Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What About Me?

I was never good at keeping a journal. There have been plenty of times that I have been given a notebook full of empty pages with the expressed intent of scribbling them full of my clever notions and stories. The idea that I would sit down on any sort of regular basis and make an accounting of the events of my life. Not that I wasn't necessarily up to the task. I have always been more than capable of filling up line after line of nominally meaningful prose. Or poetry. Or the occasional drawing or diagram. When I was in school and a teacher assigned a number of lines or pages to write, I was up to the task. Usually making sense. Usually working in some pithy comment or amusing anecdote, I am a storyteller.
The last time I kept a journal, a diary, was when I was in therapy. I was asked to keep track of my thoughts and feelings over the course of the week between appointments. I wrote dutifully every day, even if I wasn't always diving deep into my emotions and coming up with revelations that would bring me closer to understanding myself.
Sometimes I did. Like the casual observation that I tend to lean on a cheap laugh or wordplay when I am careening toward some sort of dramatic insight. I am not proud of the cheap laugh thing, but it certainly reminds me of where I came from. My father was an entertainer. A salesman by trade, but a raconteur as an avocation. He wasn't much of a writer, but he could tell a story.
And so could my mother. One of my favorite things as a child was sitting and listening to her tell stories about "the olden days." She wasn't a punchline kind of gal. She was a family historian. It was my mom who kept detailed accounts of family trips in little notebooks. Where did we stop? What did we eat? Who got the worst sunburn?
And then there was that guestbook at the cabin. At one point or another, we all took turns accounting for the cast and characters arriving at our doorstep. I wrote plenty of pages in that bad boy.
And then there's this. The last decade or so with daily updates on my attitudes and behavior. My opinions and beliefs. So the joke here is that I guess I have always been a journal keeper.
Surprise, surprise.

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