Friday, March 26, 2010

Dear Diary...

For as long as I could write, I've written in a journal or diary. But it's been on and off. Sometimes I write every day, and then there are years that went by undocumented (a terrible loss for posterity I'm sure). Taking the time to write out what I'm thinking about or what's going on feels absolutely necessary at times and a complete chore at others.

I wonder if the hassle of journaling has anything to do with the fast pace of today. It seems as though in the time it takes me to write out just one sentence, my mind has already worked through the entire paragraph, and finishing the entry just becomes a boring dictation from my mind rather than the rapacious writing flowing seamlessly from thought to page.

Recording my voice would be faster, but listening to it years later wouldn't be as interesting. I think most people cringe when they hear their voice, because it never sounds the same as you perceive it as you speak. So though I experimented with 'Felicity'-style recording sessions (that I never sent to anyone), it never replaced writing, despite the speed. The other difference is that, as long as they can't see onto the page, you can write with other people in the room and jot down whatever you feel. You could be critiquing the outfit of the girl sitting in front of you and she'll never know. However, if you try to make a voice memo, you will never get away with it. For audio diaries, you need to be alone. And then, there's the battery requirement.

So paper it is! But not just paper. I have a long list of requirements in my notebooks and journals. I don't like words on the cover. Inspirational or not, they don't belong for me. I also prefer something closer to college-ruled. It just feels neater. I've gone with blank before, but though that opens up the page for doodles, I'm just not a free-form journaler. I have visions of myself doodling and jotting down random things, but the pressure to make it pretty means I generally do better keeping within the lines. Getting a diary is not about just grabbing a book and pen. There are important requirements involved.

In high school I tried to write a page a day, and was able to do it until I started falling behind. First one day, then another. Soon I was catching up for entire weeks. And then, I stopped all together. There are several stories like this in my past. Lots of writing, usually on a schedule. Then my discipline slips, my life becomes less interesting, and my writing stops. In trying to restart my journaling, I'm hoping that keeping it casual will extend the habit. Of course, writing this blog and daily articles for Examiner have drained me a little of my literary tendencies, because I find that after hashing something out in my brain, then on my blog, and then possibly in conversation, I don't really have the energy to put it down in a formal journal. I end up repeating myself and just going through the motions. And cramping my hand.

I'm also exploring some more technological routes, like journaling software. It's still just sitting in my laptop, yet to be utilized, but the beginning is always the hardest for some reason. I always want something worthy of an opening line in a novel, despite the fact that I never plan on letting anyone else read it. Maybe I just have high standards for my having to re-read it in the years to come!

I want to keep a journal because I think it's important to remember how you felt at various points in your life, to be able to revisit them and learn from them, however embarrassing or hilarious. I'm nostalgic to the point of sentimentality, so having a record of my life is fodder for many hours of reminiscing. Even if I am just recording my lost years between college and career.

So we'll see if I can keep up a log of my life. Because, though I love you, blog readers, I don't tell you everything. And it's got to go somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like I set something in motion all those years ago - during saying goodnight I'd write down the best and the worst of every day for you.
    Glad to see it paid off somehow!