"I knew from the start that I wouldn't make many friends today."
Hannah Hinchman, from her lovely illustrated book A Trail Through Leaves: The Journal as a Path to Place, writes:
"A long-running journal is an invaluable document, because it records something other than the time-and-goal-dominated anxiety that drives us through our days. We can tease out of its evolving narrative evidence of sub-lives, parallel existences, omens of shifts that won't be realized for decades, recurrences of themes glimpsed periodically through the years."I'm the type of person who not only records the 'evolving narratives' but consults them periodically for those recurring themes: love, loss, longing. A couple of years ago, rather than just randomly read through the paper pages - some spiral bound, some beautifully crafted in cloth, many captured in composition books pasted over with postcards - I began to transcribe them.
Thus began The Journal Project.
I finished 1985, then skipped a decade and typed up 1994 - 1999. Though I didn't edit my voice by altering semantics or syntax, I did delete small passages for fear that the narcissistic prose might incriminate me. Upon completion I took cathartic pleasure in ripping the pages out, to the horror of friends who value the paper and pen as much as I. But it's as if by transferring the record I have also transformed my past and the way I read it. The words, and their meaning, are clearer now.
Maybe someday I'll pine for those pen-scratched words once painstakingly scrawled in some cramped corner.
At least I kept their postcard covers: