There is something special about a journal. First, the outside. I lean toward elegant, leather-bound, gold-leafed ones. You know, the fifty-dollar kind that begs for a fountain or a calligraphy pen. The kind of journal that others write in. Because not only am I cheap, I am messy - and it seems a sacrilege to deface such pure beauty. The other type of journal I like is the natural type. You know, peeled from the bark of an obscure tree by an indigenous person from an exotic place. The pages are lumpy or maybe striped with foreign plant parts. They have leaves or flowers or carvings on the outside. Just looking at them makes me yearn for new experiences to write about.
You see. All my life I've wanted to write. Stories float around in my head and in my dreams. Poems and phrases come to me keeping my children amused or exasperated as I blurt things out at not always convenient times. (My youngest, a most conventional nine-year-old, is often embarrassed.)
I have bought or been gifted with journals. Yet nothing. Nothing but blank, empty pages. My most recent was a gift from my best friend and fellow journal lover. She actually uses hers and people grow from reading her stories. Some even pay for them! So, as a best friend who encourages my dreams and pushes me to follow them, she gave me a journal. One of those cool beaded ones. Just the right size to take on vacation. To take anywhere in fact. So I have. For a whole year. The outside is getting a little worn. The inside is still clean - waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for courage. You see. I want to wait until I get it right. No crooked letters, misspellings or strikeouts for me, thank you very much. I want to write perfect rhythms in a perfectly punctuated pentameter (not that I know what that is). I want to write profound thoughts to share. Because I never had a thought that I didn*t want to share! Thoughts and words are my passion. But what if, dear Lord, what if they laugh? Or worse, ignore this carefully created part of me? The nebulous "they" who stand in judgement of anyone who dares to try or to dream. "They" have stolen my dreams yet unbirthed - but no. My friend reminds me no one can do that. Just write, she said. Look at mine.
I did. Her journal is full of scratches(albeit artistic ones, she's an artist) and, I'm sure, tears. She has taken those thoughts and tears and turned them into treasures. Those wonders of thoughts that encourage, up lift, convict, rip your heart out, build bridges and understanding and on it goes. I am blessed for it. As others are.
It doesn't matter she tells me if no one ever sees it - but they will. If no one ever likes it - but they will. Maybe, someday they will pay for it - or not. What matters is to birth the dream.
So today I bought a new journal. It is green like the new green of spring with a real leaf embedded in the cover. (I'm still saving yours my dear friend - that will hold my favorites.) But today I grabbed my courage and wrote in my brand-new journal. Tonight I will send this to you with thanks. Because, Lena, you have helped me dream again, one of my lifelong dreams.
"Write, "she said. So I did.
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