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Some Days in the Life - Why Do I Write This Journal?

Posted 5/14/99

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Which leads us to our promised topic of the day: "why am I writing a journal?"

It's a pretty big question, I suppose. With a lot of different answers available to it. Like I mentioned above, it's a way for people I haven't seen or heard from in years to suddenly know where I am and what I'm doing, more or less. Folks like John Bankert have mentioned how nice it feels to know what my life's like and what I'm doing in it as well. Between my journal and his journal, suddenly we have a form of general daily dialogue we didn't have before. He feels like he can speak to the things going on with me, and vice versa.

All that's part of it. I like knowing that John, and Frank, and other people I consider to be my close friends but who I don't speak to on a daily basis any more to be connected to me a little better. But, frankly, there are better ways to keep in touch with my friends. Heck, it's a lot less work to send out a daily e-mail of my itinerary, and it'll be about as interesting as watching paint dry too. So that can't be the only reason or even the primary reason for the journal.

Then of course there's all the books on writing I've read over the ages. Journal-keeping is always recommended. It keeps the pump primed. It forces creativity to continue to flow even when you're just not in the mood. It encourages that mythical "daily writing" that all the pros say are the only way to be a full out hard core writer. These things are also all true.

But they aren't the whole story either. This journal isn't a writer's journal, except for those times you hear about my writing life. It's also not a Manager of Information Technology's journal -- you haven't heard about the extended work we've been doing on configuring our new Minolta Pi6000 to our network, and you won't. There's nothing interesting there. When we get it working and I begin sneaking my own projects through, mastering and creating Poetry chapbooks through the machine after hours when no one's looking, you'll hear about it. This journal isn't for either of those things.

So what is it for?

The answer's not worth the setup. I write the journal because I like writing the journal. I liked Bill's journal, and thought it would be fun to keep one. Well, Bill's journal and mine are pretty different beasts, but I like writing this one. It's a chance to be utterly egocentric legitimately, for one thing. I said on day one of this thing that Arrogance is a primary trait both for a writer and for an Online Journaller. Well, this Journal is my Arrogance given form and shape. I'm arrogent enough to think that people might be entertained by a series of essays and minutea entirely about me.

It seems to be bourne out, at least to date. I've got about a sixty-five regular readers now. Which is about sixty more than I expected -- especially since two of the regulars I expected (my parents) couldn't be less interested. A good number of those sixty are utterly anonymous to me. I have no clue who they are, but they know a lot about me -- or at least the me in here.

That's Ego, kids. Not the bad kind of Ego, either. It's the drive not only to create, but to set that creation out where people can see it.

It also gives me a chance to rant a bit, but that's not it's point. There are better online ranting journals, out there. Jesse Taylor manages a good rant a few times a week in his. Rob Furr's pulled off some good rants in his. When I do an opinion piece, it's sometimes a rant, but largely it's just my opinion described that way. I'm not out to convert people. When Frank reads my screed about the WWF from a few days ago (they just had a Women's Title Match that had no wrestling and was devoted to two women trying to tear evening gowns off each other, I'm told), he's not going to change his opinion or stop watching it. He likes it. I don't. Good enough. When he starts his journal he can write a defense of it. That's good enough.

It's not a confessional. I've looked at some confessional journals -- I read one regularly now, actually. It's not on my list of recommended ones because it's a guilty pleasure and I don't think she wants it advertised. I personally can't understand confessional journals -- people expressing their pain and their fears where anyone on Earth can read them. So they end up hiding them, and showing them to a select few. I don't confess my pains in here. When I need to write a piece because I'm in pain, at best it's going to be in general terms. I won't talk about other peoples' private lives in here and none of you want to read about Eric Burns, Walking Wounded. It wouldn't be entertaining.

Besides, I like my life. I'm having fun in it. I'm not in trauma over it. And despite my "laying part of my life bare," as people have said to me, I'm not an exhibitionist about my life.

For that matter, my life is pretty dull. It's my observations that might interest someone. Every night I walk home (well, when my foot isn't injured). I take the same path most nights. I see the same sights most nights. That walk would bore you. But when I see the first buds of spring burst into leaves, and smell the heady scent of apple blossoms in the air, and pause and look out over the gorgeous lake, and invite a teacher walking the path with me to stop and consider how lucky we are to have all of this, and she and I talk for ten minutes about what Spring was like in our homes and how we like it here as well (or more)....

Well, that perception, that sight, that moment is a lot more interesting to me than "plodded home, again. Turned the TV on, again. Got three pages written, all crap, again." And if it's more interesting to me, I'll put it up here, and maybe it'll interest you too.

And maybe later on down the line, when I want to write an essay to submit to someone, I'll look through the Essays folder and use them as seeds. Maybe, in the dead of winter when I'm sick of New Hampshire and ice, I'll look through the Spring of '99 and remember why I'm here. Maybe, in mid-July, when it's rained for three solid weeks, we're flooding and I'm begging for it to stop, I'll look back on the beginnings of this journal and how the Drought affected us all. I don't know. We'll have to see.

In summary, I write it because I like writing it. I hope you like it too.