Most people think I have two children. There's little Maya, just six months old. You may have heard of her, because you may have looked up "perfect" in a dictionary. She's there. Or you may have looked up “baby-shaped geyser of partly-digested milk.” She’s there too. She also may be behind you, right now, pooping all over your expensive leather sofa.
Also, there's Charlie, now four years old. You may have heard of him, because you may have looked up “rascal.” Or, more likely, you might have looked up “unholy destroyer of all of god’s works of beauty and grace.” He might be on your expensive couch too, carving his initials into its armrest with a machete. Or stealing your wallet.
Few people in my life know about my third child. She’s the oldest of the three; born on the 31st of October, 2005, my Halloween baby. I named her Philofaxy.
She may be my firstborn, but I cannot say I've been a good parent to her. I doted on her in the beginning, lavishing her with attention and introducing her to new friends. She grew; people told me she was beautiful. Her potential to grow into a beautiful woman was apparent. All she needed was care and nurturing.
Those were things I did not give her.
As in so many other arenas of my life, laziness and delinquency set in. The attention I had lavished on her as a baby waned; I let her lie in disuse. Her friends became concerned. I told myself, "No! She's fine! I am an excellent parent, and she will grow into a beautiful woman!" Blinded by my own denial, I let Philofaxy decay. One by one, her friends left. Soon, she was a mere shell of what she could have been.
Then, along came Nan. She saw Philofaxy's promise and said she didn't want to see it squandered. Given that I was very busy squandering it, I brought Nan on board quickly. And Philofaxy's path changed. She grew up!
I'm tired of the child metaphor. Let me try some other ones.
- Imagine a car driving along the only road across a great salt flat. Now imagine that the car veers slightly off the road, fails to correct its path, and is soon so far off the road that the road can't even be seen. That was Philofaxy under me. Now imagine that a huge helicopter comes and grabs the car, lifts it, and drops it back on the road. And puts a new turbocharged engine in it. And mag wheels. That was Philofaxy after Nan joined.
- Imagine a tree growing in a lush garden. Now imagine that a cruel gardener deprives the tree of all water and nutrition, and the tree wilts. That was Philofaxy under me. Now imagine that another gardener comes to nurse the tree back to life. And also the new gardener punches the cruel gardener in the gut. That was Philofaxy after Nan joined.
- Imagine a great nation that promises to be a beacon of freedom, equality, and hope, but instead squanders this promise by pursuing a hegemonic foreign policy and turning its back on the noble principles that defined its national character. Wait, that's not a metaphor at all. Forget that.
- Imagine a crazy, decrepit old man. That is me. Now imagine a non-crazy, non-decrepit woman. That is Nan.
Anyway, you all have seen what Philofaxy has become since my autocratic reign of terror ended. It is far bigger and far better than I ever could have dreamed. While Nan deserves much of the credit, much also belongs to her colleagues, Steve and Laurie, whose prolific pontificating has kept the blog rolling along. And let's not forget the invaluable contributions of the numerous commenters and guest posters who have helped make Philofaxy a true community.
At this point, all I can lay claim to is having come up with a cool name for the blog (and, come on, it IS a cool name) and littering the archives with a few rants and non-sequiturs. Since making those scant contributions, I've stepped away from the blogging world and worked on raising my children. (By "raising" I mean "praying to whatever sacred force that may exist in the universe that my children turn out more like their mother than their father.") I'm also taking classes toward a master's degree in writing, working at a new and considerably more demanding job, and dealing all of the other events that life throws in one's face (like a house fire, and a house flood, and other things that fit within the "house ____" template).
So how do I keep myself organized these days? I am sure you are all dying to know. Indeed, I wonder how you've been able to sleep or get anything at all done without knowing the answer to this important question. Well, the answer is: It depends. For all the struggles I had with The Device (as memorialized in my early doodlings on the blog), I have found a place for a new thing -- the iDevice -- in my life. Yet I have never wavered from my conviction that no device can, or should, replace paper. The tactility of it; the general feeling of doing something productive with one's hands. The craftsmanship of low technology. The ability to use one's eyes and the tips of one's fingers as the ultimate contextual search engine. These are invaluable characteristics of paper. Filofax remains a part of my scheme, though some of its core functions now reside elsewhere. Other kinds of paper -- I've become a fan of Levenger's Circa system for general note-taking -- also play important roles for me.
After all this time, I still can't get myself to use a Moleskine. There's still a part of me that wants to use them, and a different part of me that hates the part that wants to use them. Every once in a while, I crack and buy one. Then I don't use it.
And I still think the Franklin Covey people are crazy. I'm waiting for the inevitable showdown between ATF agents and incredibly punctual Franklin Covey adherents at some remote mountain hideaway. (Though the showdown will NOT occur on a Sunday, thank you very much.)
Thanks to all of you for picking up the ball that I dropped, and running with it -- to places I never imagined.
Happy 5th birthday, Philofaxy!
Well on behalf of all three of us... and all of our readers we would like to thank you for starting such a great blog. And your children just look so sweet and cute!