I’ve given up on NaNoWriMo, once again–although I cleared the metaphorical space to work on a novel this month, my muse has, as yet, declined the invitation to show up. This is not unusual; my muse is not one to perform on demand. He/she is fickle with his/her attentions and requires much romancing and pining from me to return to the writing table after an absence.
Because I am bereft for things to write about, I started carrying my journal in my car. So far, the only in-transit idea that’s occurred to me is regarding the journal itself–so I guess I’ll write about that.
I’ve been using this same journal for almost six years now. My writer ex-bestie gave me it to me, but that’s not why I keep it–girlie gave me a journal for pretty much every Xmas and birthday that we were friends (like, we’re writers, I get it. Clever.) It’s that I’ve got a very mild OCD-ish need to finish things that I start, and this one still has empty pages. Also it’s a Moleskin, and Moleskin makes damn good notebooks.
At least I think it’s a Moleskin: the cover page with the logo and “return to” inscription has gone missing. Also the inside spine is broken. The thing is showing its age. Still, it’s holding together pretty well (Moleskin!)–unlike that friendship.
The computer is king these days, but journals are good for scribbling ideas at traffic lights, taking cartoon-littered notes at workshops, jotting down titles to read, etc. This journal comes with me to most critique group sessions and to the occasional coffee shop getaway. Once I left it at the dive bar where they hold one of northern Delaware’s only open mics. One of the other attendees picked it up and held onto it for me (the “return to” page was still intact then). That’s how I got to meet former Delaware poet laureate E. Jean Lanyon (we hung out in her kitchen!).
The earliest entry in this journal is me rambling about not knowing what to write (seems familiar). After that is a scene from a story that’s gone on to be published twice *and* produced by a notable SF podcast, so I guess I should take heart from that. These dry periods don’t last. My muse always comes around.
But in the meantime… since I still haven’t thought of anything to write about (where are you muse, you finicky bitch), I took an inventory–not of what’s written in my journal, but what else is stored in there. To wit:
- two Traditional Medicinal Tea box inserts featuring quotes: one by Rita Mae Brown and one by Roald Dahl
- an article on former Delaware poet laureate JoAnn Baligit with an unfinished crossword puzzle on the back
- a 2013 Holiday letter from E. Jean Lanyon
- a micro chapbook by Singapore poet Christina Sng
- business cards for Delaware writing tribe members including: Maria Massington (writer/performer/Event officiant), Ramona DeFelice Long (writer/editor), Patrick Derrickson (SF writer), Terry Griffin (Delaware Literary Events coordinator), Justynn Tyme (Creative Director, All-Out Monster Revolt), Maria Keane (writer/artist) and E. Jean Lanyon (plus one for the Delaware PKD Foundation Coordinator Carol Soha)
- a post-it note with the Kinglet’s DPBH case manager’s info
- a promo card for Undoing Winter
- a raffle ticket stub (?)
- a promo card/ bookmark for last year’s Hockessin indie Art & Book Fair
- a loose leaf paper with the email address of the guy who recruited me to play Anna Akhmatova at a poetry/performance event (the evening my daughter was conceived)
Nothing earth-shattering here, no pearls of wisdom (I’m in the midst of a creative dry spell after all). I just find it interesting how a journal can be not just a thing to write in but an actual creative space, as personal as the person who writes in it. Because a journal stays with me so long, it becomes more than just a notebook–it’s also an archive, a scrapbook… a time capsule. Flipping through it, one could probably learn a lot about me by what I have pressed between the scribbled pages–or at least, one could learn about the writing world I move through.
What does your journal say about you?