In September 1998, my journal (sometimes lightheartedly referred to as “Lord Byron” from a name I gave it in high school) turned 20. I thought of marking the occasion in several different ways. One somewhat radical concept I had involved writing the next 20 years in the margins of the first 20 years, which were all handwritten in huge Mead spiral notebooks. It had a conceptual high art feel to it, but my friends talked me out of it.
A woman I dated in the 1980s also wrote a journal in Mead notebooks, but insisted on writing a pun associated with the word “Mead” next to it on the cover, like “Mead and Podadoes.”
It was around this time that I was frequenting book stores. Remember those? Borders and Barnes & Noble were in their heyday, and had whole sections of blank journals. Some of the journals were fairly plain, while others were clad in the finest Italian leather. Some had faint designs on their inside pages, while others were entirely blank. My pages of choice were simple ruled paper, so I could just write. All of them were dimensionally smaller than the college-rule spirals, which I stuck with for the first 20 years because that was what I had when I started writing the journal in tenth grade.
It was on September 5, 1998 that I made the switch. In addition to smaller paper, I abbreviated the date, which I had always written out in the Mead books.
Upon looking over the transitional period, I began to discover that I was really writing well during that period. At least I thought I was.
February 25, 1998
I wonder if this journal is what sets me apart from the millions who toil like Sisyphus every day, pointlessly churning out paperwork or rubber dogshit or the culture of excess and disease. Or is it my photography? What sets me above?
March 14, 1998
I desire to be brilliant. Ready? GO!
Cynicism is not the answer. Who is happy? Not the cynic. By definition, happiness is the goal. But the definition of happiness eludes us. To believe one’s self to be happy but in actuality being destructive, ignorant, lazy, stupid, or not using one’s potential is not happiness, just the illusion of happiness.
May 11, 1998
The biggest imagination gap: self-image. So many people look and act like complete idiots and believe they are the coolest thing since ice cream. How can you think you look good in that ball cap, that moo moo, that pair of urine-soaked golf pants?
LOOK AT YOURSELF!
Then there were the lists.
Write It Down
The only happy teenagers are the stupid ones.
I am the sky, and I must go home.
What I wouldn’t give to write this page in my own blood.
I would snap you like a twig.
There but for the grace of not being a flipping idiot go I.
I feel that I can write much more honestly now that I have a document shredder for my notes.
Sometimes I feel like I need my anger the way I need my next breath.
“That was very sexy.” -T, after watching me lick salt from my margarita glass.
Never in my life have I been so good at concealing my feelings.
I have written a lot of words over the years. Most of it is drivel. In fact, almost all of it is drivel. Occasionally, however, there is a pearl.