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SCOT BELLAVIA: Before I Forget

I have a website on which I’ve linked all my articles for The Roanoke Star as well as others I’ve written. The site is my writing portfolio. It was created through Wix, a user-friendly website creator. I use the free version so the URL contains an immovable homage to the site’s creator. You can view it at

Like posting watermarked photos from your marathon or roller coaster ride, having Wix’s name in my URL shows that I’m a cheapskate. Maybe ‘frugal’ is a better adjective because, in the future, when I get paid for something I write and make a handful of dollars on the regular I’ll personalize that URL further, drop the ‘wixsite’ and follow suit of legitimate authors with a website titled just my name:

But until then, I’ve called the free version ‘Before I Forget’ and I’ll tell you why.

Later, when I write an uber-popular book and get interviews on talk shows to promote it, I’ll laugh with the hosts of my early days of writing when I thought every passing thought was worth scribing.

“I’d scrawl something in the middle of the night, groggy but eager to do what I imagined all the real professionals do. I soon grew out of that, largely at the behest of my wife since we didn’t have one of those mattresses that can keep a glass of wine stable at one end while a paid actor jumps up and down at the other.”

That’s the surfacy reason I’ll give for my website’s title, that I couldn’t afford to forget by morning what was so brilliant in my sleep. I’ll provide this reason when I’m famous and the interview slot doesn’t give me time to get into the original reason.

The original reason for ‘before I forget’ was a fear I held in college, when I started essaying to fortify my ever-evolving worldview, as so many of us hold at that age.

It was cynicism more than a fear, perhaps, that at some moment in becoming an adult, the Work Force would brainwash away the beliefs I held as a college student – you know, those urgent convictions that would change the world. Grown-up words like Mortgage and Insurance and Retirement and Investing would crowd out of my mind those youthful passions. Soon enough, I’d Punch The Clock so I could Work For The Weekend and this would take precedence over the things that mattered so much more. So, I wrote – I write – to remember.

At first, it was to hold myself to the standards and values I essayed. Writing in ink would ensure adulthood responsibilities wouldn’t supersede my priorities. But an irony I’ve since recognized is that when I’ve penned something, it’ll diminish its impression in my mind and on my heart. Often, once I’ve written something down, I don’t think about it anymore.

I’ve shared article ideas with my wife only to discover that after discussing them, I no longer have to write it down to further prove my point. Sometimes, she’ll wisely reject my thesis with a simple statement – not cruelly but easily, because until that point, I had been my own devil’s advocate, who is never a strong opponent. Once the thought moved from my head and exited my mouth, it was so clearly wrong or so obvious to the world already there was no reason to finish the thought with 300 superfluous words.

‘Before I forget’ has this historic meaning and that more trivial meaning. It’s also come to be a combination of the two: I’ll write something down and even get it to the Internet without slowing down to have others contend it and improve it in person. Before I forget, before I’ve even fully fleshed out my sudden stroke of insight, I want others to know it.

I expect by the time I’m operating at, I’ll interpret ‘before I forget’ some fourth way.

– Scot Bellavia

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