I love looking through my old journals. I have all of my journals from my first or second year in college until now. I’m not as prolific in writing in my journal as I used to be, though I am trying to still update it as often as I can. I would love to be able to leave those journals to my children someday; I think they would find their mother very interesting and, most likely, crazy.
One Christmas, when I was home in Cayman on break, the electricity went out on Christmas Eve. With no TV to watch with my mom and no music to listen to, I decided that some alone time was appropriate. I took a candle into my room, to my desk, sat down and opened up my journal. I began to write, just laying out my vacation thus far. Mom came into my room and chuckled at me. “Playing Jo, sweetie?” she asked. I couldn’t help but smile and nod, “Yep!” I enjoyed sitting there and writing by candlelight, letting myself fall into my thoughts, the starlight twinkling in my windows.
In college, I had an observation table at the Student Union, where I would sit and people watch and make comments in my journal, usually about the theatre students, who fascinated me. They were always so loud and boisterous and interesting to watch. It was like being at the butterfly farm or a bird sanctuary and trying to take in all the color and movement at once. I would sit there for hours and just write about what I saw and what was in my head. It gave me a certain sense of accomplishment, I think.
For a long while, I took my journal to work with me so that I could write in it during lunch, and, for a long time, it became my sounding board. The place where I could yell and scream and loose my venom. The first two years of teaching were extremely rough for me and my journal became the place of cries, prayers, and lamentations. When Ben and I were dating, I wrote everything down, what happened when, where we went on our first date, what it was like getting to know him. My students are amazed when I can recite the dates when we met, Ben asked me out, we had our first date, we officially became a couple, Ben proposed, we got married, etc. These were my firsts, my only’s, and I want to remember them.
If you have ever seen the movie “SE7EN”, then you will remember the scene I am speaking of. The detectives find the home of the man who has been killing people according to their vices (greed, lust, sloth, gluttony, etc.) and one shelves they find dozens of notebooks, every page filled, front to back, in every book, in some of the tiniest lettering. Morgan Freeman’s character refers to it as “his mind poured out on paper”. I like that feeling when I am writing in my journals, or on the computer. I enjoy pouring my mind out on paper and into print. There’s a freeing sense to it, like letting a weight off your back. I imagine that it’s a similar feeling to, if it were real, siphoning your thoughts off into a Pensieve. Yes, I am a geek. Deal with it. But when the thoughts flow and so does my pen or my fingers, I sometimes find myself sighing when it’s all over, as though I’ve run a marathon or built a wall and I flex my shoulders now that the weight is gone. I even enjoy the resettling of a new “weight” so that I have to pour myself out again to have it lifted. What can I say? I love the process.