MONDAY, 16 JANUARY 2017
Going through a few pieces from ‘99 and 2000, a theme takes shape: I was an ordinary man who just wanted to get married, hold a regular job, buy a house and raise children, but then something scrambled my programming. Since that time, I was lost and confused and unsure of what to do with my existence. I was between a rock and a hard place, as I explained: I wanted everything and I wanted to do everything, and I knew very well I could end up with nothing.
Personal Agenda is no longer “My collection of writing” that has to include every piece of text I had considered good enough to show other people at one point or another. There is text in the original Personal Agenda that I do want to publish, like “Thirteen minutes on a Saturday night”, but I also reckon Personal Agenda has a broad theme, right? (I especially realised this when I read the “Preface to the complete project”.)
To put it differently, there are pieces that are currently part of Personal Agenda. These pieces are only part of the project because they were written between January 1999 and February 2004, because I thought at some point they were good enough to show other people, and because I only had one book project at that stage (namely, Personal Agenda) it made sense that all the pieces should be included in that project.
Fact is, I have since developed two internet properties with hundreds of pieces of content on each site. If I wrote something in 2000 or 2002 that I would like to share with other people, it no longer needs to be part of Personal Agenda for me to do that.
TUESDAY, 17 JANUARY 2017
Personal Agenda is about certain issues: to be alone; self-imposed exile (why? where? how long?); identity; family and friends and life partner; language and culture as part of a theme about place and belonging; experiencing meaning in life; understanding life well enough to be able to function outside a mental institution (including dealing with the religious beliefs with which you grew up, either incorporating them into your worldview as an adult, or rejecting them; if the latter, why?); creative ambition (in my case writing) as something that gives value to your life, something that gives you a sense that you are doing something with your existence that is appropriate considering what magnificent animal you are. It then follows that only pieces dealing with these issues should be included in Personal Agenda.
A new day has brought clarity: Personal Agenda is indeed “My collection of writing” of the period February 1999 to February 2004. Certain themes do stand out as mentioned in this note last night, but in the first place it was and still remains my collection of writing from that period, just like Post Untitled, volume one is my collection of writing from March to December 2004, Post Untitled, volume two is my collection of writing from 2005, and so on. To take out certain pieces because they do not touch on particular themes is to say the book was planned and written with those themes in mind. It was not. I just wrote whatever I felt like writing. Only later did I start collecting all the pieces.
Bottom-line: In 1994, I started taking notes on topics that interested me. In 2003, I started bundling together notes in a single project, and continued writing. Then I conjured up a title. I cannot now look at the title and say, “Wait a minute, this title seems to indicate that the book is about certain themes, and these 12 or 34 pieces aren’t about those themes, so they’re out.” Each compilation, starting from Where you are nobody to the collection that will contain the 2017 material is a collection of my writing – in the first place of a particular time period, and then if you look closely you can identify specific themes. BrandSmit.NET and Assorted Notes are just new platforms where I can share what I have written. The material, as I wrote it, remains my writing from a particular time.