We write to heighten our own awareness of life… We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely…When I don’t write, I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose my fire and my color. It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.
Drollery has gone off for a meeting this morning and is going to run errands on his way home. Bran is working. Soon I will be getting my keister in gear and setting up for a little surprise anniversary party with some close friends for my sister Cindy and her husband Greg who has spent the last three years battling cancer. We thought we were losing him this past week. He cannot move at this point and is fuzzy mentally, but still has his sense of humor. When the PA asked him in the emergency room Wednesday whether he had any other pain than the one he was complaining of, he replied, “Only the one sitting over here on the other side of the bed.” Speaking, of course, of my sister.
Through many bouts of chemo, radiation, and treatments with an experimental drug, the essence of who Greg is hasn’t been snuffed out. But he is unable to remember much of anything. It is a disheartening thing for my sister. So I enlisted the aid of our homies, and poof! Instant party! Cindy and Greg think they’re coming over to celebrate my belated birthday. 😀 Sneaky, eh?
I’ve bought a pretty frame (the traditional gift for a 29th anniversary) and Drollery and Bran will be taking pictures to see if we can get a memorable one of them to put in it. But as I sat here in the quiet this morning I wondered if I would even remember when it was we did this.
I haven’t written in my personal journal since January. I thought perhaps it was time to stop “hiding” behind it and go experience my emotions. And that has been hard for me. I’ve felt like I’m on a bloomin’ roller coaster. I’m not sorry, but I’m learning that my journal also had a place as a receptacle of sacred moments like these. I’m missing my journal. And I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the reasons I started it years and years ago. This morning I happened to run across the Anais Nin quote above. I confess I’m not familiar with her, but what she said really resonates in my soul.
“We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely…When I don’t write, I feel my world shrinking.” I think I’ve been experiencing that lately. My journal has kept me sane during the times all I’ve wanted to do was cry uncontrollably but couldn’t, wanted to scream at the top of my lungs but felt much too refined for that, have felt so overwhelmed with joy I needed to record it so I could “taste life twice.”
Perhaps not writing was a mistake for me. Or maybe it was an experience I ALSO needed. But the time has come, I feel, to go back to my journaling. I think of all the things I’ve missed recording in the last six months and part of me feels really sad. But life is a learning experience. And now I know how essential those written words are to me. As Anais Nin said, “I call it breathing.”
So for the next couple weeks I want to talk about journaling and find out how YOU feel about it. Do you journal? What do you think a journal is? Is there a difference between a journal and a diary? What is it?
If you’d like to ponder this process with me, to join me on my “journey into the labyrinth” of words, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Or if you find you have a lot to say about what journaling is to you, I invite you to do so on your own blog and pingback to this post. This is one of those subjects I never tire of talking about because it’s been so important to me in helping me to KNOW what I’m thinking and feeling. So if you are so inclined, please do join in the discussion. I’d love to hear what you have to say!
“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”
E. M. Forster
“Writing teaches us our mysteries.”
Marie De L’Incarnation
Anaïs Nin (Spanish: [anaˈis ˈnin]; born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell; February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was an essayist and memoirist born to Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised. She spent some time in Spain and Cuba but lived most of her life in the United States where she became an established author. She wrote journals (which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death), novels, critical studies, essays, short stories, and erotica. A great deal of her work, including Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Anais Nin — anaisninblog.skybluepress.com
Journal — www.pinterest.com
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Please be sure to stop by and visit Cassie Lorentson on her post, Where we gather the tidbits of our souls