It was a surprise to hear from her, but it was an even bigger surprise to find out why she was calling. An old girlfriend was looking for a recording of an interview I did about six years ago with KFAR radio in Anchorage, Alaska. I didn’t know she had even known of the interview.
I started searching through my archives Saturday afternoon, but the search for the interview turned into a survey of hundreds of other things I’ve written and recorded over the last eight years. I was uneasy with how much I hated most of the older material and I was surprised at how dramatic the shift in tone and emotion had been for my work.
From this perspective, I see something much different in my work over eight years. I see what I’ve written and spoken as a vivid record of a struggle for me to become a different person, as though I knew I was changing but was both impatient and agitated about where I was going. Seeing this clearly made me feel very vulnerable.
When I contacted my ex this evening to say that I couldn’t find the recording she wanted, I mentioned what it had felt like to see my changes through the old work.
“I always thought you were going to change the world,” she wrote in her reply. “What you’re writing now is closer to what I thought you would be than anything you had done before. Every great man goes through a dark night when he’s trying to figure out his purpose, but you feel like you’re about to explode to fame, because you’ve found your voice. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for me to be there when it happens, because you’re quite addictive.”