There was a time when I journaled every day. Back then I still enjoyed hating my job and I would go home every evening and vent through my fingers, bleed through the keyboard about things that had happened during my work shift. It served as a literary form of alchemy where I took the shit of my life, my daily portion of poo, and tried to transmute it into something meaningful to me. It seemed important that it was a daily process, too; otherwise, I felt backed up. Psychologically bloated in a sense, and it only promised to get worse as time went on. The writing was edited, elaborated upon, I cut and pasted and moved parts around. In no time it lost all sense of coherency because I tried to incorporate all I could into that single piece and express it in the most effective manner possible. With a daily journal of my thoughts, emotions, memories and experiences life fed art without constipation. Pressing “send” or whatever, I could flush the potty of the blog and it eased my mind.
I can’t take my writing too seriously, I have to make that daily deadline for satisfaction to result. I learned this by committing myself to this process for some time — and then abandoning it.
My daily journal entries ceased some years ago due to two factors.
For one thing, there came the day when I realize that the daily grind just wasn’t funny anymore. There seemed to be nothing new — or inspiring, in the very least — under the sun, and to spend an hour or more writing about work every night when I came home seemed to extend the shift of wage slavery into my free time. And without pay. I was taking the hell of the day home with me. This should have inspired me to change my life; instead, it changed only my writing habits. Second, people actually read my blog for some reason — people that I knew in my personal life, which is to say people at work, for the most part. It was not rare for people to react rather emotionally to some of the things I said. A few did not always like how I depicted them in my writing, either.
Despite the issues inherent in online journaling, it has always been more satisfying than a strictly personal one kept under lock and key and for my eyes only. It’s the same way when I’m writing someone a letter: the focus of an audience, be it in particular or just in general, seems to not only help the writing flow, but gives it structure and focus. Maybe that’s why Vonnegut always suggested that when one writes they wrote to or for a particular person, regardless as to who that person is.
In any case, I finally drifted from my blog, which I was by that time posting daily on MySpace, and began a WordPress blog, my “secret blog,” when I feared my girlfriend at the time would inhibit what I wrote on my MySpace one. It did not take long, methinks, till she found it. After we broke up again, and for the last time, I kept the blog going. I stopped writing about daily events, however, and instead solely focused on events from my past, topics of interest, and shitty poetry. I no longer found amusement in my contempt for my life. Eventually, when booze broke into my life, shitty poetry became the bulk of what I dumped in the blog. It was still a form of alchemy, of course, but it no longer kept me anchored in the here and now. It more closely approximated a form of escape.
Since then I have come to realize that I really miss the daily journaling. That it may have actually helped me. Not only as a form of catharsis and process of alchemy but as a sort of anchor in the here and now. With New Years approaching, as stupid as it is, I’ve been considering starting up the practice again — you know, as one of those stupid New Year resolutions that no one ever seems to follow through on.