I have two personalities. Well, not really. But kind-of. (It’s not a medical problem and neither is it unusual for someone to deal with different tasks in totally different almost out-of-character ways.)
There’s the writer. Or the artist, depending on what work I’m doing. But since this series of blog posts will be primarily about writing, let’s call her Writer. Writer is loose, creative, vivid, and passionate. Her experiences are instantly processed into nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and all the rest of those seven things she needs to become Writer. And when Writer works, she rambles. Strings of running sentences. More adverbs than necessary. Thoughts that just jump from one thing or another. And then back, and then another.
And then there’s the editor. (Also known as obsessive-compulsive, clean-freak nurse.) Editor is structured and precise. Everything is planned. And if things don’t go as planned, there’s even a plan for that. Because it has been foreseen two weeks in advance. Editor is great at organizing things and has an eye for detail. She makes sure everything is short and understandable. Editor has one personality kink, though: she’s very temperamental and impatient. She also has a vendetta against run-off sentences.
OK, so the thing with Writer is that it’s best to do it when the images are still fresh and vivid in my mind. Ideally, I’d do it fresh out of the event: About half an hour of typing every single thought that comes to mind or constructing mind maps, and then the spending the next several validating whether what I scribbled was actually true (usually through Google or asking annoying, obvious but necessary questions). After that, it’s the Editor that does the sequencing, the bulking (or the trimming) and then the refinement.
The first part is particularly important because Editor needs something to work with. If i get that right, about 3/4 of the work is done. Buuut sometimes there is just not a lot of material because right after an event, sometimes I’m just really so damn tired that just the thought of picking up my laptop or a pen makes all my muscles hurt. (Usually it’s just the thought that makes all my muscles hurt, but at the time it feels so real that sometimes I just give in and get my 8-hour sleep – or however long the schedule allows.) This makes Editor flare up and get cranky and want to throw stuff.
Sadly, the farther (in terms of both time and location) I get from an event, the less my memory has a grasp on it. And this usually leads to far less material for Writer to spit out for Editor.
It’s been like that since yesterday, when I started to work on a report for the Psychosocial Services we did in Panay and Leyte. Sometimes a mind map or writing something for myself (i.e. a blog post or a personal note) before writing something for others helps. Which was why I meant to write a blog post on the whole activity when I got home. But my memory just won’t take off for some areas. I’m currently working on both a timeline and reviewing photos. But I think it will also help to write about the things that do trigger memories. Over the next few days, I’m going to make this usually sleepy blog alive with memories. It will help, I promise.
One of the things that did trigger memories was the trip back home. So I’ll start with that.