2012 Unblogged as a category is not subtraction like unplugging a lamp or phone, nor is it deleting—I am not taking away but adding. You might ask, why return to 2012, we’re finished with that year, the shopping sprees; holiday extravagances vanished over the New Year’s waterfall.
But I’m not quite done, not ready to let 2012 slide into the morass of years past; I think maybe, rereading my journals, I might have missed something—let a good moment slip out of my grasp, like walking along Bend’s Galveston Avenue last spring. My purpose: a haircut but I had been blogging (and thinking) about smells and scents and where you encounter them and, fleeting as they might be, how to document them. My walk on a sidewalk, crossing side streets—Fourteenth, Thirteenth, Twelfth, Federal—was completely linear and yet contextually was more like a droplet sizzling on a hot skillet. A moment vanishing. Me walking and breathing.
April 18 2012
Smells along Galveston Avenue, Bend, Oregon:
10:58:59 Ponderosa Pine pitch
11:02:28 Burned tacos
12:00:44 Hamburgers near Ten Barrels brew pub
12:01:23 Rabbit dung
12:04:21 By the 7-11 smell like sugar syrup or cotton candy
12:06:03 Auto exhaust/hydrocarbons burgers chicken dung
12:07:40 Burgers/blue-and-green food trailer “crazy delicious”
12:11:38 Tacos cooking
12:11:53 Breeze from the west
12:13:07 Grill smell grease and smoke
12:21:49 Ponderosa Pine pitch
A feature of electronic note taking is that the time is recorded, giving the appearance of precision and yet a map would show scents as regions except with shifting borders so sometimes burgers nudge into tacos, other times curry is its own country.
Each scent might be the jumping off point into the non-linear web of memories or other connections—themes, perhaps—like John McPhee wrote of in a recent New Yorker article:
“After ten years of [writing chronologically] at Time and The New Yorker, I felt both rutted and frustrated by always knuckling under to the sweep of chronology, and I longed for a thematically dominated structure.” (John McPhee, “Structure,” The New Yorker, 1/14/2013 [46-55].)
In many ways a blog solves this problem, presenting a collection of ideas that can then be called up by category, skipping entire months, offering collections of what interested the blogger at certain moments, and what they revisit, maybe with new insights, a year later.