This weekend’s topic:
Do you keep a journal?
Since moving back in with my parents, every year on New Year’s Day I wake early in the morning, grab a writing utensil (pen and paper or my laptop) and write everything I can remember about the previous year: events, thoughts, emotions, people I met. I spend the first half of the day doing this. Writing from the wee hours in the morning into the late afternoon, nonstop. Meanwhile, my parents, and sometimes my brother, attend church because, we’re often told, that’s the best way to bring in the new year — in communion with God. I’m often called variations of “heathen” for not attending and it’s been insinuated that I’ve turned away from my religion. But I wonder if my journaling is a sort of communion with this higher power.
Something happens when I sit for so long at the beginning of the year to record myself. It’s an intense experience and sometimes my body reacts by sweating profusely, which I don’t realize until done. And at the end of the session, there is an immense sense of relief. I feel lighter, my spirit feels lighter, and renewed. I do not feel this when I attend church. In fact, I don’t feel anything there. I see it as an institution filled with rites and rituals that does nothing for my spiritual wellbeing. Sometimes there’s no preaching and when there is, it’s about trivial things: children listen to your parents, women cleave to your husband, single women find a husband; obey, obey, obey. I prefer churches where we aren’t constantly told to adhere to strictures, but instead discuss or are taught aspects of the Bible and spiritual life that can enrich us. Anyway, I’m off topic. This isn’t about church; it’s about journaling.
I cherish that feeling of refreshment I gain by writing about my entire year. The activity also gives me perspective because looking at the past does help to sharpen one’s focus on the future. Reflecting helps us to see where we’ve blundered and where we’ve excelled thus helping us to shape our goals on what to improve. This is all very helpful, but I’d also like to keep better, or closer, record of my life events. As I get older and read more, I’ve developed an interest in reading my younger thoughts to see how much I’ve grown and what my beliefs were when I was younger. In fact, this blog is a journal, of sorts, but for reading because I review on here all the books I’ve read since committing to blogging.
I don’t think it’s odd to want to chronicle one’s life. Humans have been doing it for years and it’s a way to immortalize oneself (if you’re interested in that sort of thing). I want to do it for self-reflection and to have something entertaining to read about myself when I’m old and wrinkly and probably have Alzheimer’s (it runs in a side of my family). I’ve tried a few times to keep a daily journal, but always my commitment to it would peter out after a few days. I’m horrible at committing to a schedule. It would have been nice to record the awesome things I did this year soon after doing them. Of course, social media helps in some aspects: we post photos on Instagram, share achievements on Facebook, and tweet flicks of thoughts and opinions to Twitter. But I think they all lack the honest, unadorned recording and reflection that I want to capture with my journaling. I’d like to be as truthful to myself as possible and on social media, I think we all wear a different face, or are forced to because no one wants to know what anyone truly thinks and believes. So, once again, I’ll try this daily journaling thing to see where it leads.
What I’m currently reading:
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
Hartman has done it again. She’s got me hooked on her YA fantasy novel that’s slated to be published in February 2018. The story is set in the same world as her Seraphina duology, but our protagonist is one of Seraphina’s sisters, Tess. I’m surprisingly enjoying the story and the protagonist though in these chapters (I’m at ch. 8), she’s a bit unlikeable. But I can so relate sometimes and gosh, I just really like Tess.
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orland
I went to the bookstore to buy one book — The Secret Lives of Color, — but left with this one and a New Philosopher magazine in tow. Smh. I read the first sentence before bed last night and couldn’t stop reading. I’m glad for it because I needed something to balance out Tess of the Road and this is perfect because it’s the complete opposite (it’s nonfiction).