Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Journal- but this time not the WSJ

This evening as I completed my evening commute, I was overwhelmed with a storm of words and thoughts that were aching to be etched across the blank slate of a white page. It’s been several months since I use a pen and paper to transcribe my prose or thoughts, having shifted my need to write onto the rhythmic taps along my keyboard, but the beads of words strung around my mind this evening were the kind that flow naturally only from mind, to hand, to pen to paper.

Driving home, the words kept flooding my mind, rising higher and higher until I feared they may have overflowed and spilled out, escaping the embankment of my memory. I scanned the sparse shopping centers and towns along 880 N, and even consider taking the Oakland exit in pursuit of a journal and a quiet spot along Lake Merit to park and scribble away frantically. Yet (as I’d divulged in a previous blog post) I’m quite particular when it comes to the commitment of a new journal. I’d even already envisioned the exact journal I wanted: malleable leather bound cover encasing a hearty bundle of stark, crisp white pages purchased from a hole-in-wall San Franciscan book shop buried deep in the belly of the city. I was desperate to write, but I knew giving in to my haste would only later result in a disappointing jolt when I realized that the burst of inspiration had lessened my ability to discern properly in my selection.

There are a few things I look for when searching for a new journal: a nondescript cover, faint or no lines at all, and pages crisp enough to purr as you thumb along them. These elements are crucial to the inherent openness necessary for a true journal.

I’d once been gifted a journal decorated with ornate mystical scenes with the word dreams italicized across the cover in a misty gold text and thick black lines smeared across soft pages. I use my diaries and journals in a liberal sense: there is no underlying theme interlocking the entries; the pages are molded by the ever-changing sequence of events of my life. Chunks of sorrow, happiness, worry, insight and a various array of feelings create miniature chapters in the adventures of my journey through childhood, adolescence and now "emerging adulthood".

But when I was using the “DREAMS” journal, I felt obligated to twirl about my handwriting in cursive sashays, yet ensuring not to cross over the restrictive black guidelines. I felt forced to record intangible scenes from my dreams and fake insight into their meaning. I even felt a wash of guilt when I’d reach for the journal, intending to smothering the pages with vehement frustration before I exploded, yet feeling judged by the pages for even thinking of corrupting its gentile covers with angry passion.

No, I like my journals to be basic and blank. That's why I enjoy opening up a fresh word document each time I embark on a new blog entry. There is no prompt. It's just whatever flows... and oh, how well it flows in my new journal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No Left Turn? Three Rights Make a Left.

If you, in the course of unraveling thoughts, were to record your spoken thoughts, unbounded by a keyboard, then receive the words to become the blog.

That's what I do for writers.

Alan Kelly