wake up mr west

Lang Whitaker from SLAM Online shared a nice little email he received from a longtime SLAM reader today. According to the email, the dude, a US soldier named James, will be heading off to Afghanistan soon. Two months ago, out of the blue, he started writing letters to everyone close in his life, just in case anything happens to him while in Afghanistan. The letter Lang shares with is us one of his letters.

He said he’s been reading SLAM since the age of 13 and it helped shaped his youth. He said that should something happen to him, he wants his entire SLAM collection to be given away to someone from the SLAM family, someone who cherishes basketball and the mag the way he did.

Hearing his story reminded me of a line from the book One Day, a line that, upon first read, hit me like a ton of bricks, then after about 30 seconds of thinking, I re-read probably 10 times in the next minute or two.

The line contains a major spoiler, and I made the text white, so you must highlight it to read it. If you’re interested in reading the book One Day, or watching the movie adaptation starring Anne Hathaway, then don’t highlight the next inch or so on your monitor. Scroll down a bit more.

SPOILER ALERT…

highlight below for spoiler
“Then Emma Morley dies, and everything she thought or felt vanishes and is gone forever”

…..

END SPOILER ALERT

So yeah, that one line from the book, along with what James wrote in his email, really resonated with me. I’ve always been a sap–I read my old xanga every now and then to reminiscent when it wasn’t all business, I still have my high school photos neatly saved in my room, and I  have a box filled with ticket stubs or concert tickets from my dates with the two former-loves. BTW, I ain’t one of those bastards who only value female friends, I have handwritten notes from my man JP and a thank you note from a male intern saved in the box as well.

So I went to the bookstore today and purchased a few moleskin notepads. These notepads are expensive at 200 bucks a pop, but what you’re paying for isn’t just the paper, you’re paying for the craftsmanship (it does feel nice holding a little black notebook) and the reputation–apparently Ernest Hemingway carried one around with him and jotted down notes throughout the day.

I’ve been keeping a journal for the 15 months, but that’s mainly dominated by feelings of loneliness, anger, and disappointment. I need a notepad to track happy thoughts, neutral feelings, inspirations, and most importantly–random shit. Like when I saw Pirahnas 3D yesterday (an entry to come about this awesome flick later), realized that it was the ultimate so-bad-its-good-movie, and started compiling a mental list of SBIG movies in my head during my walk home.

Here are the two other notepads I got

It’s part of a series of “special journals” that was designed to let someone write about what they love. I know it’s gimmicky, but the premise sold me: a journal for the loves of your life.

Yes, the love of your life doesn’t have to be someone, but something. And it could be anything–a film, a basketball game, a song, whatever. All those things made me happy and kept me going when I faced deadbeat gamblers everyday during my 2 year of working at a casino, and my first five months in Hong Kong when I had no friends and ate almost every meal alone.

I’m gonna jot everything down now with my myriad of notepads. As I’m about to move, I realize that my most treasured possessions are worthless to others–they’re all old photos, notes, magazines, and ticket stubs. I don’t give a fuck about my TV, my couch, whatever. But my old yearbook, or that box with Race to Witch Mountain and Pop Disaster Tour ticket stubs? I’m keeping them with me for life.

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