some thoughts about the art of the journal
my first journal had a puffy cover, with a picture of teddy bears. it’s as dire and angsty as anything written by a girl tumbling from elementary school to middle school could muster up. and yet I find myself, quite painfully, identifing with those words even now.
since then, I’ve written in beautiful journals, composition books, and spiral notebooks of various sizes & shapes. I’ve had separate design & writing journals. I’ve kept journals & logs on the computer, the handspring, and here on the web.
sometimes I write mostly poetry, or stories, or doodles. sometimes it’s super-angst personal stuff. a lot of times, my pen-and-paper journal is a way to write through what I’m thinking.
this, the weblog, is a slightly different animal, because I walk a fine line of public vs. private. I’ve been asked, twice, under very different circumstances, to be circumspect about what I write. I’ve been startled, a little pleasantly, by actually having readers, on three separate occasions. (Tom, are you still reading?)
and yet…I find myself anticipating this screen, this weblog, because of its putative relationship to some sort of reading public. “dear reader….” which is sort of how I started my very first diary, back in 1984/5. (I have always wanted to write a epistolary novel, btw.)
I had an intense infatuation with anais nin, years ago, because of how she turned her life into her art, through the diary/journal. (her novels, which attempted to do that more explicitly, were much weaker for taking out the quirky & often self-delusional voice of the diarist.)
it would, I imagine, be possible to reconstruct my life thru a series of diaries & journals, complete with the inanity, obsessions, and short-sightedness. (see self-delusional, above) there’d be some gaps, of course: I seem to recall a period of 4 mos. or more, in college, when I didn’t write a word, except for a poem or 2, and there were several similar gaps in high school. but it’d be good enough. I find that both reassuring, because I often find my memory sketchy, and mortifying, because of the complete lack of perspective, or self-censorship, whichever. (reading old journals often makes me weepy.)
add in the one experiment in collaborative journaling from high school….
and about that: no, let’s not. some people do them, apparently, but after a brief golden period, it turned out to be a terribly hurtful thing for me. (many years passed before I could talk to Kris.)
so someday this will stand (depending on storage media, of course: one of these days I should print all these out, just in case) as a record of the silliness of my late 20’s, and what I thought & did, what those days were like, etc., etc., etc.
and when I’m famous, they’ll go to some university as part of my collection of papers.
yeah, e. in your dreams.
speaking of which…I should get to those.