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  • My daughter Erin sent me this quote:


    Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.

    ~Joan Didion
  • I've been keeping private journals all my life since childhood.

    Inspired by the quote to investigate, I grabbed a journal at random, opened it at random, and this is what I found:
  • From my private Journal, September 24, 1994, Arapaho National Forest, Colorado, on a solo backpacking trip:

    In a strange city of dreams, I search and search
    for my stolen car, convinced I will find it, if I just keep looking.
    The city is not only unfamiliar, but also fantastical,
    tall spires, black black shadows, networks of lonely alleys
    lit only by the faintest slices of skylight. At one point
    in my search, I bend over a tropical creek curtained
    with lianas and orchids to catch colorful fish
    in a basket like an old fashioned tea strainer.
    Meanwhile, throughout, in a rushing river of words,
    in cataracts of phrases I compose a poem
    stopping to scribble it down in my pocket notebook,
    adding the metallic faces of strangers and the cloying scent
    of the gardenias they wear in their hair.

    I am very very cold. The coals in the fireplace are still hot (no, I didn't put the fire out; it was very well contained), so I run around collecting wood. That warms me as much as the fire I build. The sun will soon be coming up over the mountains. In fact, here it comes now, AMAZINGLY bright, because of course, it has already been up a while, but hidden by the great rise of rock.

    Soon I will get out my backpacking stove and make breakfast. I have to cook something because I am out of dry cereal.
  • The private journal snippet is one page of pages and pages and pages I wrote that day alone, as I hiked through the Colorado Mountains.
  • I am currently reading a book that espouses joyous journalling.

    Sometimes, journal writing brings me joy.

    Often, life does.
  • I think both authors can be correct.

    We live with ambivalence and contradiction.

    I am definitely an anxious malcontent and resistant rearrangers of things with a deep joyous streak.
  • The image is of my mother, Margaret and my daughter Sara, manipulated on Photoshop in an attempt at partly representing the dream.
  • I worked on this story over several days in breaks between working on my Fellowship application which is due FRIDAY and I am starting to panic. Forgive, please, my absences.
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