There is a folder inside my pictures folder on my iMac that’s called “Work for Blog.” No, I’m not standing on a street corner, holding up a sign that says I will work for blogs. The folder is full of images I have scanned or found on file that I decided one way or the other might be the source of a good blog entry.
This blog, and the others that have sprung from it (see here), are all outgrowths of my journals, which I wrote on paper for many years. The journal grew and matured over the years, but one thing remained: I always had something to say. After lots of years and lots of volumes, I rivaled Anais Nin herself in sheer prolificacy.
The journal started in September of 1978, as an assignment for my English II class taught by a young teacher named Gil Hernandez. He was a free thinker, and got me to read Richard Bach’s Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, a feat that might be regarded as politically incorrect today. (Sidebar: as years have gone by, I have liked Richard Bach’s message less and less, and when he divorced a few years ago, he totally jumped the shark for me.)
The assignment in that class was to write three half-page entries a week, which we would turn in and have him grade every quarter. Before, long, though, I was writing a page or more every day, since it seemed at the time to be the one thing I could do really well. But on that day in my first week in high school, I opened my blue Mead spiral note book and wrote…
Tuesday, September 5, 1978
Fantasy. There is a great enemy in my spirit. That enemy lingers on forever, never ceasing to attack and condemn. I am my enemy.
Reality: I have more enemies than friends, I’m afraid. Today I went to the doctor to have my ears examined after an infection. After watching a woman with her eyeballs pointing in different directions, I turned my attention to two children in the waiting room. First one would clap, then the other. Then one would stick his finger in his eye, then the other did the same. These people are not my enemies, but are they my friends?
A strange thing in the weather: rain, but no rain smell. It usually smells of ozone, but oddly today only of the flowers in the field behind the house.
Typical teen angst drama, but pretty deep for a kid who just turned 15, if I do say so myself.
At one point, my girlfriend Tina and I named our journals, and mine ended up being “Lord Byron O’Malley.” (Sidebar: just today I thought to myself, “My first girlfriend was Japanese.”)
In 1998, the 20th anniversary of the journals, I toyed with several ways to reinvent my journal, including writing new entries in the margins of the old ones on the same date 20 years earlier. Oddly, my friends scorned the idea and instead I switched from schoolboy spiral notebooks to smaller hardbound volumes.
As I discovered the dynamic of blogging, and as my penmanship disintegrated in the computer age, I gradually tapered off the traditional journal in favor of the product you see before you. An added benefit is that I can use my photos and words together to express myself, which is a perfect marriage.