an ode to journals.

extremely late to post per usual, from october 2021.

on october twelfth, i finished another journal. i do not have my rubbermaid bin of past finished journals on hand (since it still lives in our portland storage unit), but if i had to guess, this is probably number twenty-something. 

each one has drastically varied in completion time. in the early angsty middle school days, i could plow through the pages of a fresh journal in months. filling the lines with dark poems, hopeless romantic musings, and skewed illusions of the future. 

but this one took over two years. 

sure, some journals are bigger than others. some have lines, some have blank pages, some have dots. some are hardback, some of spiral, some are softcover. but overall, the length of time it takes me to complete a handwritten journal has steadily increased since fifth grade. 

the days of sitting in a dirty college cafe and whimsically crafting stories about the couple arguing in the corner are few and far between. now most journal entries are written thousands of miles up in the air. when i am alone (and without internet). 

like right now. on a flight from oakland back to maui.

and yet, nowadays i must choose. do i scribble in my new cardboard cover moleskine with crisp, fresh white pages? or do i type up something on this blog to keep fueling my father’s super fan status? 

the answer is always both.

buying a new journal is always a fairly ritualistic and meaningful experience for me. as i see pages starting to dwindle in my existing one, the excitement builds. every stroll through the local letterpress shop or bookstore becomes a potentially life-altering moment. sometimes i regret my decision. sometimes i wish there were more pages to fill. over the last twenty-five years, i have acquired some preferences regarding style, paper, and size, but in general, my collection is quite diverse.

the small orange geometric-shape-covered journal that i’ve carried around with me since june 2019 says “you got this” in gold on the front. when i purchased it, i had no idea how much i would need that simple reminder. no idea that its pages would include my mind meanderings over the course of my two weddings, covid-19 lockdown, moving back to hawaii, and starting a new job after eight years with the festival. 

i do not re-read my entries right away. i let them simmer and stew. and then, on those nostalgic likely wine-induced evenings, i revisit past memories, past stories, past emotions. 

what will stand out from this past twenty-eight months? what will be hard to read? what will make me laugh out loud? what will i learn? how did i grow?

what a blessing to have been called to write routinely at such a young age. a chronicle of my life lies at my fingertips ready to remind me of my past, present, and future (minus the one journal that mysteriously went missing in an airplane seat back pocket). 

more than once, my journals have saved me. they have fallen open to the exact right page in the hands of another and revealed what needed to be seen. they have given me a way to make sense of the insensible. they have listened when i didn’t feel like talking. 

today as i filled the first page of my new journal, i felt such gratitude. for the writers before me. for the writers after me. 

and as i went to close my journal and open my laptop, i thought i was going to tell you the story of my twenty mile hike through the haleakala crater. 

but instead, you get an ode to my journals.

One thought on “an ode to journals.

  1. Beautiful! And perfect timing – after years of journaling, first in hand-written books, and later, in notes on line, I was just yesterday contemplating stopping – wondering if I am wasting precious time, writing ramblings no one but me will ever read? You’ve answered that question. Thank you 🙂

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