Sunday, December 03, 2017
It occurred to me that I have been doing this blog thing here for 15 years. Well not HERE (I moved to blogger in 2005, but before that I was blogging on now defunct xanga--which was horrible design wise, but I weirdly connected with a lot of cool poet-people there.) Journaling, of course, wasn't new..I'd been keeping an intermittent diary since I was a teen and a cousin gave me one with a flimsy little lock for my 14th birthday. The entries were spare and had months in between--bad poems about flamingos & kittens, rants about my friends or the boys who I was crushing on-- detailed fights with my mom or my sister, random high school girl talk. Later, there was a fabric floral blank book covered in roses that chronicled my first semester in North Carolina, more boy drama and self-seeking.
When I was 20., I started filling Mead Composition books and I liked their size and marbled covers immensely. Inside, there was a lot of me processing the stuff I was learning in classes--Lit, Philosophy, Psychology. Random recaps of things I was reading, seeing, doing. There are sometimes sizeable gaps, usually when I was having a bad time of things (my equally sizeable depression in the winter of 98 being an excellent example, also the rising panic of my job search in the summer of 99.) Looking at them now, there wasn't a lot of deep digging nevertheless, mostly talk about wanting to be a writer, how that was going, things I was working on. The theater shows that I worked on. The books that I was reading--most of it breezy and documentary-like.
I seemed very intent on capturing things, forging my identity and thoughts,--and since I was likely the only person who would ever read them, it was entirely for me as audience, but I weirdly spent a lot of time doing it. A lot of time reading my own entries. I think one of them begins with the whole quote about an unexamined life not being worth living. And I still believe that wholeheartedly. So I examined, and re-examined, and occasionally even still do. If anything social media has us doing this constantly I suppose though on a micro level without the commitment.
I've often thought of going back to keeping a print journal, but then it seems rather pointless. I have kept writing and idea notebooks since, but they are disposable, the used up things discarded, the unused words and fragments moved to the next notebook after that one is used up or falls apart. These feel like no one really needs to see them, nor would anyone be able to make sense of them. They feel a bit like the color samplings one makes on a palette. . And really, a print journal would only offer the benefit of privacy, which as a writer/exhibitionist doesn't seem all that important (ie if I'm gonna say it, I might as well say it here (since I am convinced probably very few of you out there actually read this anyway..lol..)
Occasionally I panic when I think about accidently throwing away those Mead books, or a fire or a flood or some other terrible calamity destroying them. . Somewhere in my computer files, maybe saved in my e-mail, is the entirely of my Xanga blog that they allowed us to download before the site went kaput, though I've never gone through it. Blogger seems to be going strong, but I have these occasional moments of panic that all this would be gone--12 years of , well, STUFF due to a glitch, a hacker, or a zombie apocalypse. Moreso than writing or books, which are a chronicle of a different sort, maybe partially the same life, but also the life invented for the purposes of being artful--details changed and people & experiences combined. (I am a fictional poet, which means about only 60% of the stuff that happens in poems is real, 40% made me and the people close to me (and maybe not even then) know the truth.)
Admittedly even sometimes here, the things I am not writing about are far more insightful and interesting than the things I am, but the blog offer a touch point and a trigger even on those things I would never want to lose access to even if I don't write them down. Things that happened--good or bad (falling in love, getting your heart broken suddenly and completely)-there in the subtext beneath the dailyness of the entries. . Occasionally, I think should write daily in order to never miss anything I might need to keep for later--even tiny details that might get lost that will be place keepers for other things I do not write about (or haven't written about yet). It's also handy for remembering and referencing dates for practical reasons.
The daily entries seem important, but terribly impractical of course. But maybe I will still try. Even if it's a simple as documenting how nice it was this morning on my way to work, and how sitting in the park across the street, even though its December, even though it was early, I was terribly content eating my breakfast on a bench like a cat in the sun. How I spent the morning finishing up submissions and sending out the very last acceptances. How I made a tiny sample matchbook book for zine night tomorrow. How tonight I am making chicken soup and will be making my weekly phone call to my dad (that used to be a phonecall to my mom), though we don't really talk about much but his updates on hospital bills and what's happening around the house, and really it's this weird foreign country we're all not quite used to yet., but I still feel a need to do it.