.
#4: February 4, 2003
My absolute favorite photo is a black and white of my wife holding our daughter for the first time, five hours after her caesarean. It is the inspiration for my entry from this date, and really the reason February was written as descriptions of photos.
My wife is stunningly beautiful, and I remember every time I’ve looked at her and had my being paralyzed in breathstopping wonder: Senior Prom, in wedding whites, beneath honeymoon clouds. But all of them pale in effervescent beauty to this one instant where all the universe stopped and watched, and stared.
#3: August 25-27, 2003
I love my entries from these dates because they are absolutely my best-written pieces. The entire poem was a tribute to Lewis Carroll (hence the Looking Glass reference), and to Edward Lear (hence the hidden verses in italics). The poem is an allegory about my struggle either to pursue a new career or to stick with my current job. The individual allusions and symbolism would take 10,000 words. But the gist of the poem boils down to the last verse where I concede that my decision was easy because I was resting in God’s hands, always.
#2: January 30, 2003
I have nightmares on a fairly consistent basis, ones where I wake up screaming. I’ve dreamt I’ve been shot, had my throat slit, fallen off a cliff, etc. None of these nightmares, however, match the intensity of my worst nightmare – of seeing Richie so close, but completely untouchable. These dreams wake me up crying not screaming. My entry from this date was inspired by one such heartcrushingly real episode.
I like the imagery of this entry – of “sunshine in a jar”, the unattainable light of ended friendship, and the nightmarish shadow of neverending love ever searching.
#1: October 22, 2003
My daughter has more power over the intensity of my emotions than everyone – even my wife and son – because of the bond between father and daughter, the need to protect daddy’s little girl, the dread of her future marriage. My favorite entry is from this date, a poem to Angie that brings me to tears every time. It’s about how I’ve always been cautious with my emotions, afraid of being hurt. But the second I saw her, my desire to protect myself transformed into a desire to protect her, the risk of self-hurt overwhelmed by love.
Is completion always accompanied by sadness, or is that just my unique phenomenon? Finishing tasks and responsibilities feels good: a sense of personal triumph, the ability to move on to something new, relief over goals accomplished. But isn’t it also tinged with melancholy: a challenge no longer before you, a desire to be doing again what you’d been successfully doing before, nostalgia over what was and won’t be again?
I’m delighted that my year of 100 words is over. These words are my children and they’re already off to school.
Goodbye, all. See you in November at
, Lord willing.
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