Category Archives: From the journals

Instead of ‘now vs. then,’ different ‘nows’ — this now vs. that now

I grant that I have this new publishing approach that I like. That doesn’t mean I should judge others for not having this idea. But after I blogged last night, I thought of a way to explain, a simple way to explain, what I like about blogging just bits of my journal — and not introducing them as journal bits (which is a newer thing — not putting “journal” in the post title, but only at the very end, where I cite it kinda as a Works Cited source). Instead of thinking about moments as “now vs. then” (where “then” could refer to future or past, expected or prior (in the sequence) moments) — instead of that, think of “different nows” — this now vs. that now. Since we live (are alive) only now, we can’t live through — experience — a “then” moment, not directly.  “Then” is an abstraction, verging on story, that arbitrary construct. …

And this “different nows” is subtle but it’s the key, I think, behind why (as to why) I like my publishing of bits — a paragraph or so, each idea as roughly paragraph-length.

I like my publishing of bits from journals because each bit was written at/during a “now” — and so, different writings in any (all) journals pages are just the product of different nows.  … Royko writing his columns at different times, those are writings written for others within a historical (political, cultural, societal) context, written for the moment. And they don’t have much shelf life past the moment. They are merely historical documents. But because I’m not writing to an audience — I’m writing journals to a readership of one (of me) — well, then, it’s ever-present. I think something and then I write it. My ideas are fresh from my mind, and meant to be read only by my mind, at nearly the same time as I think them. I’m not thinking about when my audience will read my column — today, next week, tomorrow, whatever, So since I’m not in time, I’m timeless. I’m not writing to or for any moment but the very present moment, the now, and so somehow the texts seem alive to the reading moment of years later.

Of course, my journal texts are also historical documents. If you look at the date, the text is what I wrote on that date. By extension, it’s what I thought about on that date, and I couldn’t have known then what would happen next. So I do cite date and journal and page at the bottom of my text-selection.

I haven’t gotten feedback from M or Mom or Doug or readers making comments. I’m going on my own interpretation and adjudication. But also, I don’t seem to require others’ feedback. I’m not making a carving that’s smoothed for the public. What I’m making has some sharp edges, and that’s OK. You can touch my sculpture (as an image-metaphor for my blogs of journal bits), but carefully, mindfully, attentively.

And I wondered just now if I were feeling I had to defend myself and my project — nope. Sure, I am publishing these, making these publicly available, but I’m not promoting them. I’m not saying people should come read these. I’m not Disneyland, creating something thrilling (pandering to those who like speeds, scares, through roller coasters, which is most people) and safe (no real risk in riding a roller coaster) — or, there is real risk — ride could break — but the roller coaster marketers want to downplay that, make people feel safe.

I feel I could talk more about my blogs of journal bits — how I’m both putting particular flavor, concerns, specificity into an ostensibly dull, monolithic adulthood experience — and I’m capturing some kind of subtle-but-interesting ideas, interesting not in the history of human experience (or of human written-about experience) but interesting in a subtle way. Maybe my written-in-the-now blog posts also draw readers’ attention to their own present (in that my blog posts are subtly weird, that I’m not participating with new entries in familiar forms, like the one-panel meme is a form, like the op-ed column is a familiar form).

[From journal of Sat., 18 April 2020, Journal 321, page 157-160]

I harmed my reputation with some of those people, largely in an effort, I can now see, to get attention.

I read parts of the cartoons-about-Bush book Bob gave us. It contains Tribune Co. cartoons from 2000 through mid-2007, and what struck me is how much Bush has gotten away with his stupid plans and actions. But then I remembered: yeah, I’ve been wondering that since he got elected. I’ve been wondering every year how he’s gotten away with as much sh!t as he has. And finally the public has woken up to Bush’s idiocy. I mean, you (any person) can do and say whatever rude and obnoxious things you want to, and politicians can — well, the president can — seemingly get away with doing even illegal things— and in truth, the worst — or only real? — consequences are impacts to your reputation. Talk-show hosts like Limbaugh can be as juvenile and crass and rude and insulting to others as they want to be — but other people retain the right to think worse of that person for their rude behavior — giving them enough rope to hang themselves. And there’s not much else to be done. If Rush Limbaugh says something stupid about Barack Obama (or something else — I can’t recall exactly who said what about whom, but I heard about a talk show host who said a dumb, mean, juvenile thing about somebody who didn’t deserve it), we have the 1st Amendment, and beyond libel protections, there isn’t’ much to be done. So you just wait til others pick up on this reputation. I mean, even if people don’t indict Cheney for the things he’s done, they would never put him in another position of power. They might not impeach Bush, but he’ll be remembered in history as an idiot. And in a sense, he can’t do much about that, and it’s good advice to do what you want regardless of others’ approbation. But that advice is better, maybe, for artists and positive innovators, than it is for bullies —maybe bullies should care what others thing.

And as I write this, I’m thinking about my own pot-stirring of years past — at the Daily Illini, … Yes, I harmed my reputation with some of those people, largely in an effort, I can now see, to get attention. I didn’t think I could just be a nice guy. I thought I had to have an edge, I guess, though it wasn’t always that conscious. Sometimes I’d just blurt things out, or I’d feel an impulse to point out someone’s hypocrisy, etc. That’s just who I was back then. I’m more mature now, less critical, but still don’t have many friends where I work. Oh, well.

But this is the thing about Bush — he can be and do what he thinks best. He can take crazy (to me) positions, he can do wrongheaded (to me) things. And well, this is the thing: I’ll think badly of him. But he has long been a polarizing figure. Bush seldom reached out to try to get consensus, or to really convince others of the merits of his position. He mostly just made up his mind and “forget the rest of you.” Books about him have been suggesting that his real decision-making process was, in fact, on the inside (and not just how it appeared from the outside) just a narrow-minded, ideological, differing-P.O.V.-ignoring process.

And so, he can work that way, but then he lives with the consequences — no broad support for his programs, no good favor, no willingness of the people to go along with him — and so it goes. You can be a jerk, but don’t expect others to like you.

[From journal of Fri., 28 Dec. 2007, Journal 95, page 44-7]

I see a bright but indirect-sun lawn to the north

I see a bright but indirect-sun lawn to the north. I was reminded of seeing something in this particular light from when I was a kid, maybe on a garage-sale venture with mom—looking at others’ lawns while bored, maybe in the car.

So, pictures, art, made randomly and randomly chosen to show others might not be efficient but it can be surprising. “Fu*k dramatic tension. I like to watch kids pick daises” was title of one of my blog posts last night. Random editing requires audience to be patient but it can show them things they wouldn’t otherwise see or notice.

So, I had this distinction to make between what Brautigan did and what I do—that I’m not trying too hard to give meaning-(or mood)-packets like R. Brautigan seemed to be doing in his poems. Some artists who work more fully from (or within) an imagined world than I do. They need to pick things to go in their frame. I’m thinking here especially of painters as compared to photographers, who see the world they find and select bits from that. A painter can be like Dali throwing sh!t together, or like a Renaissance painter, throwing symbols together.

The celebrity impressionists (like Chloe Fineman on SNL) pick out, or tend to pick out, a few things the person does—mannerisms, phrases—and Mathew McConaughey’s “alright, alright, alright,” he’s promoted that, or used that phrase himself. Maybe it’s better for an actor to have a catchphrase than to not have one, even if the actor gets a bit stereotyped, a bit boxed into the narrow definition of that actor that’s known to the public.

Dang, I thought I had maybe a deeper point to make about my blog posts vs. R.B.’s.

[From journal of Tues., 26 May 2020, Journal 325, page 26-7]

I know that I would’ve spent more money because I was stressed

I really would like to get out of credit card debt. Getting a raise to do yearbook next year would’ve helped get me more money, and yet, I know that I would’ve spent more money because I was stressed, you know? More buying candy and treats while I worked on yearbook, or after school (as now, because I’m so damned hungry right after school). But also, I’m too tired to do dishes at night, and so we eat dinner out more. I’ve just felt exhausted this entire semester, truly, and I didn’t want that again. …

Teaching wears me out. … So if I’m not worn out, maybe I’ll be able—I’m hoping I’ll be able—to be better rested, keep up with housework, maybe even write in the evenings—I have done that only once since January (the start of semester)! I did it several times in the fall.

[From journal of Sat., 30 April 2005, Journal 49, page 9-11]

I’m not sure I’m quite as subtle as an academic

I’m not sure I’m quite as subtle as an academic. I might be a bit more impulsive, advocating change. And I’m still not sure I’d like academia. … And what I do—this philosophical creative writing—doesn’t quote fit an academic department. I don’t want to be tied to the inquiry areas, have my work approved by—need the approval of others of my work.

[From journal of Tues., 9 Nov. 2010, Journal 134, page 165]

A curriculum doesn’t change for particular students if it’s a curriculum. That is its strength and its weakness.

Up at 5:15, a compromise between 5 yesterday and 5:30 normal. I’ve only got three or so things—papers—left to read. Lord willing, it’ll all be done fine. …

4-5 [period] kids [Creative Writing students] in their responses (read those last night) had lots of good things to say about how much they’ve changed in this class—lots of them said they used to not know … they would not know what to write about, sit and stare. Now they freewrite and ideas come to them—good. (My silly comments like “good” and “I’m glad.”) I wonder what impact that’ll have on the students going forward—will they really use freewriting in future writing projects? I guess it’s really up to them. I almost wrote “I hope so,” but I’m not even sure I ought to say that. I’ve given them this process—well, I’ve explained a writing process, one approach (my approach), to them about as well as I can at this point in time, and maybe that’s all I get paid for, maybe that’s all a class can do. If they use it, if it suits them, that isn’t up to me and maybe isn’t up to them either. This process likely suits some people better than others—no idea, no process, can suit every single person, right? And so it’s not really a good/bad issue whether these kids use freewriting in the future or not. Even L__ C__ wrote that every person has their own writing style.

And what A__ G__ said about curricula—who cares what curriculum says; have kids read books they like. This is exactly the problem with the whole idea of a curriculum—it exists independently of the specific person and her needs and interests. In fact, the purpose of a curriculum is to stand apart from specific students, to be resistant to changing because of the needs of individual students. A curriculum doesn’t change for particular students if it’s a curriculum. And yet, that is its strength/value and its weakness—its independence from the lives and needs and interests of particular students.

See, I know I’ve written things like this before about a curriculum, maybe not quite in the same way. It’s like the conventional wisdom about self-educating, being “self-taught,” as they usually say, which is funny, because if anybody can be self-taught at all, it sorta invalidates the need for specialized “teachers”—those who teach. You mostly teach yourself anyway, or entirely—what can any outsider do but explain questions in various ways? But the line on self-taught [people] is that they can be deep learners, learn in depth, but not usually in the breadth that “curricular learners” are. They get the breadth and the emphasis … that is the conventional mainstream view of most scholars in that discipline, whereas being self-taught, you might leave out/skip over significant (or what others deem significant parts) …

But see, maybe that’s sorta a partial truth, because if certain ideas or events in history (if history’s the discipline you’re studying ) are truly central, then nobody could escape them. The self-taught would keep seeing references to these central events/ideas and, if at all curious, which is the strength of being self-taught anyway, would follow up on those references. If you kept seeing references to Greeks and Romans in your study [of history starting in] year 1066, you’d go back and see how they influenced the results—history of civilization. All the known history conditions the history that follows it. But early in history—”pre-history,” nobody knows. It’s like we all began well into the song already. We don’t hear the first notes ending the silence. We instead hear the notes already, faintly, grow loud enough to rise to our attention and observation—a “fade-in” to the story of humanity—the history. And so, in an sense, we’re all just beginning en medias res.

And then I think about Ted Sizer and his idea about how building a curriculum is just a grad-school experience, anyway. Like the critics picking 10 best films of the year last night on Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air,” the critic’s purpose is to be controversial—that’s the only way he/she is interesting, is to make unusual picks and defend them. Anybody can pick top 10 and the critic sees more films than the rest of us. It’s only because he picks unusual picks and defends them that we listen. If he picked all blockbusters, we wouldn’t care, anyway. And so there’s some of that aspect in curriculum design—make interesting picks, stake out an argument that X & Y topics are more central to the study of chemistry (or whatever discipline) than are topics J & K.

[From journal of Weds., 21 Dec. 2005, 5:45  a.m., Journal 61, page 133-7]

A mind at play: I don’t have to know why I wrote what I wrote or even why I’m publishing it—I can just know that I want to

Let’s see what there is to say about the earlier point—what are the implications of the idea that each day’s journal will resemble the other days’ journals, that they don’t vary a lot in format? Well, a loose, open [format], but still—OK, well, yes, and? I mean, there might not be that much variation—say, as there could be in a poem-try book, say, variety among poems (though Kay Ryan’s poems have a consistent form and other aspects). So, these journals will also likely be calm, in the sense that not much is happening—or, that they’re usually written when I’m in a calm, quiet place and mood—the morning of the new day.

And OK, what else? Suddenly this idea doesn’t seem as powerful as it seemed when I wrote it yesterday—I am kinda pulling it out as a topical notion. I’ve said before that one thing about journal-writing is that what’s more-or-less consistent is my voice. So does each day capture/represent the whole? What’s the value in publishing several journal entries?

I mean, I could take out, select out for publishing, what seems new each day—that hasn’t seemed to work, as it missed the point of the consistency and everydayness. In journals, I don’t need there to be big happenings in order to write them—that’s not the point. I did little yesterday and I’ve gotten, what, 16 pages so far. The journals are daily, are done every day, so in details, they may repeat. I live in same house for years, don’t travel much, walk the dog every day, journal every day—and yet, I didn’t and don’t want to write about the novelty of each day (novel things of each day). I do some of that, sure, but I also write about things I notice—say, like noticing multi-color coneflowers/Echinacea this morning—no big deal to see them but I hadn’t seem them before. But you write about the overall flavor of your life. You sketch a sense of consistency, not novelty—that may be key here. News reports are sketches of/are describing novelty, even if, say, what’s novelty is an exceptionally long duration of sameness (drought, say, or a long time between recessions). It’s boring, mostly, to point out sameness in a topical story. But in a writing of consistency, part of which is pointing out that much of living is routine, we shouldn’t overlook the routine.

And I don’t mean to say that routines matter more than novelty—but that we notice novelty from within a routine? (How else would you notice novelty? If every day is remarkably new, you’re probably in crisis—a refugee, a soldier in war, an inpatient, something). At same time, I don’t want to say noticing small things matters more than describing or noticing big things. I don’t want to make either a priority. I’ve said recently that I want to make looking a priority—as a process (rather than emphasizing product). OK, but that’s not the only answer. I like the intimacy of Thoreau’s journals, and of Pepys’s. Partly what’s great about Pepys’s journals is seeing how the routines (the regular ways of living) then are different from (and similar to) now. Thoreau’s closer in time—I’ve said before I feel closer to Thoreau’s mind when reading his journals as compared to reading Walden (and neither is especially compelling, though Walden makes more claims and thus has more rhetorical force, perhaps).

OK, I’ve been over this territory before. How does this aspect of sameness, routine, consistency of journals, how does this contribute to/affect publication?

The everydayness of Pepys’s and my journals is cool—to be able to look up every date (and not just occasional dates). There’s more of a sense of honesty (along with the intimacy) in writing everyday—in that I’m not holding out and writing only when I think I have something good to say, or some beef/complaint to write, as I did before age 30. Those early-years journals might be more topical and they may convey a somewhat skewed view of my living since they deal only with bigger (or so it seemed to me at the time of writing) issues, concerns, etc.

So, in daily writings, you give up flash and persona, at least somewhat, but you gain honesty of presentation. You’re in your all-together: yep, this is me, this is all I do.

(This week I read Steve Albini’s (he’s the record producer in Chicago) food diary—how he makes a lot of his own food—but also goes to poker games in Indiana, weirdly. Why spend one’s life doing that? Well, he likes it, I guess.)

And I may not want to brag on the honesty of my journal-writings (but the each-day details of Albini’s journal were kinda interesting). I may not want to market the honesty—that feels a false move, like how I’ll always be choosing what to reveal, what to publish, and what not to—or, let’s say, as long as I get to choose what parts to publish, I won’t be revealing it all—the …, the criticisms of …, etc. I mean, I don’t want to lose my sense of social-acceptability, sense of propriety—the sense that I know what to reveal and what to keep private while I live.

OK, but let’s shift the freewrite here—so, knowing I can’t reveal all, and also knowing (well, sensing) that there’s little readership interest in reading all my rawest words—I’m not famous or weird enough for there to be prurient public interest. So, not that I want to overly edit down journals, either—somehow maybe—shoot, not sure where that idea was headed.

So, the model I hold in mind is those Brautigan stories like “Kool-Aid Wino” that are minor but are detailed and which convey a certain sense of setting (time and place) and attitude/mood. But I’m not saying his writings are entirely my model, either. So it’s fair to ask, though, what is it you think is worth publishing, is cool enough that others should see it, about your journal—maybe my sense of calm, my backing off of certainties—my life as a kind of model for others? Eh—but part of why I journal is just so I can let go of my smaller, petty ideas. Maybe I’d like to convey a sense of open-mindedness? Maybe. Maybe I don’t really know what’s cool about my writings—I’m taking it from D__ that my email-writings convey a sense of calm.

But there’s another aspect of journals—that of a mind at play, really. Journal writings, since they’re not focused (like audience-aimed, audience-intended texts are) on accomplishing a certain purpose, covering a topic, whatever, journals writings are freer to, well, go in whatever directions they’d like. They’re like a puppy at play, one thing after the other—Sammy’s 2008 fall list, the list I made of all the things he did in a short period of time. He was so absorbed in the play that he wasn’t much self-conscious—and maybe there’s a parallel here to journal writings. And now I’m reminded of how the puppy isn’t self-aware or self-conscious of being cute—as I’m sometimes trying to be cute and get M’s attention (lately, being cute with blankets at bedtime) but I only started trying to portray cuteness after I’d done some stuff un-self-consciously, naturally, as it were, and M thought and called it cute.

(I hear a tinny song that may be the iced cream dude. I also just realized that I haven’t been tight-chested since getting up from nap. …)

And so I don’t really know if I can be un-self-aware and then also publish those (though sometimes readers might want to have the feeling that one’s writings are self-edited, that they don’t reveal too much. We might feel a little embarrassed for a writer who says a little too much (I’m thinking of that writer who said she consented to … —yeesh.)) So maybe there’s a fundamental distinction here of play vs. work; unpurposed, unedited writings then needing to be edited for a purpose—

and I’m feeling an urge to get up and do something else, but let’s say this (I’m also aware that more, better ideas might and likely will come to me later, when I’m writing or even when I’m not expecting them): that I don’t really know what my purpose in editing and publishing is. I don’t really know why I’d publish these loose-form journals, either (except partly as an urge to build my ego, get some attention, some praise, even if it’s not much more extensive than former students wanting to show it to others, as J__ Facebook-messaged me recently—sure, I can admit to that).

But that I do have seem cool ideas that have come up in the journal writings over time—I could collect those into one volume, but I don’t feel like that conveys the writing life, the way (method, even if loose method) those idea ideas came to me. Maybe I really do want to share my process—I don’t need to hide my work (as that one Taylor Mali poem says of hiding work in English class, hiding drafts). I don’t want to look like some sage lecturer, with all the bullsh!t persona-building that label and that rhetorical positioning requires. I wanna look like a suppliant, a vessel receiving info—well, maybe not suppliant, but a humble person who knows not where ideas come from but allows himself to be humble, open-minded, letting go of certain knowledge (knowledge—certainties) in hopes that new ideas will come. I don’t want to present the tidy story (of the topic-edited tome) and I don’t really want to merely express a mood or attitude through my writings, as Brautigan’s seemed to). Perhaps my editing guideline is: well, I don’t really know why I’m sharing, but I feel compelled to—and so I do it. I don’t need to know what they all mean.

And as I wrote the lines above, I sensed I was editing for topics—”how did those great ideas come to me”—but, no, I don’t think I need to go a-lookin’ for only the great ideas. I think I can assume, for the better method (for the betterment of my method, or as the better method), a not-knowing. I think I may want to, at least on blog (and maybe edit down to a select few later), just throw up journal entries, even if loosely edited and picked at random. Surely it’s a valid point, that routines and repetitions will be seen across many days—and each day‘s journals are new and original, each was a lived experience, and I don’t have to know why I wrote what I wrote or even why I’m publishing it—I can just know that I want to. I’m reminded of talking to P__ about his novel and being surprised and maybe a little disappointed that P__ was so sure he knew what the end-scene of his book [meant]. I thought, you, the author, don’t know how I as a reader will interpret that (I had grown up in the AIDS era and he hadn’t, for one point).

And, at risk of ending this with a conclusion, I think I can safely post things and not worry who likes them—see what happens.

One thing—should I give a topical sort of title and downplay the date of journal? Just because the date is merely a code for organizing it—the experience I had of writing, and the text that resulted, don’t depend on calendar day. It could be that seeing the calendar day is like the distancing feel I get from seeing pics of old fashions and technology—but when I read old docs, I feel closer to those old times, that we have plenty in common.

5:57: After writing around the page and ending here [arrow to the sentence above], I peed and came back to kitchen and opened the Bunny Tracks iced cream I’d got out of freezer and had set on stove a few minutes back. I’m surprised I wrote for over an hour, but I liked the experience—I’ve experienced writing during another hour of my life!

[From journal of Sat., 7 July 2018, post-nap from 2-4:something p.m., Journal 280, page 18-26]

What is wonderful about that cartoon: not the plot but the stuff that could be considered the voice of that artwork

M said the city forces you to interact with other people to get your life, to get done those things you need to get done. It forces you to interact, and as you get sophisticated (or, what getting sophisticated means is), you learn whom to trust.  In the country, rural/small-town life, you already know everybody—everybody knows everybody, for good or ill. Once people know you, your reputation is set, as good or bad. In fact, your family’s reputation is set. There was another part to this thought that I can’t recall just now.

The grinch cartoon was on cartoon network last week. The TV’s guide info described it as a “curmudgeon” who ruins Christmas. The grinch as “curmudgeon”? It’s not wrong, but it’s not how most humans would describe that cartoon. It’s precise, just not accurate. That description misses what is wonderful about that cartoon, which is not the plot but the incidental stuff: the tone, the narration, the songs, the visual style—just all that stuff that could be considered the voice of that artwork, which, as I’ve come to see in recent months (or last couple years), is all that really matters about an artwork.

When you boil down/summarize a story into a plot, or a philosophy into one idea, well, lots of people have told the same plot, the same idea. Few ideas are totally new to human consciousness. But why you would cherish a particular telling of a story or a particular text or a particular writer’s/artist’s vision is for all those less-tangible aspects. Not that these are preset: you might like one artist’s sense of spontaneity and glee, another one’s (Verlyn Klinkenborgs’s essays) precision and … its cold accuracy, it’s precise polished brilliance, which is wonderful, but spontaneity is good, too, you know. “We tend not to do live animation. It’s hard on the animator’s wrists” [approximately] goes the line from the Simpsons where Homer is Poochy. So much of art has the polish, the “high production values” of Hollywood and network shows—professionals—even if the script is pure sh!t, tired dreck—

(pretty, byootiful—well, I was thinking “pretty”-denoting words, words that denote beauty, were themselves pretty-sounding (melodious) words—lovely, nice (but then “nice” is a feint compliment, or a dismissive), gorgeous—whereas words denoting “ugly” are ugly words: ugly (contrast hard “g” to the “j” sound in “gorgeous”), hideous, feo, repulsive—or am I just mistaking connotation for bad-sounding?)

and why I say all this is to defend my own budding belief in spontaneity—how I write spontaneously. Well, maybe that’s not the best word—though Kerouac uses it, doesn’t he?—”Spontaneous Prose“—and Dylan’s line about not wanting to do a 2nd take for recording—”that’s terrible,” as quoted in Beat Reader. The Beat ethic of not editing, though that itself can become an ideology. I mean, I admire Klinkenborg’s precision at times—I found a description (on Amazon) of VK’s writing, …[that said that] his search for the perfect word and phrase shows his love of words. And yes, I know Thoreau supposedly did many rewrites/revisions of “Walden”—and yet, and maybe this is just me, with my perfectionism, but the concept of having to go through multiple rewrites seems tedious. I’m not sure several rewrites are what I need. I tend to overedit and would boil my ideas down to that ridiculous one-line summary. M told me last week that my less-edited, more spontaneous email was better than the second, more edited one.

[From journal of Sun., 9 Dec. 2007, Journal 94, page 37-9]

I could go back and look at my life as a set of crisis points and choices

I do kinda like the idea that I could go back and look at my life as a set of crisis points and choices—that I really could tell my life story through that model, when I’d never really wanted to tell my life story before. I’m not really sure I want to do that now, either, but it feels like a possibility now.  A life story as a set of realizations that something needs to change—(and what observations and expectations were wrapped up in these realizations) and then choices made to reflect those realizations. Now, one nice thing about doing the journal writing I do is that I have a lot of these realizations and re-conceptions (of my ideas about what the world or what my life could be and should be).

I question my expectations and my perceptions and the judgments/interpretations I make about whether those interpretations are good or not—or should be changed.

I watched a little bit of Tennessee vs. Georgia footedball game yesterday, mostly with the TV’s sound off—and, yeah. Yeah.

I come to these journals as I am today, even including whether I’m tired or hungry or whatever mood (I’m tempted to go back and erase pencil marks from previous odd-numbered pages once I’ve pressed them into the even-numbered pencil pages)—and anyway, sit and write 10 more minutes, then you can go, you know? Give it a few solid minutes there—it’s 9:45 now, says flip phone.  I’ll go check on charging smart phone. It could be that I’m too tired to really get into this today—that I have been writing for nearly an hour now (9:48 on flip phone) but maybe I was in a scattered-mind mood. That’s OK, too.

One idea from last night’s bedtime—that I could keep pulling a line or idea out of each journal as I post it, or that I could just say something like, “Here’s what I thought on this day: (Date).”

I do like how this journal looks and feels once it’s filled in. I like that I’ve written so much. I probably could use to nap, after making breakfast now—oh, and pooping.

I feel like there are big ideas I could be having—but they don’t seem to come. And I know that it’s easy for me to get abstract, unnecessarily or unusefully so, when I’m tired-mind.

[From journal of Sun., 30 Sept. 2018, Journal 284, page 227-9]

Journalism writing is about the world, usually, but seldom seems to intersect the world


— Inhaled many times.

— Ate lunch. Read online.

— Went to Book Sale at Library Media Center. I got some books for readin’ and some for tearin’ apart and rebindin’—like the one that’s “Police Brutality: Opposing Viewpoints”—OK, then. Also, “Pornography: Opposing Viewpoints,” with a lady’s legs on cover. Black & White PORN might be just as effective, in a more taboo way, eh? Saw two “Playdude” references in the Season 13 Simpsons episodes last night. One was where Buck (Cowboy) got rid of “Playdude” and Homer grabbed it from garbage.

— I was reading at lunch about opioid addiction in U.S. and how U.S. uses so much more opioids than other countries—50 thousand (prescriptions?) per million people, almost twice Canada (30k) and Germany (25k). And I thought how generic it seemed, that article—how journalism writing is about the world, usually, but seldom seems to intersect the world.

— Had a thought as I lay down 3rd hour about how maybe I don’t need to push my students—that’s not quite right.


[Two teacher-colleagues] in hallway after this hour started talking about some administrator while both looked at LMC study hall calendar on wall.


— Kyle not in his chair—well, the chair has no person, not even a Kyle E.


What it’s like to be alive is—well, it’s kinda what I’ve been thinking about today, or these two are related. As I lay down on classroom floor (northwest corner, out of view of door window [during prep time, to relax my back muscles]) 3rd hour, I felt like I could let go of fretting about what I’m having students in English 2 do. …

[From school journal of 7-8th hour, Tues., 16 Jan. 2018, Journal 269, page 107-8]