Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Old Journals

In my closet, I have a stack of old journals. I've been keeping a journal pretty regularly since fall 1993. It’s sort of satisfying, to look up at that top shelf in the closet and see all those volumes of my accumulated and archived scrawl from the past twelve years.

It would be a miserable task for anyone to read through all of my journals. Much of the content is quite dismal. For example, here’s a fairly typically self-absorbed and spaced out entry from June 7, 1996, soon after I had graduated from college. I was home, sitting on the deck, looking out on the lawn. I am pretty sure I was not on drugs.
lost, with my eyes, in the green noise of wind and sunlight and shadows blowing through the sea of foliage, the white sound of a thousand leaves turning in the wind dizzying . . . .too bright to be real. There is a Sony satellite dish perched on our roof. The forest floor is perpetually autumn crinkle brown – the imbrication of seasons, years, in the cool summer shadow of new leaves flying high above in warm uss of sunny air. Shadows inch imperceptibly toward the horizon across the carpet of the lawn

The best entries, the ones that age the best, are the entries where I transcribe conversations I overheard other people having. If I could draw (better) I probably would’ve sketched out these people. Instead, I have, for example, this mysterious entry of quotations from March 14, 1995. (I acknowledge that it’s a little like one of those segments in “Talk of the Town”.) Anyway, I have no idea where I could have been. I know I didn’t make this up because I couldn’t have:
”There’s nothing really on TV tonight. . . . That 911 – I like that 911. They stopped showing that story, though.”

“I’m not supposed to have coffee now.”

“My doctor told me about decaffeinated.”

“I have $2.50 left, cash for the month. How do they expect you to live on $10 a month? I mean, you can’t live on that.”

“Car go fast.”

“They tell me I should eat a lot of fruit, a lot of vegetables. Hey, I can’t afford a lot of fruit and vegetables. The weeks I buy the vegetables I can’t afford the fruit. The weeks I buy the fruit I can’t afford the vegetables. Back in the 60’s I never had to worry about this. I bought as many groceries as I wanted. We had money back then. I never thought it would come to this. Counting every penny. I guess that’s the way it goes . . . .”

Francis Lebeck

Nancy Delacroix

“No one’s showing up. We’re just waiting around. Like we do at my house – we wait around for a while and maybe one or two people show up.”

One entry is worlds more interesting than the other. There’s a lesson there, somewhere


hh said...

oooh...do you have an entry about meeting mrs. octopus?!
i have a stack of journals too, but i think they are only from 3rd-6th grade (pretty much daily), then intermittently in jr. high and high school. i just remember a lot of entries from the 3rd grade simply stating: "today was boring." ha. how sad. i wish i had kept it up more. now i have one that i force myself to write in when good things happen.

Octopus Grigori said...

I find that the lion's share of my entries are about or produced by bad things. Maybe I am that kind of person.

I do think I have entries from that fateful time.