ANATOMY OF A JOURNAL (Part 1 of 3)
I have recently branded myself megalocephalic (a chronic fathead.) I have known this about myself for a long time; I have tried to change, to no discernible avail. Now, I accept it, and inflict my incurable condition upon you.
This entry is an outgrowth of Judith Heartsong's "Why I Keep a Journal." It is a retrospective and examination of my extended, curious journey from 'then' to 'now', simply because I feel the need to record it in a more concise format.
We journalistes all have good reasons for beginning our journals, for opening our lives to others; I would like (at the risk of boring you) to explain mine.
Sometime last September, as I was sitting at the laptop, enjoying a cup of coffee, and watching our mice perform amusing antics, a detailed 'movie' began unspooling inside my brain. I know not what inspired it (although I harbor a suspicion) but it was such a complete, fully imagined scene that I had no recourse other than to preserve it, as rapidly as possible, in concrete form. I accessed the WordPerfect program and began to write. That scene (with minor edits) became Chapter One of "The Persistence of Mind" (if you haven't read it and wish to, it can be found here.)
That chapter was easy to write. Chapters 2 - 5 also came with a minimum of effort; I waited for the scenes to appear, and they eventually did, because I had a lively curiosity about what had happened next (I was not so much writing the story, you see, as waiting for the next episode.) Creation of the 'Perils of Lona' section (Chapters 6 - 12) was achieved with a modicum of effort. Then ... it became difficult. What began as a light fantasy about a mouse became entwined with personal beliefs that I had gradually begun to work out. I finally reached a point at which it became impossible to write further without disentangling the myriad plotlines which had presented themselves in the course of the tale. Even now I have trouble with this knot. Maybe one day ...
My first journal entry, on Nov. 9th of last year, was a simple bit of doggerel about, naturally, a mouse (I deleted that first entry because I deemed it unworthy.) I naively waited for someone to discover that my journal existed. I hesitated to enter chapters into the journal until some imagined reader left a comment. In the interim I turned to the Microsoft Paint program to alleviate my frustration and release the creative energy that was still coursing through me (the full story of the results can be found in my early entries, if you're interested.) For a time, it was enough. But eventually, I felt within myself a growing need to expose my creations to a wider audience (hence the admission that I am a fathead.) I returned to the journal and made a second entry explaining my detour into the realm of graphic craftsmanship.
I waited, in total, almost 4 months. I had not yet gained the understanding that, in J-land, to be discovered, one first had to explore and make oneself known.
One day in February, while browsing, I happened upon the Editors' Journal Picks, and, since at the time I was creating Diatoms, I checked out a journal on the list, "Albert's World of Artsy Fun." I remember thinking, "Ah, a fellow artist. Maybe we can connect." In Albert, as you are probably aware, I discovered so much more than just a "fellow artist." Scrolling through his entries, thoroughly intrigued, I happened upon the entry that featured a cycling pig. I left a comment asking if I could borrow it. I did not at that time know about alerts, but Albert had his own journal on alert, and responded to my comment, thus becoming my first visitor (and, I hope, a good friend and comrade.) A few others, via Albert's journal, dropped by and left a comment, decided that I was really lame (as a matter of fact, I am) and never returned. But a few stayed to watch me perform tricks, and eventually revealed themselves, to my utter surprise. Thanx to all of you who have stuck around, waiting to see what further idiocies I can conceive of and perpetrate.
One more note: in my (now our) journal, I (we) have tried to be as honest as possible; if a topic is too personal or uncomfortable to discuss, we will simply refrain from writing about it, and of course some facets of our lives will remain forever secret.
There may be occasional small embellishments, otherwise each serious entry is as truthful as we can make it; we learned long ago that lies are inimical to emotional equanimity, and require more than a little effort to maintain and, when necessary, expand upon. Lies do not nourish the soul, and the guilt, when they are almost inevitably discovered, can be destructive.
(To be continued)