Archive for March, 2011

17
Mar
11

Journaling

I started keeping a journal, like most girls my generation, when I received a beautiful little pseudo-leather book with the words Diary emblazoned in gold letters and a .. gasp!… lock and key.

I was 10. And I was hooked. For the next 30 years, I kept a journal. If not religiously, at least regularly enough that I could track the trajectory of my life and loves. I dialogued with  the ideas in my head and reported the events of my life. I filled at least 12 notebooks a year, sketches, poetry, lamentations. I told my secrets and i obsessed about my fears. These were detailed. AGonising. Prolonged.  My joys were one sentence on a page with exclamation points.

‘DAvid ANDERSON sat next to me on the FRONT lawn AT LUNCH TIME !!!”

hearts and flowers. DAvid Anderson in bold and beautiful letters. Mrs David Anderson written prettily 10 times to follow.

My first songs, my first poems, my first kiss, my first cigarette, my first drunk.  My marriages, my children, my disappointments, my dam dam dam uncontrollably impulsive,sweet, funny, sad, manic  life.  The ricochet of betrayals. My own and others.

That hope thing. Some new world, some new name.  and then one day,

I stopped.

On my 43rd birthday in an apartment in Oregon, between jobs and countries, I got out all my diaries, journals, notebooks, sketchbooks and read them from beginning to end. The ones that had survived my 900 moves at least.

And you know? I kept reading the same story. over and over. From the time I was 12 til i was 40. The same hope, the same disappointment, the same restlessness. Someone had given me a Mary Engelbreit card one year on my birthday that went:\

‘Wherever you go, There you are.’ And there i was. a different coat of paint every year or so, but seemingly, not much progress.

It occurred to me that if I was repeating myself, it might be   that I was so busy observing my life that I wasn’t really living it.. and I was also scripting it without my being aware of it.  If you project in black and white the outcome of a certain situation, there is a good chance you will subconsciously manipulate your life to make that projection a reality.

I was a keen observer of some thing called my life inside my head. But it wasn’t getting too much further outside it.

and ugh. ugh. self self self. self.

I started reading the journals of women like Hannah Arendt, the beautiful diary of Dag Hammarskjold, the courtship letters of Robert Browning and Elisabeth Barrett Browning. People who loved the world they lived in, had keen senses of themselves and their limitations, who loved with intelligence and passion.

A journal can be a self revealing river or a window to the world. What I learned in the next decade of reading and observing, made me want to try to write about it.

Rivers and windows.

We are going to opt for a combination of both, if possible.

Sei Hei Ky, people.