In my mid-twenties, I lost a journal.
Number 71, it detailed the death-throes of a young love that was old way before its time.
Sometime in the midst of a wild night, the journal slipped into a river. It might have sunk to the bottom and stayed there, trapped by the rim of an old tire, or it might have been found.
For a long time, I lived in fear of that second possibility. For days, I imagined young kids sitting under the riverbank’s clutches of trees, their bikes tossed aside, reading my words aloud to each other. They smoked their mothers’ pilfered cigarettes and laughed at me.
I don’t know if that happened. I’ll never know.
But losing that journal made me think a whole lot about my collection of paper bound books, each a chapter of my life, its ups and downs, its very private adventures and agonies.
At the time, a couple years before ‘blog’ even became a word, I wondered what to do with my boxes of journals, whether they should be burned or locked away with strict rules regarding their disposal upon my demise.
Funny, how that seems so old-fashioned now. These days, more and more, the personal is the public. Those pretty pink diaries with the shiny brass locks have all gone online.
None of this is new, of course.
But my coming to it is.
You should start a blog, my brother said to me last summer, home for a visit from the States. We were sitting outside, looking out at the blue lake.
A blog, I thought, thinking of that lost journal, those little boys’ beady eyes. No way.
Hmmm. So maybe that’s why they’re so popular, I thought. Maybe blogs aren’t exactly diaries. Instead, they give human beings a way to somehow connect to one another’s thoughts and experiences from far distances, different time zones, separate social circles.
A bit like storytelling. Or testimonials. Or showing oneself, in a way, in a world where we so often feel like invisible bits of a giant system with end goals that are anything but human.
Could be. And I’m sure some Cultural Studies professor from my alma mater has already thought this one all out.
Whatever the reason, I thought I’d try it. A weekly post, ready for Monday mornings, this blog will discuss my ideas and impressions of the big, weird world around us.
But just one thing: any words that might appeal to pubescent boys on a riverbank will never, ever end up here. That, my friends, is a promise.