like an open book (part i)

donotmy 2nd mole­sk­ine, red with unlined pages

I’ve always kept some form of jour­nal, whether I real­ly meant to or not. I nev­er was one for diaries, per se, or the idea of writ­ing down my thoughts or the events of the day, but it nev­er felt right to not have some­thing near­by to jot down what­ev­er came to mind. There was a point where I car­ried at least three dif­fer­ent jour­nals in my purse at any time. Each one had a sep­a­rate pur­pose: there was one for writ­ing sto­ries, one for per­son­al moments, and anoth­er was a sort of catch-all. I still car­ry one or two with me when I go out, though they’re not always the same one (that’s an entire­ly dif­fer­ent post, though, the amount of emp­ty jour­nals I have...).

My par­ents bought me my first mole­sk­ine when I was 18, and I cried, like the lit­tle elitest hip­ster that I am some­times. They’re absolute­ly an over­hyped prod­uct, but I’ve yet to meet a writer who has­n’t used one, or want­ed to own one, or isn’t in love with the one they have, now in sham­bles and bare­ly held togeth­er by its elas­tic band. I kept my first one pris­tine for the longest time. It took four months before I actu­al­ly wrote in it, and for a long time I made sure not to dog-ear, rip, smudge, or waste a sin­gle page. It was an ordeal. Noth­ing that came to mind was ever good enough to write inside its pages. I had bare­ly writ­ten my name on the ‘if lost, return to’ page before my imag­i­na­tion had wan­dered. I pic­tured myself, decades from now, with book­shelves filled with my own jour­nals, all burst­ing at the seams and dat­ed, full of all my ideas, dreams, and thoughts. Not in a Kevin Spacey in Se7en way, mind you. But I want­ed shelves lined with my life and every­thing in it that had inspired me.

nananaa line from my chem­i­cal romance’s “plan­e­tary (go!)”

I even­tu­al­ly start­ed to do what I want­ed, and more impor­tant­ly, what I need­ed to, when it came to writ­ing in my jour­nals. Pages got ripped, whole lines would be scrib­bled out, I start­ed to write down my favourite words, lyrics, I played tic-tac-toe against myself (and lost), I learned that what I want­ed was­n’t per­fect words, but a visu­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion of myself. Some­thing tan­gi­ble that could scream out for me: this is who I am, this is who I want to be!

portrait1self por­trait from octo­ber 2014

Every time I reach for one of my jour­nals now, I don’t have any expec­ta­tions, no set idea for what needs to be writ­ten in it that day. Some­times I don’t even write any­thing down, I just flip through the pages for inspi­ra­tion. Even at 25 years old, jour­nals are still a learn­ing expe­ri­ence for me and I hope they always are.


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