Journals

Do you keep a journal?

At one time I kept a journal that I wrote all my feelings in, dreams, strange ideas, thoughts, opened myself up and let it all flow…

…then someone I trusted read it…and got very angry with me because of the words I had written. So I deleted everything from my computer, I burned the notebook, and I made a resolution:  NEVER KEEP A JOURNAL AGAIN!

But,

over the years, the need to get some fuzzy stuff down, to jot story ideas, excerpts of fiction or poetry that feed my soul, notes on what I saw that day, or people I witnessed being people, human’s who carried a story around with them, one I could imagine if I took the time and let my mind run, run, run….so journaling has become part of my life again for the past few years. I do not use it to express inner feelings, disenchantments with every-day life or any of the like, except if it has to do with writing my novel or my short stories.

The journal has become more of an expression that keeps the momentum of writing going, no matter what my frame of mind might be. I hate my story, I love my story, it doesn’t matter, this will help me get by. For a few weeks I’ve let it slip by, not adding to the blank pages anything but my hollow stares. And my novel writing had slowed down to a decrepit pace, of like zero to none words a day with only one or two passing thoughts added. But I picked it up this weekend with new resolve. It feels heavy and real, the journal itself, which makes me feel like the words I’ve hand-written within have some weight that will make a difference somewhere…or maybe none at all. And it doesn’t matter.

Sometimes I let some personal stuff slip in, the stuff I know no one will hate me for after I’ve gone and they take this black book out and decide to look into me. Like this morning’s entry which went something like this:

July 18.2012

Could not sleep during the night, partly because of the heat (even though the air was on) and partly because I just wasn’t tired. My mind wasn’t racing, my legs felt fine (sometimes they itch or twitch) so I’m not sure what it was, but I got up around 1 am or so and came downstairs and read and wrote into my novel manuscript. I feel I may have focus now. My daughter, words of wisdom from a 16-year-old, said to me last night, “Why don’t you finish that story? Don’t give up on it, it’s really good.” (She’d read my first draft in progress a few months ago). “Even if you get another job, you could do both.”

And so I can.

Feel a bit more inspired to dig into blogs again too, especially Disenchanted Twilight, which I sometimes feel I should rename, though disenchantment is part of me, so perhaps it is fine.

~End of entry

If you keep a journal, what do you put into it? Feel free to share.

image: Disenchanted Twilight

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Beautiful words by Lisa Chapman…

Just Under the Surface

The hour is late between us

Darkness intrudes

Our light obscured by our own shadows

Flashes of memory crave the light

Restore! Restore!

We swim for shoreline

Only to be shoved further out to sea

We made our start amongst the brilliance of stars

Believing our love built on solid ground.

Only to discover it was upon sinking sand.

~Lisa Chapman 2012

Inspired by: Disenchanted Twilight post
Photograph: Flickr/Symmetry Mind

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Writing the Duomatic Monologue

Okay, so I absolutely don’t know what the title has to do with this post…but I found it in my journal, and hell, I kind of like it, must have liked it, since it’s written in my beautiful handwriting back in May of last year. And during the writing of this, I hear this:

So, my point is that I’m in this really cool writing groove. We all get in one occasionally, hopefully often, or constantly. I wish I could take more time for this blog too. It’s becoming hard to find the time, which is a good thing, I guess.  But today I’d just want to express what it’s like to be in the groove, that dynamic place where all the words come into our heads and fall through our fingertips and onto the paper (or computer screen) like ethereal dictation.

And there’s that synch that happens also. You know the one. You come across all this stuff that reminds you of your story, or your character, or the setting of your novel. Or you come across a piece in a book, like I did today:

You see I have been here a long time now
And though the work I came for was years ago finished
It is an easy country to stay on in

I have got used to the way of certain things here.
They can be absurdly irritating at times
But I get on quite well, really quite well with the people.
And then, they take you for granted. And there’s the sun
And the night air in Summer. There are the Southern roses.
I am at ease in these frequented ruins
And here at least i have my place as exile.

[From Man in a Bar by Jenny Joseph]

So here is something: we open a book and discover, a pieces so appropriate for our eyes to witness, slipping into our thoughts, our writing.  Our story. Maybe that’s my duomatic monologue.

 

Ghost Story

It is a whip-o-will that awakes me at 4:45 or so. This bird chants for fifteen minutes before giving up for the day. It’s like his declaration, his minute convergence from the whole of himself, or herself. How does one tell the sex of a bird. It is one thing that I wished I’d learned. In any case, this bird, I have no way of knowing is it’s the same one each day, but something in my oblivious awareness tell me that it is, has been chanting for weeks now outside my asylum window. It started one Saturday morning. This is fact, not fiction, because it was the day that the dead girl, Julia, started to visit me.

(What is a dead girl but a shadowy ghost…Or a dead man’s voice but a distant and vain affirmation…Like dream words most. ~Archibald MacLeish)

She was once so beautiful, still is in many uncharted ways, but the bump and grind of being dead is taking a toll on her. She miss-spells words, when she even tries to spell, and miss-pronounces my name which isn’t hard pronounce, and of late she is looking more and more…worn…haggard…dark. It’s hard to describe. She still wears her golden hoop earrings. She still wears the dark flowered dress with the plunging neckline, even though she was buried in a pure white sheath of satin, a virgin’s dress. Julia was far from that.

So this is what happens after you die. You haunt your last haunt, you live out your dead life in the last shit hole that you graced, the last place you breathed the air on this side. How unfortunate for Julia. She didn’t know. Had she known I think she would have waited, waited to off herself in the more opportune place, on some excursion we’re permitted to go on – the mall, the amusement park, at some museum, even at the damn Baskin Robbins. Better to haunt a bin of cookies and cream than here. Better anywhere than here.

So Julia once again sits on my bed and folds her long legs in lotus position. I see the bare bottoms of her dirty feet, chocolate colored nail polish on her toes. The flowered dress flows around her, a puddle of chiffon. The blood stains in her lap have sort of dried. At least they’re not glistening anymore. It was hard to look at her ghost at first. How she got the mirror is the immaculate mystery, and how she got it into her vagina and moved it around so well is the other. She told me she had to see the things crawling around inside her, the things they’d implanted in her. She told me she was part of some nameless government experiment, years ago, that it took a few eloquent years to grow. So she said. It was our secret. I kept her secret. Hell, I didn’t want her to think I was one of them. I loved her. I think.

Her eyes look very dark today, but the rings bring out clear blueness of them. She’s an artist. Was an artist. We were allowed to view her art online when we found out that she was slightly famous. A series of self-portraits that hedged out the art world. She titled them Re-numeration, Bone, Time Culminating, Drinking Poison, Dying in Disguise, Wisps of Wind, Edges, Fairies and Faultlines, and Julia Apparently Dead. The images were full of color, illumination, and desolation. I thought they were weird and seductive.

James always came to see her. The boyfriend. This is part of Julia’s problem now. Since she died he doesn’t come anymore. She doesn’t get it. She suffers from rejection even in death.

Have you seen him? I was napping. I may have missed him.

No, he wasn’t here, Julia. He doesn’t come anymore, remember?

Oh, yeah….Why?

Well, you know…You’re sort of dead.

She stares at me. She seems to be forgetting what I tell her. I fear I’ve said the wrong thing. Am I too blunt?  The truth, you know? It’s confusing to some of us.

We have a lot of work to do. I’m so behind. I have to have my collection ready by…

I sit down next to Julia. For a ghost, a wisp of a girl’s shadow, she smells pretty good. Like peonies from my grandmother’s garden, an earthy smell, pink, green, and mossy. The colors of her dress. There’s a lead smell there too. The blood. I try not to look at the dried puddle in her lap, at the stains on her fingers.

It could be paint, not blood.

____________

Why do I write?

I freaking ask myself this all the time. One time I quit, long ago, my kids were little…it actually felt great.

Of course, it didn’t last…this writing bug grabs you in unique and unexpected ways, it slathers your soul and you brain with ideas that just keep coming, then if you’re crazy enough, you mention this to a loved one and they actually say: That would make such a good story.

So there you go…you’re off again.

I love when the groove of writing is found…not the rut, mind you, but the slickest groove that’s covered in oil and you can just barely hear the hum of the creativity train’s wheels, just slightly, and it’s oh, so soothing…I love it when everything flows. Story. Words. Characters. Descriptions.

I hate it when I look back and see how “less-than” it really was. I try not to compare. I try, like Kerouac, to make it all perfect the first time around or why bother, but I can’t.
Who can really?
Except Jack Kerouac.
Was it he who said that? That a writer shouldn’t need to rewrite, that the original inspiration was all there should ever be. I think it was.

Hold on, like Nora Ephron I’ll have to Google it…be right back…

Bloody hell, I couldn’t find that quote, but I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere, that he said that. If he did, he sucks.

So, why do I write? If you’re a writer, why do you? Is it some sort of inner self talk, or story, or whatever, that needs to burst out? Do we really need others’ approvals? Do you read a book, any good book, and say to yourself, I have a story something like this, I have to write it? Do you lay awake thinking of that little piece of something new to add to your character? Do you find yourself jotting notes down in the oddest of places, like the paper coffee cup you just drank from, because you just might forget before you get back to your desk or computer?

Are you someone like me who would rather do nothing else as a job?

Then we are the same my dear reader.

“There is always in me two women at least…”

Here is a  quote from a favorite woman writer (I have so many!) Anais Nin on keeping her famous diaries. I find the words so inspiring, the “echoes and reverberations” transform and enchant me.

This diary is my kief, hashish, and opium pipe.  This is my drug and my vice.  Instead of writing a novel, I lie back with this book and a pen, and dream, and indulge in refractions and defractions… I must relive my life in the dream.  The dream is my only life.  I see in the echoes  and reverberations, the tranfigurations which alone keep wonder pure.  Otherwise all magic is lost.  Otherwise life show its deformities and the homeliness becomes rust… All matter must be fused this way through the lens of my vise or the rust of living would slow down my rhythm to a sob.