"We'll see how well I manage to keep this up. Every attempt I've ever
made in my life to keep anything like a diary or journal has been a
miserable failure, but I really wanted an account here, mainly so I could
reply to my friends' posts .... So. Here we are."
And here we are still, exactly one year
later. Seeing as how I've written over 50,000 words into this
journal, I'd say it hasn't qualified as a miserable failure quite yet.
I've been meaning for quite a while now, with honestly no sense of
hyperbole, to write up an entry here on "How LiveJournal Changed My
Life," and today seems as appropriate a time to do it as any.
I took some time today to read over my whole journal. In many ways, it's
been a hard year. A year of death and funerals, a year of constantly
struggling to keep from sinking down into depression. But there have also
been many simple little moments of magic and light, and I worry that those
would have been lost in time, if I hadn't written them down, like so much
of my life has been.
Writing this journal, putting down my life as it happens, has kept me
honest. I try to be as forthright about my failings and neuroses as I am
about my triumphs.
I was friends in college with Kim
Rollins, whose online journal sugar
& preserve is still widely known and talked about years later,
after her journal and her life collapsed, after she admitted that she'd
only been writing the best parts of it all down, that she had serious
problems with depression and dissatisfaction and had kept it all a secret.
I promised myself early on that I wasn't going to do that. This is my
life, the only one I have, and I'm going to write it down. And so far,
amazingly, I don't seem to have frightened any friends away with
Writing this journal has also simply kept me writing. Writing is
like any other form of exercise -- if you want it to come easily, you just
have to keep doing it. If it weren't for this journal, if it weren't for
the practice of writing nearly every day, I don't think I would have sat
down and written a
novel in sixty days.
This journal has provided me with a much-needed sense of focus on things
that actually mean something to me. I started it in the days after
September 11, 2001, at a time when my work and my writing and my life and
everything in it seemed small and unimportant. I dove into this
journal-keeping because I thought I needed to be distracted. I didn't.
I needed to be reminded, that the things I spend my days doing, the
friends I spend my time with, are what truly matter after all.
The biggest change in my life that keeping this journal has made is simply
I'll be damned if my journal is going to consist of, "Heated up a frozen
pizza today and watched a movie I rented." If I'm going to be writing
everything down -- then I'm damn well going to lead a life that's
worth writing down.