In high school and college, my journal was like water. Actually I probably wrote in it with more frequency than I drank water (RIP Diet Sunkist I miss you every day.) Every waking moment in all its mind-numbing mundanity was recorded. There are tear-soaked pages and terrible song lyrics and probably inaccurate and highly dramatic recountings of small conversations and accounts of countless weird dreams that always felt terribly significant but most probably were largely meaningless. That journal knew when I sat and when I stood. Now it's lucky if it gets a "Hi, I'm alive, gotta go."
The journal! Oh my soul!
Truthfully, a year or so ago, I had the horrible thought that I was wasting my time with it. And you know the cancer that an idea like that can be - even though I quickly shrugged it off, it didn't go away, and then every time I would sit down to write I would see these images parading in front of me of all the other things I could be doing and how those Other Things would be more financially advantageous or physically advantageous or maritally advantageous or what have you (most of them involved either food or my guitar if we're really baring our souls here).
And because this blog post is not a success story, let me tell you I've not quite figured out how to talk myself out of that yet. I don't plan on showing my journals to anyone, ever. And the old romantic notion of the "generations that follow" finding them in my attic and becoming so wise by reading them in the dust-floating attic sun would be as hilarious to you as it is to me if you only knew the percentage of those pages that is absolute silliness compared to the percentage that exhibits any kind of thoughtful coherence. I know there is value in getting your thoughts down and thinking through life, but truthfully - this might be the most romantic thing I've ever felt - Aaron is that for me now. Aaron is my guy, my friend, my buddy, my love but he is also my sounding board, that saintly man. For the past 4 or 5 years, I can in full honesty tell you there is not a thought that has passed through my brain that Aaron has not heard and worked through with me. (Oh my gosh - I am only now realizing how terrifying that must be. Aaron gets All the Trophies.)
Either way, there is still an ethereal, physical pleasure in getting out a nice blue pen and writing things down. So maybe that small pleasure is the use in it.
AND! I can also honestly tell you that my past journals have been good record-keepers. I've won quite a few arguments with Aaron over forgotten memories by being able to point to their exact date, location, sights, sounds, smells, and relation to a Copeland lyric in my journal. If you want to know what I was doing on September 14, 2003 I bet I could tell you. And any other date, really, between 2003 - 2012. That's kind of amazing, right?
Maybe I can start looking at my journal as a jumping-off point. A starting point of thoughts, if you will. If I write something and think on it and then realize it's ridiculous, it can stay hidden between the pages. And if I write something and it sparks a little smile or it feels really real or significant or worth sharing or all three, maybe I'll write it here, or I'll make a song out of it. Or maybe I'll follow normal procedure of cracking a beer, telling Aaron to meet me on the back porch and then sighing "weneedtotalk" and then word-vomiting until I'm no longer panic-sweating over why that lady at work doesn't like me.
Either way, I don't think I'll ever fully give it up. We're still friends, right buddy?
(P.S. - On September 14th, 2003 I was spending my study hall recounting the SCHOOL DANCE OMG that had occurred the weekend before in honor of the Louisville Constitution Queen pageant - oh my gosh, I so lived in that town, and loved it. Anyway I had gone to the dance with a friend as my date and then this GIRL who did not LIKE ME (panic-sweat) kept trying to steal him and dance with him, and I was very upset, and then my total BFF saw what was happening and put a stop to it, and I was like, OMG. And there it is, folks. My children's children are going to be SO WISE AFTER READING THESE!)