Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 5 - Journal Writing

The writing challenge prompt today was to “riff” on two obscure words:
Dwale – heresy, madness
Shive – to cut (bread) into slices

Neither word really does anything for me. They make me think of medieval times. Chaucer. Old English. Loved that stuff in high school and college. But they don’t get my creative juices flowing. And since I technically don’t have a work in progress, I can’t incorporate them into my current project.

So, I’m going to step away from the prompt and do my own thing again today. My goal at this time and in this place isn’t to create a finished product. My only goal is to get back into the habit of writing. If that writing evolves into something bigger, so be it. The more words and thoughts I put out there, the more I ideas I have to pull from when I do decide to write the Great American novel … or short story … or poem … or paragraph … sentence.

Today’s topic: Journal Writing. I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Journal writing isn’t something I do every day. When I was an angst-filled teenager, I wrote only when I was hormonal, angry, or sad. Ok, pretty much every day back then. As I grew older and began stuffing my life with experiences, I wrote only when I felt the need. Happy experiences. Life changing experiences. Sad experiences. Bad experiences. People I met, places I visited, events I didn’t want to forget. I pulled out my current journal the other day and realized how long it had been since I’d talked to this old friend. We hadn’t had a good chat since November of last year. That might be the longest I’ve gone without writing. I’m not sure why I let life get in the way of that friendship, but I’ve reconciled our differences and will be more aware of tending to that much needed relationship. I prefer a journal writing book over an electronic version. I treasure the experience of selecting a new journal when I finish one. Running my hands over the different types of binding, flipping through pages, noting if they are white, yellowish, or a color of the rainbow. Foregoing blank pages for ones with lines. Always lines. And after I record an entry, I always look back to see what I was doing around this time the previous year.

I’ve also started two other journals: one for each of my daughters. I don’t have many memories of my mother, who passed away when I was five years old. My father doesn’t seem to remember too many stories or any of my developmental milestones. I cherish one item of my mother’s above the others. One of her friends passed it along to me a few years ago. At some point in their friendship, my mother sent this friend a birthday card. It was a cheesy 1970s card, with a cheery cat on it or something. I don’t quite recall. Before sending the card, my mother unfolded it (quarter pages) and wrote her friend a letter. My mother’s handwriting. Her thoughts, feelings, and events for one day in time. I feel close to my mom just thinking about it. I decided some time last year to start journals for my girls so they would know my handwriting. So they would have their mother’s view of their achievements and their struggles. So they would know how very proud I am of them and how very much I love them. My hope is I will live a very long time and have as many journals filled for them as I do for myself. But if that isn’t the plan, at least they have something tangible from me to them. A little heart gift that I hope they will cherish as much as I cherish mine.

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