Monday, February 8, 2010

My Old Journal

I've never been a prolific writer. Most of my writing has come in waves, separated by long dry-spells. That's why it dawned on me today that probably my most prized material possessions are my old journals. It can take me years to fill just one, so if I ever want a snap shot of things I went through, things I dreamt, hated and loved, I just have to open one of a hand full of books. 

Reading one of my old journals this morning I thought, "This is why I need to journal more in 2010." It's really fascinating to hear myself talk to myself, it's sort of like traveling through time. I feel sort of like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol... I'm reading along thinking, "This guy is really messed up... I'm glad I'm not him anymore." 

I laughed really hard when I read this one from a few years ago:

9/18/07 12:51 AM (Don't ask why I mark the exact time, its a habit of mine)

Today I ventured from the apartment for the first time since I've been home. Home... it doesn't really feel like it. I've been hiding out, on vacation, doing absolutely nothing spectacular. My wife and friends are out working all day, furthering themselves, or perhaps just expending energy in some constructive way. Today I ate breakfast, ran, showered, played guitar, broke a string, ate lunch, re-stringed my guitar, finished a song, dabbled on the internet, got mandatory renters insurance, printed some bank statements and watched TV. Still, after all that activity, it was only out of sheer boredom that I took the elevator ride to my faded-red '89 Civic Hatchback, which was a hand-me-down that my younger, more successful brothers so graciously handed back "up." I took it to Walgreens and bought anti-fungal creme for a red spot in my under-arm that I think might be ringworm, which is most likely the result of sleeping in a van in the heat of summer. I diagnose myself these days, as doctors and health insurance are much too rich for my blood. I'm no MD, but I do a pretty good job. Did I mention people like to use my bed as a toe-jam cleaner? Probably why I've had ringworm twice in the last year. By bed, I mean pad-that-I-sleep-on-in-van. I'm still getting used to the stationary bed from which I write this. To qualify my laziness as of late, I'm stopping this entry due to a cramp in my wrist. I'm apparently not conditioned to write a full two pages.


  1. I've never kept a journal, but I have just begun recently what I call (tentatively) "Anything and Everything." Pretty much I can write anything and everything, whether it be memories, thoughts, ideas, dreams, prayers, poems, stories, vents, or just rambling for its own sake. I've found it to be a way to make up for my lack of journaling in the past. Whenever I think of a memory that I want to remember (or maybe even one that I don't), I write it down.

  2. Last year, I began journaling for the first time. I thought nothing of it really, but i had switched to a boarding school and figured documenting my thoughts might be nice later in life... Long story short, i fell in love with the school and it became home. Then suddenly some greedy old men decided they were going to close it and take it all away from us. I have never been so heartbroken and, what was worse, I watched all my friends go through the heartbreak, too, until we disperesed across the country. Those journals mean so much to me now, and it's only been a year. They make me feel like i'm close to home again...

  3. ... haha! yeah, THAT right there, is the very reason you need to journal/blog more in 2010!
    although, that could be the very reason for the "dry-spells" we all experience in journaling, we seem to end up writing the "everyday, seemingly nothing special crap." we should at least keep it goin, if not to entertain the future us'.

  4. You should definitely journal more in 2010. It's really interesting to go back and read where you were in life, how far you've come. I started journaling when I was 17, now at 25, I have several journals I've gone through. Not only do I keep my thoughts in there, but also lyrics/poems I write, prayers, ideas, lists, scriptures, and quotes that are important to me. When I go back and read some of my enteries, some of them definitely make laugh.... or cringe, but some also remind me of what God has brought me through, and what he's done in my life. Thanks for sharing! :)

    p.s I also have a habit of writing down the exact time too lol.

  5. Journaling is definitely a discipline that all word crafters should learn/improve upon, but there's a delicate balance to how much we should journal.
    I find that when I go long stretches of time without sitting down with a pen and paper, it progressively gets harder to translate the inner workings of my brain into complete sentences. But then, if I decide to carry around a journal and describe every moment of my life, the words lose their magic. It becomes more of a chore than an avenue of creativity.
    I think everyone needs to find their balance. I've felt like a failure for not writing enough, but I've also felt like a failure for writing prolifically and producing nothing of personal worth. I'm starting to recognize which events and thoughts need to be fleshed out on paper. I don't feel worn out in the wrists, and it helps me limit my paper uses. Shamu rejoices.