I’m an impulsive writer. My journal is the one thing I hate to leave home without. Even when I must I’m sure to write bitter somethings on scraps of paper to transcribe into my journal later. I am a writer in the sense that I write things down, but I dare not claim any thing else from that label.
“What do you write about?”
The honest answer: nothing.
Another answer, also true: everything.
Most of the posts on this blog were originally entries in my journal.
I call it Chrysalis. The first entry is dated 6/30/12. My first journal that I started in 8th grade and lost my freshman year was Peapod. My summer journal is Cornhusk. My journal I kept for only a few weeks my sophomore year was Grind. The journal I collect quotes in is Grapeskin. My journal from 9/2010-3/2011 is Eggshell and the journal after that from 4/2011-3/2012 was Grenada. The most recent journal I had from 4/2012-6/2012 was nameless. As I explained in a previous post, Grenada and the nameless one are in shreds. That’s okay.
I think that my current journal has the most personality by far. I’ve reinforced my paper tent with several paper clips as I’ve developed a tendency to hoard various clippings between the pages. I collage covered it to distinguish it from my other composition notebooks. There may or may not be a theme in it, I’m not sure.
I’m avoiding the question.
I write lists ranging from “greatest things ever” to “notable sights and sounds of downtown Sacramento” to “movies I still need to see.” I copy down snippets of eavesdropped conversations. I copy down memorable quotes from people, movies, TV, books. I take notes on people, places, and things that catch my eye. I complain about my own faults and make fun of the people I associate with. I write about what makes my heart break and what makes it jump. I write about how much I enjoyed eating a peach and about how I finally figured out a certain joke. I write about the types of tea I like and about my questions on everything. I work out my thought processes on decisions big and small. I reflect on all the things I should have said to someone and all the things someone told me. I do these things so I don’t forget, for one. Something bigger and nameless also drives me. And yes, I also occasionally write about my feelings and about how proud I was of myself for waking up at a reasonable hour. In a twist of irony I once wrote about blogging.
I write about plans. I write about breaking those plans. I write about the things I want quite often and I like to compare lists of “reasons why I’m sad” to “reasons I should be happy.” I write about writing. I write about actual writers. I write about my friends who are much better at this writing nonsense than I am. I make fun of myself quite a lot. I write excitedly, I write when I’m apathetic, I write angrily, I write when I feel broken. I write when I learn something new. I write when I find that a truth has been reinforced. I don’t write about the past or the future as much as I used to.
It hasn’t even been three months that I’ve owned this journal and I’m quickly nearing the halfway mark. I remember making an entry, “One thing I know for sure is that I will guard this journal with my life.” I will. It’s a little dorky. Sometimes people accidentally offend me by remarking, “So it’s like a diary?”
Some entries are as trivial as the word “diary.”
The only thing I wrote on 9/4/12 was: “Thoreau<–>thorough!”
I probably have not learned about my lesson as described in the post “Paper Tents” but I am very attached to my own ramblings and am pretty vain about my handwriting. Take away my journal and you have my mind in the form of bound lined paper. You’d have my wishes, my gratitude, my cowardice, my jealousy, my neediness, my fury, my silliness, my pride, and my love. You would ultimately have a part of me that is raw and vulnerable and downright ridiculous.