My Journalig Habit

Journaling satisfies my compulsion to write and keeps me sane. The first of 24 volumes dates back to 1979. It’s not exhaustive — I’ve sometimes gone weeks and even months without adding a word. Since Andy died, I’ve been writing at least two or three times a week.

I’m not trying to document my life for posterity. Leaving behind a record for whoever might be interested is not the point. In fact, finding a way to make every volume vanish when I die (Mission Impossible style) tops my bucket list.

Over the years, preferences have evolved into idiosyncracies. The journals themselves have to be the right size. Lined pages are required. The last ten or so volumes had black leather or vinyl covers.

The only pen I’ll use is a Bic Gelocity with blue ink and a medium point. For years I used the classic Bic pens with the clear case around the ink cartridge and a removable cap the same color as the ink. I switch from black to blue ink (never other colors or pencil), but always pick a medium point.

When I journal, the pen somehow taps directly into my brain. The stream of consciousness flow doesn’t stop until the download is complete. There are no filters, do-overs, or torn-out pages. The only edits are scratched out words here and there.

Between my Advanced Macular Degeneration and (gradually) declining motor skills, reading my journal is nearly impossible. I suspect anyone else would have trouble too. That’s fine. I almost never read old entries, and the mere suspicion someone might be sneaking peeks disrupts my process.

A digital format wouldn’t work. The abilitly to edit is the difference. It’s too easy to make changes — both as I write and weeks, months, or years later. Sticking to pen and bound journals keeps me honest.