I give credit to my first grade teacher for instilling a love of journaling. It was a Steno notebook, which I still have and take out when I want to prove to my kids that I had a legitimate dream of joining the circus as a clown.
Since then, a little notebook next to my bed at night has been a constant companion for most of my life. It brought me through all of the ridiculous drama of my early teen years and the miserable years that most people know as “high school.” In my cleverness and having taken a few years of German language, there are pages and pages of my deepest darkest secrets all scribbled in a foreign language that my parents couldn’t read even if they tried. (This is when I wish I had remained fluent.)
My college years and the questions that come with the unavoidable task of growing up are well documented, complete with my most favorite entry. “There’s a new guy in the geology class I’m assisting with. He’s cute.” That page is living proof that the idea of love at first sight really happens, and we’ve got over 16 years of marriage and three fun-loving kids to prove it.
With all of this growing up, I found myself having less and less time to write about the happenings of the day. What few entries there are, are all scribed in illegible chicken scratch at the last few seconds of my day before exhaustion took over. At some sad point in my life, I realized it was more important to feed my family and make sure we could find a clear path through the house than to log the day’s happenings or write fairly tacky poetry about dreams and feelings that speckled my youthful journals.
From time to time, when I had a decent story to share about what was going on I would write out a letter in digital form and email it to the friends I had accumulated along the way. “You’re so funny, Karrie. You should write a column in the newspaper.”
Part of me questioned if I wanted to share my life with so many, but the other half of me knew that logging my life with weekly deadlines might be the only way to actually do it.
And that’s how it all started, over ten years ago.
Since then I’ve let those unfinished journals collect dust instead of my memories, which now lay in shoe boxes in the form of newspaper clippings. But old dogs can remember their own tricks, I think, which is why my new year will be met with the challenge to find time for both—a story to share with all of the many friends I’ve met through these printed pages, and my very own notebooks filled with sleepy handwriting.
It may be one sentence and not as deep and profound as I used to think I was, but they will be my thoughts, my life, my daily ups and downs and if I’m lucky, a whimsical clown dream every now and then. In English.
Originally written 1.3.15