On Horrific 80s Throwback and Change

I did a big clearout the other day, and I came across something I haven’t looked at in years. A sheer bomber jacket, with polka dots on the front and stripes on the back. The sleeves and body kind of poof out when on – it’s so bad, so terribly, terribly bad, I had to laugh. It’s the 80s on steroids.

Other than make me reminisce on all the terrible things I’ve worn (I used to dress weird, there’s no other way around it. Spats? Yep. Kimono? Yep. Dress that looks like a tent? Yep. Bowler hat and red braces to work? You betcha.) it made me think of the other skeletons that are languishing in my drawers and on my hard drive.

I mean those early attempts at stories and novels. I had a look through them and my word were some of them bad! As well as making me laugh, looking through my old writing turned out to be hugely beneficial because it highlighted just how far I’ve come. Granted, I still have a long way to go, but staring at the abyss between myself and Neil Gaiman is not the greatest motivator. If the gulf was smaller it might egg me on to work even harder to close the remaining gap, but let’s be honest now, the gulf is huge because he’s in the US and I’m in Hong Kong (That’s a lot of distance). But also because he is one of the best writers around currently and I’m – you know – not.

I’m all for forging ahead and keeping an eye on the future rather than living in the past, but looking back at the growing distance between myself and those initial efforts does a hell of a lot more to motivate me. Without a benchmark to refer back to, it would be easy to lose sight of how much we’ve changed and grown.

Which reminds me of a quote from House of Cards (have you seen it? I was OBSESSED with it, I watched the whole thing over a weekend.): “To improve is to change. To perfect is the change often.”

Note that it isn’t “to change is to improve.” Change can be a bad thing if you wind up throwing out the baby with the bath water.

But there is no improvement without change. There is no perfection without constant change. Without pushing beyond the comfort zone, learning, growing, trying new things, we can easily stagnate both in our writing and in life/business/sartorial choices.

Trying a sheer bomber jacket was a risky choice. As was trying to write a story from an inanimate object’s point of view, a candlestick to be precise (I kid you not. This was a loong time ago. A very long time ago. I think I must have been trying to somehow emulate Beauty and the Beast – and failing quite spectacularly). But now I get to look back on both, have a little laugh at myself and go on with my day, safe in the knowledge that I no longer look like I got dressed in the dark, and that no matter how bad a writing day I have, it will always be better than that story.

So I’m keeping them both, so that next time I’m having one of those “everything I do sucks so bad there is no moisture left in the world” days, I can remember to give myself a little break.

How about you? Have you looked back at your writing recently to see how much you have grown? Have you got any bad 80s gear to share? (Please share terrible 80s clothes, I hear it’s a thing on Wednesdays to subject yourself to sartorial embarrassment!)

Oh and here’s the unfortunate jacket….It just needs a perm and some neon leggings, doesn’t it?!

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(Ok full disclosure – I was a little too young to get involved in the 80s fashion scene, I bought it AFTER the 80s. I know. I know.)

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21 thoughts on “On Horrific 80s Throwback and Change

    • Haha thanks, yeah the jacket is quite something, it’s so bad it’s actually pretty awesome…..

      Thanks for stopping by, will have to come pay you a visit on your blog!

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  1. I recently moved my office from the unheated/un-air conditioned storage room to the guest room in our house and found boxes of old short stories. Wow, some of them were awful. I don’t know what I was even going for in some of them. On the other hand, I found a few where the writing was weak but the ideas were good. Those went into a file cabinet to be revisited at some point.
    It’s worthwhile to look back at your old stuff, if only to see how far you’ve come.

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    • Absolutely, it’s a nice little boost to realise that you have already made some serious progress…And that’s great that you found things that were salvageable in your old stories!

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  2. Wow, I love the jacket. Black pants, white camisole and you’re fabulous. Visiting you on the 9th day of the challenge after you visited me! Love finding another writer with an interesting blog, well presented. I’ve seen a lot of cluttered, hard to read efforts. Know you are making new blogging friends like me. I’m having a wonderful time writing about gardening and related things. Oh, mustn’t forget that your photographs are great support. Congratulations!

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    • Thanks Stepheny! And thank you for stopping by!

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying blogging, I am too, and yes I am making some blogging friends which is wonderful!

      And thank you for the compliment on the blog 🙂 I’m actually thinking of changing the design, still something simple but something that’s a little bit more personal to me….This is feeling a tad impersonal!

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  3. Hi Celine!
    I LOVED your comment on my “talking books” H-post (Handscroll) & I love this post too!
    Ah, sweet nostalgia… I had SUCH a good chuckle!
    Yes, I remember those 80’s shoulder pads (guilty… he! he!)
    And the perm… oh my word, my poor hair was subjected to the madness!
    And what about the woollen leg warmers for gym… remember those?
    Nice to meet you via the A to Z challenge (a new follower)
    Writer In Transit

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    • Haha – I’m glad you liked it, I had fun writing it. It sort of ran away with me, clearly I have a predilection for impersonating stationary. Which makes sense since I love stationary 😉

      You’ve gotta love the eighties, never had people dressed in such a ridiculous way and thought they looked cool! Haha.

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  4. I was afraid the the jacket was going to be multicolored, for some reason. Since it’s not, it’s a lot better than I imagined it. 🙂 It is hard to fit in with today’s aesthetics though.

    I do have a handful of stories and ramblings from my distant past. I do feel better as a writer having seen where I came from. But I haven’t been serious as a writer for very long, so anything worthwhile is still fresh and close.

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    • Haha, oh god, can you imagine if it was multi coloured! That would be seriously epic. 🙂

      I’d really recommend holding onto your early stuff, it makes for hilarious reading a few years down the line! 😉 Glad you’ve started writing though, it’s so much fun isn’t it?

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  5. I LOVE that jacket! *shame face* I was a teenager in the 80s and have a natural perm so I guess I never really left the 80s. In my mind I am still effortlessly slim and rocking the latest fashion gear (only one of those actually happened in real life, mind).

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    • Haha, a few people seem to love it actually! I absolutely loved it when I first bought it, not much of a fan of it now though – maybe it will grow on me again. 🙂

      All that matters is what you’re like in your head – in my head I am not only incredibly stylish but also incredibly witty, and best pals with Miranda Hart. Obviously none of that is true, but it’s much fun imagining it all!

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  6. I love your post! I watched the whole season of House of Cards in one seating, too, and on a weeknight yet. so, not a wink that night and still to work I went in the morning. I also love the jacket, and I don’t care what decade it is.:-) And about the old stories in my desk–I don’t pull them out for anyone else, but every now and then I take a peek and feel good because I do see some improvement from then to now. 🙂
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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    • Oh yes, old stories should never be revealed to other people – potential for far too much embarrassment!

      That is pretty impressive, almost 10hours of straight TV watching! Have you watched season 2 yet?

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  7. I love that you tried to write from an unusual perspective. It’s very creative and not many people can pull it off.

    Unfortunately, I had some really bad 80’s outfits too. How about red parachute pants and a black zipper shirt? I was trying to channel Pat Benatar and Joan Jett then. It wasn’t a good look for me. SMH.

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    • Haha, yes and I was one of the people that couldn’t pull it off 😉

      Red parachute pants sound amazing (in a oh my god they’re so terrible they’re actually brilliant way) Channelling Joan Jett is pretty cool – you must have been the coolest accountant-to-be around! 😉

      (BTW what does SMH stand for? I am so behind on the acronym game)

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