I was in Chattanooga not long ago and Mary Beth, Meg's sister, gave me a manila envelope which was full of things I had written forever ago, and had sent to Meg back in the fall of 1997. It was in Meg's apartment, of course, in a drawer full of ancient things; she was such a packrat.
It's good to read your old stuff, even if you're horrified that any of it came out of your fingers. It's not a reflection of your work now, it's just representative of your work then. And you're always learning, so there should some gradual upward slope, right?
Some highlights from the envelope:
From a monologue:
"You guys wanna know what love is? Love is seven hours and all the trash bags you want. And I packed my shit up in half the time. I took the truck because the lawyer said it was a pre-marital asset, which means it's mine."
From a short story:
Standing on the burning asphalt, your mind plays tricks with your body. You can't tell if your feet are burning or freezing, like when you put your hand in scalding water, first it feels cold, then hot. When the bomb detonated, it was so hot. Like all of suburbia's ovens were thrust open at the same time, and all of our glasses became foggy. The street heated up so fast, but I just stood there, knowing that I was becoming stronger.
From a poem:
where the knocking of knees makes us tired / where the urgency of breath floats us like lighted / lanterns on a river.