Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Journals and Gifts and the Gifts of Journals

There is a odd but lovely pleasure in starting a new journal, like an opportunity for new beginnings. It awaits. Blank pages. I take strange pleasure in starting a new journal that is not paralleled by the accomplishment of filling an old one. Indeed, I don't view it as an accomplishment. Instead the pages fill as if I was not a participant in their making. But the new journal seems filled with anticipation, with possibility. I'm very guilty of keeping at least one blank journal at the ready most all of the time, sometimes, as in this case, waiting for nearly a year before being called into action. Most of mine a simple and most are black. When I'm tight on money or just feeling miserly, I use composition books that can be had for as low as 49 cents in bargain bins. And there have been times in my life when I've recycled such comp books from others who have filled a few pages and then abandoned them. This one is far more stylish than most I use, featuring an Edward Hopper painting I like:

It has good memories attached to it as well, purchased in the gift shop of the de Young museum in San Francisco on a trip last year to see dear friends.

But better still, when I opened the new journal to start writing, the surprise of a gift appeared:

I'd forgotten all about the fortune until I opened the journal and then a whole memory came flooding back to me: a amazing and lovely meal with my wife at a unassuming Korean barbecue restaurant nearly hidden in a block of unassuming shop fronts in a workaday neighborhood on the west side, the smell of the charcoal and the sizzle of the lean meat, the spice of the pickled vegetables.and this, a Chinese fortune cookie to end a Korean meal. I was largely attracted to the advice as a career educator, for it rather sums up experiential education in three neat sentences. But I suspect it is sound advice for a writer as well.

1 comment:

  1. I love this and completely agree. It is why most of my writing stems from actual life experiences. Even my fictional pieces have elements of my life experiences in them. If I read or hear a prompt, I cannot just sit down and write without attaching it to something. If I can "see" it, I can write something believable and enjoyable to the reader. On the other hand, if I can pull from an past experience and work it into the prompt, I can write something raw and real.

    This is also why I too have journals within reach at all times. I even keep a notebook/journal in my car glove compartment at all times. I enjoy sitting down at my keyboard and clicking out a story or essay, but it doesn't compare to pencil and a blank page.