I was talking to a friend that other day about my paper journal and what I write there rather than here. And by journal, I really mean journals, since I have lots of them, scattered everywhere. Paper is a kind of security blanket for me, I suppose. I just feel better when I know it’s close by. Maybe I’ll have a burst of inspiration — a writing emergency! Best to have a notebook of some kind around, just in case.
I don’t have those bursts of inspiration quite like I used to. When I was younger, I scribbled on every piece of paper I came across. Blank paper just compelled me to write on it — post-it notes, napkins, didn’t matter. And since I keep every random thing I ever write, no matter how crappy, you can imagine the scraps of paper, index cards, and receipts I carry around from place to place.
For a while, I became obsessed with good pens and papers. But now, any old notebook will do, and any pen works, as long as it’s comfortable. Of course, I mostly type when I write now — here, and when I’m working on fiction. But the stuff that’s not fiction that I just can’t really write here is all still by hand in the paper journals.
What’s different about what I write here and what I write there? Mostly, what I write here is better. Or, at least, I tend to use actual grammar and sentences and nouns and verbs. That’s one reason I started this journal, after all. I figured the fear of potential readers would scare some literary discipline into me. Not that it’s worked, exactly, but I do sometimes make the effort towards complete sentences. I continue to fail at that occasionally. Clearly.
I would say that what I write in my paper journals is more honest, but that’s not true exactly. I’m honest here. I suppose it’s that if I can’t be honest and write about it here, I don’t write about it here at all. And that’s when it ends up on paper. Maybe I don’t always write about the whole story here, but then, I don’t in my paper journal either. My paper words are likely even more cryptic, since I write them with no thought at all to anyone else reading them.
I wrote a lot in my journals when I lived in my apartment. The more things are quiet and peaceful and still, the more I write. When I lived there, I would take to the nearby hiking trails by myself and bring a notebook with me. Well, I did that until the day I walked out of the apartment and found myself face to face with a bear. After that, I did more writing from the balcony, looking out at the woods.
I was thinking about that old writing and flipped through some of it. The first thing I wrote about when I moved into my apartment was my camel.
A camel is in my living room. The best thing about this camel is that I never once had to wonder if he would be welcome. I wanted him; he was wanted.
I then go on about Herbert, the pig on Buffy who was eaten by teenagers possessed by hyena spirits, so you can see why it’s best that my journal writing mostly doesn’t see the light of day. That entry then ends with:
Sometimes, you don’t know what you want until it finds you.
I assume I was talking about the camel and not the pig. Or the hyena spirits.
I came across another entry, entirely about underwear. See what you’re spared from? In this entry I wrote, “it’s amazing that my drawer is overflowing, since I rarely even wear underwear.” Funny how things don’t change. I was thinking that very thing earlier today. I also wrote about a recent trip to the ER, that in my semi-defense, was in the middle of the night.
When I got there, the nurse gave me the familiar paper gown. “You can leave your underthings on,” she said in a cheerful voice. And somewhere in my pounding brain, I thought, “underthings?” I was wearing neither bra nor panties. And it was then that I realized. My mom was right. You should always wear clean underwear (or, at least some underwear). You never know when you’ll end up in the hospital, being handed a paper gown.
(However, I apparently didn’t actually learn much from that experience.)
You would think I wouldn’t have many more stories about underwear, but you’d be wrong. My scribblings go on for many more pages, including a mention of undies a guy gave me in high school.
These panties came disguised as a rose. You bought these panty-roses at the gas station. Gas station rose panties. What could be more romantic?
It’s not all gas station roses though. Some of it’s fairly heart breaking, if only because I can remember exactly how I felt when I wrote the words. Like my phases of a relationship, which included:
5. Think being wanted is the key to happiness. 6. Never for moment consider what I might want… other than to feel wanted. 7. Fret and stress and do everything in my power to remain wanted, including, but not limited to: catering to demands; taking on any and all responsibilities; changing myself. 8. Feel drained and overwhelmed due to taking on too much and being someone other than myself. 9. Realize am getting nothing in return; don’t even really feel all that wanted anymore. 10. Spend an enormous amount of effort and time trying to figure out what went wrong and change even more into the person that he’ll really want. 11. Say fuck it and walk away.
My rambling writing then goes on to wonder if it’s possible to find someone who would love me for exactly who I am.
I haven’t dug out the old scraps of paper and post-it notes in a while. Those go back to junior high school. And also probably wonder about finding someone to love me for who I am. Well, and have little hearts scribbled in the margins with the names of the members of Duran Duran.
At least some things change. These days I scribble little hearts around much newer and cuter bands.
I’ll likely keep filling up my paper journals with whiny ramblings and rants. They let me give my inner teenage girl a place to have a voice, so the more grown up me (such as it is) can do more grown up things. Like seek out those mature, yet attractive bands.