I no longer remember why, but some time back I decided to start a journal. I had wanted to start on the first day of the year, but that was too far away to wait. Then I wanted to start on the first day of a month, but forgot. So, I simply decided to start – and did.
I decided that my goal would be to NOT write every day. Therefore it would not be a diary, but a journal. If I set the goal, even assumed the goal, of writing every day – I knew would fail. I did not need more failure in my life. I knew writing in it every day was not possible, so I accepted that into my intention.
I wanted a book to write in that I could afford, I was poor and did not know how long that economic condition would last. I wanted a book that I could rely on to easily find when I needed a new one and that would likely to be manufactured the rest of my life. This was a long term intention. I settled on spiral bound notebooks.
I also decided I would write more about my thoughts and feelings and observations than about my actions and activities. Anyone can do the same things I do, no one else would have the same thoughts and emotions. I do write about what I do, but my reactions are more prominent.
That was fifty years ago. I have been able to still find spiral bound notebooks, tho I was shocked when I noticed some spirals are now plastic – I don’t buy them. And I have achieved my goal of NOT writing every day! Yet, some days I write more than once. I used to simply leave a blank line between those entries, now I state the general time of day. I am amazed that I am now half way thru book #164.
I’ve learned a lot in those one hundred and sixty-four books. I’ve learned much about myself. Writing has helped me clarify my jumbled emotions. I was abused as a child and first suicidal when I was two. I’ve been able to process my emotions and, with help from my scripture, I was able to raise four children who knew they were loved. I am still amazed.
I’ve titled each book. It has surprised me to note that some of those titles became prophetic. If I feel optimistic when I title a book hopefully, that hope often becomes realized in what happens during the time of that book. If I give it a neutral title, such as: “Twenty-Third Year of this Record” (an actual title), not much progress happens in my life. But, when I give a title such as, “True Beyond Belief,” (title of the current book) amazing things happen. For instance, during this book, I have been asked to come to the recording studio of the local public radio station and record myself reading several of my poems to be broadcast, a story for children that I contributed to an anthology has been accepted (with revisions), responses to my appeal for contributions to a proposal for an anthology have been overwhelmingly positive, I’ve been asked to participate in two Martin Luther King events (one of them literary), the publisher (cyberwit.net – who is looking for manuscripts) of my last book of poetry (Zephyrs of the Heart) informed me of a review of that book that had just been posted (on Pegasus Literary), a poem of mine was accepted by a different publisher in an anthology, two books arrived with poems of mine in them, ACW posted my responses to two prompts, and people in twenty-four cities in the U.S. read or looked at work of mine posted on one website, as well as people in West Kelowna, British Columbia; Delhi, Chennai, and Kochi, India; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Central Coast, Australia; Moss, Norway; and Castries, St Lucia (not bad for a month). Does my intention create that reality? I don’t know, but there does seem to be some correlation.
Writing also helps healing. When I write about traumatic events of my childhood, I control what I write about them, I therefore, gain some control over them. Recently a memory came like a small explosion in my mind, of the first time I had to stir something in a pan on the stove. I did not know what it was, I was not tall enough to see into the pan. The memory came of the flames being above my eye-level and the terror of reaching past those flames. I knew fire jumped about. Would the flames jump from the burner to burn me??? I was terrified. And, it was awkward to hold the spoon over my head at an odd angle and move it back and forth. My mother demanded I do it while she left the room. This was not the first impossible thing, nor the last, that she demanded I do. I wrote a poem about that experience (as well as many others), and it’s been published. My rage at her treatment of me has calmed.
So, I feel that over the decades, my resolution has been fulfilled. Mission accomplished!
I look at the line of those 164 notebooks in amazement. I did that? ALL of that? There are millions of words there! I could not do anything right for my mother (walking, swallowing, shutting my lips, sleeping, house cleaning, cooking, etc.), reading was a struggle, spelling is still often difficult, some days I don’t want to do anything at all – yet: I filled all those books with words!!! I am amazed!!!
And, I encourage everyone else to do the same.