David Sedaris has a new book out which I devoured in two days. I’m happy to have it at the beginning of my summer so I have some time to bask in the glow I get when I read him. His collection of diary entries came out right at the end of last summer and I got caught up in the school year before my basking was fully basked.
The thing that makes him my favorite is what happens to my inner monologue right after I read something by him. I start to notice incredibly entertaining things about everyone around me- imagining how he might describe them. His voice in my head makes me more observant, more snarky, more smart… side effects include more arrogance and negativity… but the thinking! Oh, the thoughts….
He’s coming to sign books in Pasadena on June 28th which I’ll be out of town for. Still, I was thinking about what I’d ask him in the 30 seconds of his attention I might be able to snag… and I was thinking I’d ask him about his diaries. Not what’s written in them- since some of that’s been published now- but the physical things. Are they spiral notebooks? Composition books? Leather-bound? Black Moleskin books filled with graph paper? A collection of random blank books self-chosen and gifted- some overfilled and some half-empty and abandoned?
Because I’ve wanted to start keeping diaries again pretty much only because David Sedaris recommends it. And maybe writing in something he preferred would help me keep it up… help me imagine him sitting on my shoulder like the proverbial miniature angels/devils of the 90’s. He could be both. Maybe he could recommend a pen too.
Turns out he makes his diaries and there’s a “visual compendium” of them which was published last October. I was shocked to have not heard about this- and shocked again when I was able to pick it up at the library immediately. He types the pages and has them bound every solstice and equinox- so four times a year. He includes ephemera from his life and litter… like he actually goes through trash sometimes looking for things to include- much to Hugh’s chagrin.
So- I discovered this about my favorite author- along with this video about “keeping a diary in the age of oversharing” and it reignited my own journaling practice.
“Journaling” used to be a part of my identity. (It’s “journaling,” btw, because “diarying” sounds too much like “diarrhea.”) It might have been part of every Christian-college-attending girl’s identity in the 90s-00s… pre-Instagram. I decided to put all the journals I could find in my apartment together in one place and just like Marie Kondo would predict, I was shocked by how many I actually had and how many were actually full.
Most of them are from my last year of high school to 3 years or so after I graduated from college. They taper off after I lost my faith. Was it just that? I think it may have been the internet also. And real life. My job was no longer to be a reflective humanities major anymore. I have picked up and abandoned tons of Moleskin notebooks since then. I wanted them to work. I think they were too non-committal. I remember, in my journaling heyday, going to Barnes & Noble and waiting for one of their pretty books to call me (or for a higher power to call me to one- as I would have thought back then). I loved finishing journals. Loved it. I found meaning in myself selecting a lined or unlined book… The journal I bought in Spain was blank. I started it “La vida sin líneas.” I started the next lined journal with a sonnet about how structure allows one more freedom to create. Ah, college. I thought I was really deep.
My favorite one was the collage-scrapbook cover one:
Part of me thinks this was so cool because I was going cool places…
But I don’t know… I get cool scraps of paper in my life now and either feel bad throwing them out or anxious stowing them somewhere for some future scrapbooking session I’ll have time for when/if I retire or when I’m dead.
But what is the point of doing anything creative if it’s not going to go up on the internet? And perhaps that’s my largest creative barrier right now.
Because I won’t post Teen Girl Squad fan fic:
Or unnamed girl comics:
Or free association verse:
(Boys in hats. Hamlet bats. Poison hats.) I was very deep.
So I picked up a journal I’d gotten as a promotional item from ASHA and figured out I could peel off the hokey cover to reveal a blank black canvas. I’ve been taping things to it and writing in it whenever I feel inclined. Here are some shots of things from the month so far:
And then there’s the writing- which is better than my artwork (not saying much). I haven’t shared any of it and that’s how it might be for a bit. I’ve felt a need to write blog posts- I’ve always had an itch… for a long time… Writing in a diary has quieted the need to share everything. And I feel like I have less chatter in my head. And like I’m getting my brilliant ideas out. And realizing they weren’t so brilliant. And that’s okay for now. I’m less anxious about all the great things I could be doing if only I had More Time or whatever… There is a religious aspect to it again I guess… I’m reaching for a Thich Nhat Hanh book instead of a bible this time around. And I’m doing something like what David Sedaris does- which who can say that’s not something worth doing? WWDSD? Be the David Sedaris you want to see in the world.
So yeah… I’m back into journaling. Or diarying. Non-web logging. Logging. Keeping a log. Being a log lady. My log has something to tell you. ‘Cept it doesn’t Bc it’s mostly just for me.
LOGS! The opposite of a musical … or other published work!