Wednesday, February 12, 2014

on keeping a diary

Do you keep a diary? I started mine two years ago as an anti-anxiety exercise. Actually, I've started several diaries, but this one has been the most sustained. It's a document on my computer called "The Journal to Make Things Work", and it's now about 100 pages long - single spaced! Two years ago, as a New Year's resolution, I began to write in it every day.

I love my Journal for so many reasons. A tip for the anxious: it helps! Just the act ("le geste" in French, which I love) of sitting down and doing something entirely for yourself every day is important. For me, writing every night before bed, even if only for five minutes, had this wonderful psychosomatic effect where I just felt sort of untied - released from the anxieties that would crowd up my mind during the day, almost incapacitating me. Within a week, my anxious body (the brain is part of the body, correct?) knew that it would have its own time every evening, so it began to let me go.

Some nights I write a line, not even two. Most nights, a paragraph or three. What's important is simply to give myself that symbolic time and space and to do it habitually.

I began to read the diary of Anaïs Nin yesterday, and wow. So elegant! And honest at the same time. Also true, there are a lot of truths there. One of the wonderful things about keeping a record of your thoughts is that sometimes you wonder, who else has thought this thing, thought this way? And then you encounter that thought from someone else in conversation or in reading or in looking at a photograph, and you can go back to your own record and see the connection in your own words.

To close, below is a quote from my own Journal, one I think is sweet because it thinks about God.

"In Before Sunrise, Céline said God was the space between us. In What is the What, Achak finally concludes that the What is the space between us. I can feel these spaces, too, so palpable the threads and distance. The spaces between us are infinite in the galaxies they hold. So of course, if every other possibility is there, God must be there as well."

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