Saturday, April 04, 2009

Back to Basics

I started writing in spiral notebooks the summer after college graduation. I had a lonely, miserable job in the middle of nowhere. That summer changed the trajectory of my whole professional life. The thing that I'd wanted to do for years became the last thing I could see myself doing. My mom sent me writing books and encouraged me to journal, and journal I did. I filled several notebooks that summer, discovering that I preferred wide-ruled ones because when I got into the act of writing my print got bigger and the college-ruled notebooks made me feel cramped and limited. I also realized that blue ink was my color of choice. Black ink has a tendency to make me feel darker and depressed just by its mere presence.

As much writing as I've done in my spiral notebooks over the years, it's never been about the process of creating. I'm not jotting down story ideas or first drafts of poems. I'm rarely describing scenes around me or even doing any people watching. Instead I barf my anger, my pain, my jealousy, my rage onto the page. I almost always only journal when I'm unhappy. If an outsider were to read my notebooks they would probably reach the conclusion that I am either homicidal or suicidal. Sometimes I think it does me good to get it all out. Other times I feel like it might be making things worse by giving me an unlimited space to dwell, dwell, dwell.

So if you're wondering where I am these days and why I'm not blogging much, it's because I'm filling the blank pages of another spiral notebook. It's better that I go back there right now. This venue just does not provide the same outlet for me.

7 comments:

jo(e) said...

I too put that kind of stuff into a spiral-bound journal. I have a whole bookshelf of those journals. It's the writing I do just for me.

Smellyann said...

I hope everything is okay, darlin'. Hugs.

Momma Val said...

I think you are totally and completely normal (at least by my standards). I often feel the same way about writing. I think it's very therapeautic to do that. Though if your dark feelings go beyond what relief journaling provides I completely advocate counseling. I have gone for various things I wanted to talk about for several years now and it has made a world of difference when I needed it. Sending ((hugs)) too :)

*Blogging can often seem less satisfying cause you don't want to bare your soul to the world. Write on!!!

Electronic Goose said...

I also have journal upon journal of "negative" emotions. Hang in there.

coffeypot said...

Sorry you are so upset about what ever you are upset about, but I believe you are handling it in the correct manner. Someone told me a long time ago that the best therapy for expressing feeling you don’t really want anyone to know about is to write. Some do it in short story style, some write novels. There is no right formula; only what aides you the most. Me, I get my rifle and climb up the clock tower…

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Oh dear. That must mean you're very very upset, and I'm sorry!

At one point, I tried writing some of that stuff in unbearable darkness, but the wrong people were reading it. :-(

I keep spiral notebooks too, and I write a lot of that kind of stuff, but also other stuff.

I find that when I transform my darkness into poetry or stories, I feel better about it.

I also discovered this week, looking through my old writings, that I gave far too much of it away to other people--you're probably right to keep it PRIVATE!

On the other hand, too much "dwelling" can call in the spirits of darkness. I gratitude list can help counteract that--after you "spill out some of your bile"--as certain people have been known to say, try writing down some of the things you''re grateful for. Even in my darkest hours, I can usually think of a few. I always seem to be grateful for trees and their grace, for example.

BerryBird said...

I used to keep journals occasionally and it disturbed me how negative they could be. Like you, I tended to only write when upset, and then they upset me to look at again later. I ended up literally burning pages from one, after imagining it being read by others. Eep. I couldn't escape from the certain knowledge that unless I destroyed it, it would be read. Good luck with the catharsis though -- get it out of your system.