With this journal entry begins my experiment with “publishing” it (scare quotes very necessary). The journal, that is. I swore I’d never blog anything because I dislike the idea of yammering into an otherwise public space for the sake of, what? – hoping some board person-of-influence will stumble across my unedited, spontaneous bloviations? Bloviate: to say or write whatever comes to mind without heed to quality. It’s a neologism.
Knowing that I intend to post this inevitably affects the nature of it. That is to say, after ten years of unhindered, almost daily journaling – quoting authors, pasting pictures, repeating myself ad nauseum, none of it with permission – now I’m tasked with regarding my writing’s appropriateness. For public consumption. So be it. Maybe I’ll leave the cuss words in, maybe not. Maybe I’ll continue to quote authors (always I’ve properly cited their work), maybe I’ll post the bibliography, I don’t know. Like I said, this is an experiment. Which is to say it could be yet another fiasco and I’ll go back to private journaling.
The journal up till now has been entitled DAY OF PIGS (hereafter DOP), a silly, otherwise meaningless, merely off the cuff play on words and working title that stuck. Why change it? Ten years and thousands upon thousands of pages. I’d guess I’ve averaged 700 single-spaced pages per year. Some years, the early ones, closer to one-thousand pages per year and others, when I was employed or trying to run my own business (I used to own and operate a food cart called Humble Hogs – the grilled headcheese sandwich or hoagie, as I termed it at the time, was our signature dish) closer to perhaps five-hundred pages. Who cares?
Since I dislike the idea of blogs – the unedited puking of one’s thoughts – or blogging or even the word “blog” – how ugly can a word get? – but have surrendered at least temporarily to the suggestion that an author has to have one, I considered the tossed-off compromise of posting my old DOP entries. Hell, with ten years worth, why not? But then I still journal and if somebody actually came across these posts – I hate that word too by the way, can it get any blander? – then perhaps I could convince myself that I’m building the so-called author platform. Ugh, these unsightly, overtly commercial terms. Bear with me, dear reader, for I am new at exposing myself like this. It ain’t going to be pretty.
Why do it, then, if I hate the whole idea so much? Because I’ve written and indie published a novel, TIME CRIME, and it’s not selling at all – no surprise – not because it isn’t any good (see for yourself) but because I’m just another of the zillion wannabes that writes and publishes without a platform, without a public persona or image to entice anyone to read my work, let alone buy it. How to break out? How to rise above? How to get read and bought? After all, we writers, even if we consider ourselves private writers, aren’t. Private writers, that is. Who is? We write to be read, I don’t know why. Hence, during all the years of indiscriminate journaling I’ve been writing to nobody but really I’ve been writing to my ever-present reader or readers – the intangible essences of folks that exist, somehow, in my own head. I write for myself but I write for them, too, whomever they are.
I won’t get into why I don’t call it a diary except to say that to me, a diary is an intensely and intentionally private confession and, as Joe Campbell once said, who needs a confession besides a priest? A journal can be confessional, it can be auto-therapy and self-work but we’ll get into all that later. A lot of us find solace in words. Many of us write our way through things, we write our way through our anxieties and suffering. We write to transform ourselves from who we are (or who we think we are) into who or what we want to be. Jack Canfield wrote a book describing in his way how to, as he subtitled it, How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. That book, which my wife Angie passed along to me (ten years ago, of course) contains much straightforward wisdom and while it lacks the intellectual rigor of folks like Campbell – I’ll try my best not to wear folks out with my references to this man’s work but suffice it to say that he remains a driving force in my thinking – everybody needs a mentor and most of need heroes, be they dead or alive, so be it, he’s mine.
Who and what am I trying to transform myself into and where do I want to be? I want to have the experience, as often as possible, of being properly alive. The only way to do that, from what I’ve learned, is to be who you are. Years ago I coined a neologism, namely, veritelos, containing the Latin veritas (truth) and Greek telos (one’s nature) to capture the idea of one’s true nature. It fits conveniently within my ideas, none of which are particularly original – who’s really are? – of personal mythology. One’s veritelically authentic personal mythology, hereafter VAPM, is the expression of all this, of having the experience of being properly alive by way of being who you are, come what may. And now I’ve provided the nutshell review of ten years of journaling. Which doesn’t feel like a conclusion as much as a beginning to me, which leaves the door open, for now, to keep at this, to keep journaling and posting the entries for as long as it makes sense. Everyone’s like is a story, some of us get help with our own version by way of reading about somebody else’s struggles. So be it. I have the novel (which is, so far, a tetralogy) and the journal and both are stories that are all I have to offer; they are me doing my best to contribute and participate, to be who I am, and the only way, at this point, to see if anyone else finds any use in any of it is to, heaven help me, blog it and let the world-of-action (versus the world inside my own head) be the judge.