Monday, May 27, 2013

ars poetica

john thinks journaling must be an addiction.  he will tell you a story about a woman who beat her drug addiction by journaling and now promotes her book that will teach one how to journal.  whether john actually saw this story on oprah or cooked this one up himself, i'll never know.

i have stacks of journals.  piles.  i talked to my mother the other day as she has been going through the library of books i left in alabama when i moved to oregon.  she found a cache of journals among all the other volumes; she told me she'd save them for me.

these journals contain a lot of entries about the purpose of maintaining a journal.  how do i justify this habit?

a part of me believes (perhaps falsely) that in writing this daily monologue, in noting these quotidian details, in indulging this compulsion to record i can glean some meaning from the culmination of events, that i can sort out my thoughts and experiences and emotions and all the rest of this meaningless bullshit and be left with a revelatory web, a pattern i can apply to the future.  i believe in this mathematics of memory.  my memory impacts and affects my experience now which compounds to affect a future present.  memory snowballs and collects like interest.

psychoanalysis breaks apart memory to find the missing mental component or malfunction buried underneath strata of memory and habit.  i think i journal for the same reason: i want to be able to pick apart of the calculus of experience, to understand subsets of memory, trajectories of effect.  that i should think of that man then when i love this man now and how then will i love another?  that china considered itself as center of the world, then a non-aligned, third world, and now again an economic superpower - how then will it be?

honestly, john may be right.  journaling may be just a compulsion.  it doesn't help me predict the future.  it is not a crystal ball.  it's not even an effective psychoanalytic tool considering i continue to fall into the same mental traps year after year.  i've been keeping a journal since the age of fifteen.  what would i do with all that time if i stopped now?

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