i've been keeping a diary since first grade, since i could write, and mostly they were filled with scary stories about my best friends and about how much i missed my granny. in all these years and through all of these stacks and stacks of journals, only one person i know of has taken my diary and read it and used it against me, but mostly in the way that he would write rotten things about me whenever he was angry, in a journal of his own, usually while i was in the room. then he would leave the room to smoke a cigarette, with him journal out and open faced. and in his defense, everything he ever wrote i probably deserved and he also read most of one of my most dramatic convoluted journals ever, so it was a strong way to be to keep the secret of knowing my secret life for months, i guess.
once when i was a teenager, my best friend left a journal on my doorstep for my birthday. she wrote a long note on the first page and it was very kind. and manny wrote a note on the side of hers, and whenever i see it's bright cover on my bookshelf, i always think about coming home from a trip with my family and finding that the people i chose to love still loved me, which was very different from the homecoming experience of my only other family vacation. years before, when my family went to tennessee and when i returned home, none of my friends liked me anymore mostly because i was weird and was not into boys so much. my dad would drive me to my bus stop every morning and we would wait in his pickup truck and talk and talk. he would always tell me about how everything would be different. and how a person really needs one best friend in the whole world, he still says it, and he is still right. no matter how rotten seventh grade was and all of the sad things that fill the pages of that diary, the best friend birthday journal arrived on my doorstep only three years later.
very few journals i have given up on deciding it more destructive to finish that not to. deciding it better for my skull to just purge the whole thing, to toss it to the moon, put it in it's tomb on the shelf, and pretend a new year. i cannot do that anymore because i write in day diaries, but i now keep two other side journals for ideas i can obsess over so i do not have to give up the ghost. some journals get too sad too winding too deep in the dark and there is no way to fight my way out of the concept. there is no way to quit the path so i have to become the ghost all together and pretend the path was never there. in more ways than not, this directly translates to how i handle people that have passed through my life. once a really long time ago, when i was on some porch party somewhere in omaha, very young and very broken, someone decided to talk to me about how we pass through each other. some people you meet, on the whole, have absolutely nothing to do with you, have nothing you need except for one sentence that sparks the moment so profoundly, and that moment will be remembered your whole life. and it probably means nothing to the talk talk talker, because it was his line, that first part he had figured out about life, and how dark the world can be, but whatever it was, it is moments like that, piecemeal, that make one so certain that life really is a dream.
this years diary is here. a few pages photographed and put together, which forever what it is worth, is completely different from any of the years before, because my life feels completely different from its previous, dissected and placed upon the shelf. always i have believed that books and people and art and words all come to people at the right time. it is the only thing i have ever been patient about; waiting for the next thing to come. this morning i was watching a very strange italian film and suddenly young werther struck me down and i went through my own library and looked for goethe and could not find him anywhere, so i went to the public library and found the sorrows of young werther and i do not know why it is that i always always relate to boy characters, but reading young werther makes me feel like i am reading the natural parts of my own diaries and looking at my own gardens and missing my own friends. and it came just at the right time. right when the world and the beauty and my longing are all in this simple and tremendous circuit, where i feel like i understand my own art and mind in a different way than i ever have before, and i am still gravitating towards the language to translate its parts.
"You ask me if you should send me my books?-- My dear fellow, I implore you, for God's sake, do not bother me with them. No longer do I wish to be guided, excited, stimulated; my own heart storms enough in itself. What I need are cradlesongs, and I have found plenty of these in my Homer. How often do I lull my rebellious blood to rest, for you cannot imagine anything so erratic, so restless as my heart. My friend, need I tell you all this, you, whom I have so often burdened with the sight of my transitions from grief to excessive joy, from sweet melancholy to fatal passion. I treat my poor heart, moreover, as though it were a sick child, and satisfy all its desires. Do not tell this to anyone; there are those who would strongly disapprove."