Today I reviewed (not edited a single comma!) an “April 1995” diary* entry, where I allowed the current day reality at the time of writing, which was April 2020, to shine through.
A dream I had in the first months of the pandemic, about deserted venues and the change in how we interacted with each other.
The dream in the story is real, but the key of the 1995 series is that it are real time current day events, translated to a fictional past.
So in this case my April 2020 dream, that was absolutely 100% identical to the one written down in the 1995 diary, was given the context of a 20-something Lauren, dreaming about an unknown disease that could be transmitted (and kill you) just from standing too close to each other.
In 1995 I let her connect this prophetic dream to her overcoming her aids phobia. And how her world would look if everyone had to overcome the fear of death, before they had sex.
Wouldn’t that be a thing.
2020-me really thought that the pandemic would raise awareness of how we always put ourselves at risk. That there is no such thing as safe sex, anymore that there is such a thing as safe life.
Even risk management has to come from an acceptance of the risk itself, something Lauren knew had been the biggest flaw of 80s sex education.
The illusion that there is safety and the refusal to discuss risk management. How good does the sex needs to be, or how much fun your partner, how close to your ideal mate?
In order for the risk of -> safer <- sex (not the delusional idea of safe sex) to be appropriate for the level of sex you’re having.
And instead we didn’t have risk conversations in the pandemic, anymore than we had them during the aids crisis.
Things were always dumbed down to safe and unsafe, and now even more than during the aids crisis;
Things were divided into being good or bad.
If you were washing your hands, wearing “a mask” (which were just cloths in the Netherlands, the majority of the pandemic, and the working masks were never part of official legislation) and if you were vaccinated you were good, even when it did little to nothing to prevent other people.
And if you were not vaccinated you were bad.
Just like in the 80s when you contracting hiv was a sign you had not listened, and had been a bad girl or boy, because why had you not had safe sex?!
In both cases there was a staggering eagerness to simplify it to a level where we didn’t have to have a real conversation with each other, about topics we rather avoided.
The pandemic did not cause polarization: It just brought to the surface which groups of people did not have the same values.
And in the Netherlands the group who shared the value that we were going to pretend we were doing something about it without actually doing something about it – and firmly against anyone pointing out nothing was actually being done – was the biggest one.
Exactly the way aids education was being treated in the 80s:
We’re going to make a big fuss, with alarming brochures with blood spatters and calling it a global pandemic that can affect anyone;
But we’re not going to sit down and have a conversation about risks, and about how certain groups are at a higher risk than others, and they need to follow other trails of thinking, of logic.
And the people who do not belong to those groups need to understand their privilege, and to not see them not getting infected as a personal achievement that makes them better than somebody who is hiv positive.
Oh, the lessons that could have been learned there.
And of course were not, and then in the pandemic once the vaccines came, we had the whole thing all over again. Where the ones not at risk of getting it, were all in favor of a simplistic populistic way to “do something about it”, which was to blame anyone who did not want to get vaccinated.
Even though the ones at risk are still at risk now, and living in fear now (2024)
The whole vaccination dumbification discussion was a necessity, to put the blame somewhere so the majority who did get vaccinated could move on, leaving the scapegoats as well as the ones vulnerable to the virus, behind.
Just like the majority of the heterosexuals never looked back to the 20th century, if they even listened and cared in the first place.
But April 2020, translated to April 1995, I didn’t know all that.
And I dreamed of working in a closed venue, with colleagues who were social distancing without knowing the word.
There was a disease you could get from standing too close.
And I let Lauren dream and think it over in her bed in the morning.
An unexamined life is not worth living
* An About section, on this diary project, has been added to the bottom of this post.
since 2018 my official blog is: https://laurenharteveld.com/
This is also where I write my Lauren 1998 diaries.
Plus letters to my coach Sara.
publishing journal is a stand-alone project, written on my oldest blog, which has software I do not master (explaining the light grey or blue color of the links; I cannot (yet?) change this);
And it also does not have a “Subscribe” button, nor would I know how to install one.
This blogpost was about the publishing process of
A letter from a stranger
diary 1994 – 1996
including book 2, Dear Nikki
There are currently (I may have missed a chapter, which will be added as we go)
13 chapters in book one “A Letter To A Stranger”, 1994-1995,
and 22 chapters in book 2 “Dear Nikki”.
So with my resolution of giving this project one hour a day, I should be able to share the entire 1994-1996 diary* with you before the end of January 2024.
And it is expected to be for sale March 2024.
The books I’ll be publishing next are:
1.Reboot – a hero’s journey. Diary 2017-2019
2.I M NOT CHANGING MY FUCKING SHOW
* ABOUT THE DIARY 1994-1996
In summer 2019, I started keeping a fictionalized diary, as a 25 year old younger version of me. Events that happened in 2019 found their way into the diary, translated to their late 20th century reality.
And I also absolutely, intended to LIVE, like it was 1994!
But this is a hard thing to do, I feel I am still (2023) learning there…. but that is my endgame;
To LIVE like it’s the turn of the century.
It was/is an amazing project, and to this day I consider the diary entries it produced on my main blog, my best and certainly my most interesting work, because it combines performance art (living in the 20th century) with diary writing, leaving ample room for fiction.
In 2021, I harvested the diary posts I had so far, with the intention of creating a published diary out of it. Two actually, volume 1 and 2, but I decided to put them in one bind.
But I abandoned the project in spring 2022, losing complete touch with the project….
December 2023, I have picked up publishing this amazing work, of vintage erotica.