I'm still sorting through boxes in the garage (I'm almost through all of them, but of course there are, like, 700 boxes because I've never thrown anything away in my entire life, so that's why it's taking me forever) and one of the boxes I went through tonight had my high school diary in it. I don't know if anyone else is gonna find this thing funny, but as I read through the book tonight I was in pain from laughing so goddamned much. Like, my stomach physically hurts. This diary is from when I was seventeen and you can tell that I thought I was SO WORLDLY, but the entire book is so sweet and naive I can't stand it. I can tell from the way I worded things that I was writing for an audience--I remember thinking that someday I would become famous and then I would die and then people would scour through all of my diaries to learn more about me (and, of course, use my diaries as source material for my future biographies) and I remember writing my diary FOR THOSE PEOPLE. The people who were gonna study me after my death.
My diary's first entry is sorta like a prologue:
APRIL 18, 1994:
It's Monday. This book was a Christmas present. I'm going to use it as a journal, to express my thoughts, jot down ideas, write down significant instances, memories, or whatever comes to my head. I'm sleeping on the couch bed tonight. We have guests from France, Gaby and Frederick. They're very nice people and I'm getting a chance to practice my French. I'm doing better than I thought I would.
I would love to go to France. I want to go everywhere, see everything. I want to go back to New York. That's a story that I'll save for a later time.
I got my driver's liscence (sic) about 12 days ago. It feels great to get in the car on my own and drive. I'd love to be able to just drive anywhere, and to find someplace new. Just to see as much as possible.
Okay, that was the first entry. I was older than all of the other kids in my class (because I took kindergarten twice), but reading through this diary makes me feel like I was a young 17. So bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and innocent. I'm going to transcribe one more entry (entry #2) and then it's time for bed. (The weird thing about this next entry is that I was talking to my friend Mandy the other day and she mentioned that she was about to drive through Pennsylvania and then we started talking about the Amish and I totally told her the story that I tell in this diary entry. Like, I literally JUST told this story because this moment with this Amish girl was so vivid that it's stuck with me all of these years.) (Oh, and the other thing I love about this next entry is how full of myself I am--for instance, when I'm suddenly like "hello, world, let me tell you why eye contact is important," you can practically smell how profound I thought I was being.)
JULY 14, 1994:
It's summer. I'm at my Dad's house until school starts, which is great because I don't get to see them as often as I'd like to during the school year. I get so busy that I hardly see them at all. I love them a lot. My brothers are great. Josh saw some butterflies mating and he told Patty: "Mom, they're having the S word." He's taking an acting class and they're having a recital tomorrow. It's exciting to see him get into acting because I was his main influence to try it. It feels nice to have someone look up to you. Emulation is great. Matt is into sports, which isn't exactly my forte. He wears is heart on his shoulder and he is really sweet. He's a good kid and I hope that none of that "middle child" stuff gets in the way of him doing what he wants. Then there's Mike, who's the cutest kid you ever set eyes on. He's so cute that he gets away with murder.
Me? I'm the fourth brother, the oldest brother, I want to be a writer, I want to be an actor. I would lie if I said I didn't strive for fame and fortune. I do. Sometimes I'll stay up late at night thinking up my Oscar or Tony acceptance speech (sometimes for writing, sometimes for acting, sometimes for even both!) I want to do it all. One of my major goals in life: To see almost every country in the world. (Adult Erik's note: I like how I said I wanted to see "almost" every country, like, I know I'm never gonna see EVERY one, so let's make a reasonable goal here.) I want to experience every culture, every language there is to experience.
In our "travels," my mom, Joe, and I saw an Amish Community. It was wonderful, free. They don't have any technological interferences that intrude on our lives. Their lives are so simple. I envy them, but realistically I know that I would die without what I have. I would enjoy the simple life for a while and then I would want more. When we were driving through this Amish Community, we drove by this Amish horse-driven carraige. There was this beautiful young Amish girl with her mother, she looked to be about my age. The two of us made eye-contact, and as we passed our eyes remained locked. We both turned around and watched each other disappear, going to separate worlds. I saw in her eyes a longing for more. I could tell that she felt trapped. I wanted to turn around and go rescue her. But I couldn't. Call me sentimental, but the picture of that Amish girl--that beautiful, young Amish girl, is still freash in my mind. Our eyes are forever interlocked, looking deep into each other, wanting what the other has. I would love to speak to her, but I feel as if I already know her, just from that look.
(Oh my god, this is soooooo painful, but it gets worse: here's the part where I go off on the importance of eye contact.)
Eye contact is extremely important to human connection. (See, I told you I was going to talk about how important it is. But wait, I went on.) The eyes are the gateways to the soul. All of our life comes from our eyes. They are so powerful. (I would be less embarrased if this diary--or "journal," as I called it--had been written in elementary school, or even middle school. But no, I was seventeen when I jotted these profoundly profound words down.) Eye contact is very important in acting, which is probably why I'm comfortable with it. (Um, implying that you were SUCH a great actor that you are SO comfortable with eye contact? Oh my god, I was so full of myself!) Sometimes I'll be having a conversation with smoeone and I'll notice them averting my eyes, as if they can't handle it. Without eye contact it is impossible to connect to a person. This is why I hate sunglasses so much. They put a wall in front of that connection. They hide your soul. This has created a conflict in my mind because I have recently become in the need of wearing sunglasses. My contact lenses are sometimes very sensitive to sunlight and I've begun to wear sunglasses for this reason. Fortunately, I only wear them in the car when the sun is bright. Sunglasses are really for people who are afraid to connect. They are the perfect hiding place. I wonder what that says about Jack Nicholson??? (I can't tell if this is a genuine question or if I'm trying to be funny here. Either way, I look like a moron.)
As I walk up to the podium I must not forget to thank two very important people in my life. First, Diane Doyle. With her Young Conservatory program at SCR, she has provided me with the best learning experience of my life thus far. (I still love Diane. She totally got me out of my shell when I was ten and I probably wouldn't have ever gotten involved in theater if it hadn't been for her.) She is a wonderful teacher, director, person, and she is the reason I became an actor. And second, Terri Foster. Also a wonderful teacher. She made me love learning when I had her for 5th grade and she made me love writing when I had her for 8th grade Honors English. She is the best teacher I've ever experienced learning from. ("Ever experienced learning from"?!?!?? That's sentence doesn't really show a very good grasp on the English language, especially for a sentence that's trying to thank an English teacher for being the best teacher ever.)
(Okay, wait, I know I keep saying that certain parts of this diary entry are my favorite part, but this next paragraph is seriously my favorite paragraph. Remember, I was seventeen.)
Confession: This week I joined a gym and a tanning salon. My dad wanted me too, but I think I'll like them. I want my body to look good. Acting is such a "looks" conscious business that it only helps. I hope that I can stay with it and beef up a bit, but not too much. Just enough for it to look like I'm strong, but that I don't work out. I'm not so sure about tanning, but it IS relaxing and I've always wanted to have a tan, besides that farmers one that I've always had.
I want to learn how to play the piano, too, and the guitar. Two goals.
That's the end of the second entry. I'm going to stop there for now, but I promise you the diary gets way more embarrassing. I go on to talk about girls I like and I shit you not: the diary entry for May 6th, 1995 is all about how "Shirley is the only girl who has ever physically touched my penis." (Apparently other girls had touched my penis in a non-physical way, but Shirley was the only one who had ever touched-it touched-it.)