This is Tayari’s fault. (I told you. Someone must be blamed. And procrastination is getting tired of my verbal abuse.) Do I journal? This question – and again NOT because of procrastination – made me all warm and gooey inside (Andy, don’t you say a word). I started thinking about those two boxes packed away either under the bed or in the staircase closet…the one American Eagle shoebox that fits the journals from age nine to roughly four years ago (minus the computer journals – which are on my external hard drive)…and the beautiful box Auntie-Mom gave me sometime last year, which holds the “modern” journals.

<time lapse>

My hero

Okay, if you understood the inhuman effort Josh put into organizing all of our belongings in this small apartment (I’d say tiny but. I still remember our first apartment in Capitola.) you’d realize how ridiculously epic this is. I pretended I was willing to go unpack the closet to find these two boxes and came out after – I don’t know – thirteen seconds. So, long story short, I have pictures. And they really are necessary for this entry!

American Journals So, as I was saying – they’re broken up into two collections apart from the computer group. The first would be what I’d refer to as the insignificant ones, housed here to the left. The second is the treasure trove below it, and I’m sure the difference in priority is clearly represented.

Pretty box

Right. Now, as I was saying, I have the journals since my first one. And I still remember the day I got it. Our Town & Country minivan had to go in for something and we went for a walk while we were waiting. At whatever store we entered, I saw this and fell in love. I’d never had a journal other than those thin, coil-bound perfectly square notebooks we were given for free-write in elementary school – which was equally personal proclamations of love for some boy or another and a story ridiculously long for my age and ridiculously plagiarized from Anne of Green Gables. Except my story was set in Nova Scotia! (Still haven’t gotten to Halifax, by the way, but then I’ve only been in Montreal for a month.)

Bear Journal And this is it. My first journal. My godmother had a fascination for bears and I had a fascination with being called Keepsake by my godfather – a nickname I’ve missed since he passed away – so it was a natural compulsion, I guess. The funny thing about this one is that I made myself rewrite sloppy ePochaccontries. So sometimes I had to write something down and only had a crayon (even though nine years old seems kinda old for that foolishness) and would reenter the text below it in more legible writing with a pen or pencil.

Okay, so there are some abandoned ones missing in this collection, come to think of it. People started giving me journals when they realized my obsessive writing. I’d try to write in them and usually discard them when I disliked the thickness of the paper, the cover (my play cousin gave me one covered in Tazmanian Devil toons once) … I was also a bit discriminating about what I wrote in. Which – of course – doesn’t mean anyone else would have wanted the ones I liked. I’m pretty sure I outgrew this Hello Kitty brand long before it was finished. I loved the color and texture of the paper. It reminded me of Dances w/ Wolves. O_O But it cost so much and I saved up so long to get it (having an obsession with this adorable doggy and buying anything from lollipops to printer paper to a mug I still drink out of to have his little face on something more)… I guess my needs in a journal were not impressed enough to stave off boredom.


And no. There is no shame in my game. I loved me some Backstreet Boys. I actually spent my Twirp (ie. Sadie Hawkins) money on a bunch of BSB stuff instead of buying the shirts I was headed to purchase. Thankfully, I didn’t care. Hah. Yeah, in place of those more expensive shirts, I bought myself a load of groupie swag, including the shirt I wore to said dance aaaand my date was less than enthusiastic about wearing a Spice Girls shirt to “match” me. Again. I cared not. It was all about my precious, precious Backstreet Boys.

Then there were my two more romantic journals from high school, both of which Coil Romanceactually came before that senior year purchase. The coil bound one was the first for me of its kind and I absolutely loved being able to have such unbridled space. As much as I loved the one on the bottom – and I mean lurved it, people – I couldn’t help wondering if I’d give up the beautiful binding for the freedom of a coil or twenty.


Lordy, lord. Through most of college I wrote in a computer journal – though the senior year BSB journal made it there with me. I know that when I was pregnant with Ezra and in the months after he was born – when Josh was always working and I was writing Anagnorises and staring down at my quiet boy or taking my then-puppy downstairs where I had to go with him into the grass to potty because he was afraid of the dark – I was writing like mad in my computer journal. I remember making the mistake of watching The Butterfly Effect a week after coming home from delivering Ezra and the end traumatizing me (not that I hadn’t been sick to my stomach already). So, it would seem that I didn’t start writing in a tangible journal again until Bangor in 2005.

Welsh Journals

And these, then, would be the Welsh ones. The small purple one came first – which I bought on High street at WHSmith and first wrote in while sitting in the Bible Gardens. Aaand the guys doing scaffolding on the “cathedral” were catcalling me. Nice. I remember the immediate infatuation and devotion to blank pages from that moment on. I have since not written in a lined journal and I never shall again, mes amis. The cover was brushed and the size was romantic. Loved it. Until I found the one next to it in a shop on the isle of Anglesey. Slate gray – though you can’t really tell and it’s gotten a smidge darker – and wide. Ella Fitzgerald was playing when I bought it and I’d just come from watching swans glide in the moat. Love. I’ll have to go back and do Bangor all over again. Anticipating that we’d be there for several years, I didn’t take nearly enough pictures.

Roma Lussa and Marriage

And the final two in this category: My very first Roma Lussa (laying) and my shared, engagement journal (standing). Of course, these were purchased like five or so years apart, since the burgundy one was something Josh and I wrote in leading up to our wedding and then, throughout the early months of marriage. There’s a picture of the praying hands in the front cover and something about leaving the rest to God. Which is exactly what you do when you get married.

The Roma Lussa raped my senses when I passed it in *cough*Borders*cough*. And I swear I’ll never purchase anything from there again until they publicly apologize for their bookstore ghettos. But it literally made me dream of it until Joshua went and bought it despite my mourning over not wanting to spend that kind of money on a journal. I. Have another one – which is my present journal, but I didn’t buy it! So, it’s all good. And I’ll never go back, did I mention. It’s a bible, people. It’s unlined, it’s by Cavallini & Co. The pages are handwoven and the edges are marbled. The entire thing is handmade. It’s decadent. It’s arousing in every way possible. *Gush* I want to go write in it, but first I have to show you the marbled edges on the two I own.

Red RomaBrown Roma I heart. The next one I’ll be needing is this burnt orange color and, believe me, they get even more gorgeous with age. The oils in my hands have turned them even richer colors.

I heart. These tomes.

And finally – because I am entirely indulgent tonight – here are the two writing journals I use, in which I “sketch” and investigate when I need to write long hand. I have cured the basic problem with Composition Books, you shall see.

Writing journals

Oh, maybe you can’t see. It’s lots and lots of reinforced tape along the binding. 😀 And please don’t put too much emphasis on the fact that I have purchased one moleskine in my life. It will probably never happen again, but the thickness of the page works well for practicing calligraphy…which I haven’t used it for but that is a good justification.

And that, children, is why Bethany didn’t finish editing in time for the Bellwether deadline!


7 thoughts on “Gush.

  1. Wow, that is a lot of journals. I think I have at least one of those black mead college style composition books from your last shot… but other than that, IIRC, all mine are just those crummy cheap-metal spiral thingee notebooks that fall to bits when they get old.

    And they are old.


  2. Now that I look at it, I do recall discarding more than a few that I never really got into. I’ve only in the last ten years not been able to part with something I’ve written down. Because I have no idea why.


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