I have made three or four attempts at keeping a paper journal over the years, abandoning each effort out of a vague feeling that it just wasn't me. I am uncomfortable recording details of a day as if I am charting my movements, and I suspect that a checked-off agenda is meant to satisfy a need I just don't have. I am not interested in a chronicle of my activities, or even of my feelings. By themselves they remain largely irrelevant to the present. What does interest me, however, is how I've synthesized the occurrences of my life, how I've interpreted them. What filter did I select? How did I light the experience and where did I throw the shadows? I find value in seeing how I tried to shape my experiences into a vessel to hold the story. It's not so much what happened, it's what I did with what happened. In later review I gain greater regard for the effort and, more often than not, I get a better glimpse into my shortcomings.
This kind of examination sometimes helps me choose which experiences I'll have, when choosing is possible. I can take a more purposeful approach to an event with confidence born of a benign ulterior motive, and it helps me find a good setting for distance or engagement. This is why I don't write here every day. I enjoy the craft so much that I wouldn't have time for much else and, as I've said, while a daily account may feed one type of hunger, I am unconvinced of its nutritional value to me.
A long time ago I had a girlfriend who kept an extensive journal. Notebook after notebook stood on a shelf in the living room of our apartment, evidentiary exhibits of a life, our life, all lined up neatly, locked up tight on only the promise of respected privacy, and I hated them. On many nights I felt her journal was my rival. After we'd gone our separate ways, journal-keeping was spoiled for me for a long time, merely because of that association. Consequently, my life is now strewn with confetti, small notes scribbled on a whim and left long ago in a shoebox or slipped into an orphaned folder. Running across them again is fun, but they are hardly a clear record of the arc of my life.
For me, the online form is a different tool altogether. When I named this journal Evaporation it was meant to illustrate my hopes of what I wanted for my own expression -- to find egress for what confounds me, air it out, and convert it into another form, perhaps to discover that the matter had some unseen properties. In the process I've found that its public nature has helped to illuminate some needs I still will not admit to -- that I want more love than I have, more presence than I need, and more respect than I deserve.
"Ben Pawns His Rolex/Sera Talks To Her Shrink" -- Nicolas Cage/Elizabeth Shue -- LEAVING LAS VEGAS: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK
"Although this work is a History, I believe it to be true."
- Mark Twain