February 14th, 2001.

Previously on...

Those who have watched pretty much any American-made TV drama will be very familiar with the concept of preceding a new episode with a short synopsis of what has happened in previous episodes. Usually, a voice says "previously on..." and then the name of the given show. There then follows a quick-fire recap of storylines from the weeks gone by, usually showing the most significant or dramatic moments from each storyline.

With this in mind I have decided that this, the first in what essentially is a 'new season' of 'meanwhile', should have its very own "previously on..." moment. After all, it has been over a year and a half since the last 'meanwhile', and therefore you the viewers/readers are quite possibly unaware of the twists and turns of the plot. So with no further ado...

Previously on 'meanwhile'... Last year Apple Computer Inc threatened to sue my friend Will and I for £50,000. Communication with my Mom and Dad was reduced to nothing after a quite horrible telephone conversation over the whole Apple thing. I went to America and while on patrol with the Salem police department got into, and at one stage led, a massive car and foot pursuit that spanned three city limits. I painted my bedroom red! I bought a car. My Granddad got Cancer and no one in my family saw fit to tell me (he's got it under control now though). My parents put their house, and my childhood home, up for sale then moved without so much as a word to me. I went to America to spend Christmas with friends because my Sister had neglected to invite me to her house to spend Christmas with the family. And just last month I turned 30!

That's about the shape of the past 18 months. Of course, I could write more, but it would take months to go into each one of those stories in any degree of understandable detail. So we'll leave it like that.

It's kind of a bummer that I didn't do any writing over that period. It was certainly an extremely eventful time of my life, and I think that it would have been good to write about some of that stuff.

What a true 'previously' section would cover would be the stuff that I did write about in 'meanwhile'. All of which are now safely archived online. However, it wasn't until the other day that I read any of the material I had written! Perhaps I had quickly proofread the articles (although looking at the grammar and spelling I doubt that!) but I had never really read them as a reader, only the author. When I started reading them I was struck by the fact that I had forgotten what I had written. It was like reading them anew, almost as if they were the work of someone else.

Maybe for someone else, reading these articles would be a less than interesting experience. Of course, for me, they are full of gateways to memories, some of which I had already nearly forgotten. I'm no budding author though, I've never daydreamed about being on the New York Times best-seller list or winning a Pulitzer Prize. The thought of a critic ever mulling over these musings of mine is frankly only a little short of scary!

I write because I like to write. Because for me, writing is like a session with a therapist. I'm the patient. The computer, the internet, and indeed you are the therapists!

Having said that, someone recently described 'meanwhile' as "self-indulgent bullshit". Their dismissal annoyed me somewhat, especially given the fact that this came from someone who I thought should have known me better. 'Meanwhile' isn't supposed to be self-indulgent. It is simply an area where I am allowing myself to capture who I am so that in the future I can trace the path to where I stand. It is my opportunity to talk to the person I become and for that person to understand how they came to be who they are.

So then, if that is "self-indulgent bullshit" I make no apologies for that. Life isn't about getting from one point to another, it's about the journey, and what fun is any journey if you can't remember what it is you did along the way?