I just finished my journal.
It took me a full year. It feels good knowing that I’ve filled it with an entire year’s worth of recollections. It feels good being able to heft it in my hands, flip through the pages and here them whisper to me. A part of me bemoans my pace: An entire year to fill up one measly journal? Another part of me realizes that this is just the start. Thirty years down the line I’ll have a whole shelf filled with slim black volumes chronicling my life.
To put it another way: 192 pages of 8×10 paper = 1280 square feet of words, drawings, stories, rants, screeds, poems, and memories. 86 of those pages were sent as letters. To Amanda, Theresa, Bashaw, David, Dad, Marie, Burton, Jake, Hannah, Jess, Grandma, Aunt Adrienne, Aunt Bill & Uncle Debbie, Uncle Joe & Aunt Maureen, Kieran & Erin, Richie & Margaret, and more.
Now, I’ve kept a personal journal before, but it was on my computer in a word document. Putting pen to paper allows for a whole different type of journaling. I can doodle and draw, shape the letters to suit my mood, make them bend and flow, crush the tip of my pen to the page or leave the faintest mark. In short I can make it more…personal.
My journal entries have little to no overlap with my blog entries either, which is another way of saying that I’ve been pretty productive over the last 12 months. I’ve written fifty six blog posts, a full journal, and have begun to re-edit my manuscript (I hope to get an agent this summer and send it out. I figure, why wait?). The day after I finished, I did the only thing I could have possibly done under the circumstances: I started the next one.
A blank page is the scariest thing I know. I feel compelled to fill it up. I also don’t want to mar its surface with my rambling bullshit. It’s like cliff jumping, you only need to take one step and then gravity does the rest, but it’s one helluva step.
I’ve found most things in life are like that. Getting started is always the hardest. My policy is to jump in with both feet and worry about getting it right during or, better yet, after. No such thing as perfection.
People mark their lives in different ways: birthdays, calendar years, births, deaths, moves. I have a different one now: journals. I can see them stretching before me into an infinity (as much as an infinity as one life affords) and because there are so few constants in this life it’s comforting to know I have one more: like the sun or the moon, a wife or a husband.
Let me sketch the curve of my life from nascency to denouement. I’ll be able to go back to the journal number one and see myself as I once was: young, stupid and hungry for more more more MORE. Maybe it will inspire me to be as I once was, once again. Maybe I will teach myself how to be like that again. Maybe I will learn by example. Maybe I’ll learn from my mistakes. I hope so.
All I know is I’ll never stop writing; I hope you’ll never stop reading.