I started journaling in my matric year. Then, it was lots of fluff- inane and prosaic. But once I got to undergrad English where journaling was strongly advocated, I felt vindicated in seeing my pen fly over the page. When Dew, earlier this week, talked of starting a diary, I heartily encouraged her. I’m not altogether regular in my journaling any more. I pick it up only when mood strikes whereas there was a time when writing in my journal was a daily lifeline. In my journals I collect experience. It’s different to blogging in that here I write mindful of an audience, a cosseting audience, perhaps, but still an audience. In the journal it’s just me, so an inward honesty is demanded. It is also, by the way, how I keep the quotation habit alive-All my journals are riddled with snippets from my reading and contrary to popular belief, I don’t always remember all of them exactly, so when I’m looking to confirm the wording of any memorable snippet, instead of google, it’s in my journals that I go ogle.
Earlier, remembering a Ramadan past, and friends elsewhere, I skimmed through a volume absently and saw this:
There is a peace I find in writing that is absent everywhere else. I am the first to admit that I am not a prodigious auto biographer, good fiction is beyond me, my poetry is amateurish and yet the pen is my only true solace. (9 December 2003)
It made me smile, words for the morning indeed, and so I thumbed through a few more pages and found this:
13 September 2004
A little exercise in one of my English modules asked me to write a ‘story’, or at least, begin one that is called, ‘An old woman reminisces about the past’.
The following is what I mustered:
‘The ink from my journals has faded. I haven’t the courage, anyway, to look at them. They say people who keep journals live life twice. If only that were true. If only I could live once more. No, not to avert the horror of a broken heart, nor even to linger at the feasts of joy. I want only to look at the world with fresh eyes again. I want to meet defeat with a sob. I want to be surprised to learn that everybody doesn’t mean well. I want to stare back, entranced, by the green-eyed man in front of the shoe store.’