Hello, my big friends and strangers.
If you know me, then you probably know that I come with a constant stream of thought and sound. For this, I apologise, but I also must admit that it cannot be helped. You see, I cannot quite find a way ever to shut myself off. I talk and talk, even though I’m saying things nobody should hear. I’m often saying things that are important to me, and I’m trying to remember what they are. I am constantly burdened with the knowledge that many of the ideas I churn through on a weekly basis will never make their way onto the page because I’m going to forget what they are. I am similarly concerned that any breakthrough I have about myself, the way I think and feel about the world and others, will be lost, echoing around in empty rooms where I can’t snatch them up again.
When I think backwards, as all men with the capacity to stroke the beards on their chins must sometimes do (for facial hair is a key to introspection), I am often surprised to find that I am a stranger to myself. Life is change, and so I am changed, and I sometimes cannot quite connect who I was at ten, to who I was at fifteen, to who I am at twenty.
Who was that idiot child? What on earth was he thinking?
So last October, I decided to start a project that I hope will last the rest of my life.
I began to keep a pocket diary. If you see me now, the chances are that in the back pocket of my jeans, or the inside pocket of my jacket is a pen and a small lined notebook. On the inside cover of each, is a number, and the date I started that volume
My very first book reads like this.
Notebook 1. October 14th, 2015 – January 22, 2016
And on, and on, right up until today, when I opened the 6th volume of my journal and wrote this
Notebook 6. September 9th, 2016 –
When I finish it, I will add an end date.
So what am I doing with these little books? Well, I am keeping a semi-complete record of my life. These books are multi-purpose. I keep dates, and school notes and coursework wrapped up in their pages.
Along with story notes and general reminders, and actual diary entries about my day or week. Over time, this has progressed from me only writing ideas for title chapters the vaguest of general notes, to writing entire chunks of stories, and drawings and concepts to be typed up later in crisp, clean computer font to accompany the messy insanity of my handwritten words
And finally, I began writing actual diary entries about my day or week. I am inconsistent in filling out the pages, some days nothing, sometimes a huge chunk of paper gets used up. If you’ve ever said something strange or off-kilter to me, chances are you are in here with me too.
My diaries are a strange mixture of me talking to some imaginary figure and the agenda of a sane individual. Though I continue to write the word Notebook on the outside, I have long since admitted in the pages that these are all volumes of one massive diary. But even then, I have also long since stopped referred to my books as diaries. I have never once written dear diary on the top of a page. Nor do I write down the date of entries, allowing each book to appear as long flowing thoughts with cut-off points of my choosing. Sometimes when I speak directly to the book, because of course for me this is just one more person to talk to, I refer to it as my little friend.
Interestingly, I have found that in keeping these books, my memory has significantly improved. So, I think, has my temperament. No longer do I walk around with too much information bottled up inside my, liable to spill out and explode at any given moment. Writing is a record, and it is a hobby, and it is therapy. This is just as true with my pen and paper as it is with my keyboard, maybe more so.
I decided that I would write this up and share it, because as I near the end of the first year of this project, I thought it only fair people have a general idea of why I am always scribbling away. Some people have occasionally asked if they can look in and see, and I always say no. Because it doesn’t belong to them. So I thought, just this once, I should share and explain myself. The photos above are snapshots of each volume, in no particular order.
I have begun the 6th volume of my little friend. Unfortunately, only five volumes have survived in total. It is volume 4, which was lost somewhere out there, in the heat of summer. My heart makes a sickening thud in my chest when I think of it.
But I still have volumes 1-3, 5-6. When I near the end of volume 6, I will buy volumes 7 and 8.
I like to think that maybe after I die, someone will go into a little room somewhere, open up volumes 1-500, and say what people have been saying to me whenever I open my mouth or write something down all my life.
“What the hell is he talking about?”