13 November 2016

Notes on journal-writing (excluded fragments)

(I wrote something about journal-writing for this month's issue of GIST. The theme is fantasy—keeping the magic alive. These are some of the fragments I considered putting in the early drafts.)


Keeping a journal, along with exercising and eating healthy, always pops up on our New Year’s Resolutions. We know of its benefits, but we fail to follow through. A common complaint is, “What’s there to write?” And yet, we also say, as a blanket excuse for our failure to do the things we hope to do: “I don’t have time.” If you’re using up all 24 hours of your day, then you must have a pretty exciting life to write about.


“I can only write when I’m sad,” said M, a new writer friend, echoing many a writer wannabe. “Have you tried using your imagination?” I said. He wasn’t pleased.

“Let’s say sadness is a requisite for writing, then you shouldn’t have any problem at all. The world is full of it!” continued I, in my head.

“Inspiration is for amateurs.” —Chuck Close(?) Will check later.


Rereading a journal entry written with an 11-yearl-old’s handwriting, depending on your mood, can either be funny or pathetic. Although count on it to always be enlightening. Materialism gives way to philanthropy; 'wanting to have' turns into 'wanting what you have'; falling stars don’t make dreams come true.

The master said You must write what you see.
But what I see does not move me.
The master answered Change what you see.

—Louise Glück, Vita Nova

There's eating, there's sex, there's music, there's video games, there's reading. But have you ever experienced the pleasure of thinking? Really thinking? Ideas having form, getting in and out of an actual train of thought, convincing yourself otherwise, landing on a new plane so different from where you lifted off.

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