Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The First Day

I have kept a journal for over 40 years. The journal, for me, something of a lone wolf, used to function as a confidante, a place I could say what felt like the truth, and it was a place that helped me to feel centered. I spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of journal I would purchase each time I needed a new one--what it would feel like in my hands, its weight, its smell, the texture of the paper, how easy it was to transport, to hold in my lap.  

I have journals from when I was 10 years old (a Barbie diary my mother gave me for my birthday), journals that chronicle my my intimate, girlish life, the songs I was listening to, and only mention in passing huge events like the death of Martin Luther King, the unknown woman's jewelry my mother found in my father's car, the first lie my father ever told me, journals that chronicle my time in Paris as a student, my travels to Costa Rica, Ecuador, my life on ranch in the hill country of Austin.  

The journal was the place I wrote my first poems, and later all the drafts for my poems.  When I started to write nonfiction it became the place I wrote the first drafts of my essays.  When life disasters occurred I wrote more frequently and with more passion.  When I felt unbalanced in my life, it was often because I had not written in my journal.

Lately, though, I have fallen away from keeping a journal.  I'm not sure why, but my written life is so tied to computers these days that the journal I used to keep doesn't seem to draw me the way it used to.  I'm starting this blog to see if it might serve me as well as my beautiful, scribbled and stained physical journal has served.

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