Saturday, January 21, 2012

Writing Home

I have a journal.  The binding is coming apart at the bottom, and the attached silk bookmark is smudged with ink and tears.  The cover was once a soft, suede-like blue, that has now faded in the sun into a stained, grayish casing of a hodge-podge of memories, sketches, writings, and a piecemeal view of my thoughts and feelings from the last eleven years.  Yes, that's right: eleven years.  I obviously don't write in it very often, but when I do, I know there's a reason.  Obviously, it's been pulled out over the years during breakups and big life changes, but there are some entries that I look over that seem to have surfaced from the most mundane of life's circumstances.  Pages are scawled in harsh, black ink; entries full of profanities about an injustice I felt I had endured that in rereading, I actually have no idea what it was I was so upset about.  At the time, I'm sure I couldn't have imagined a day when I wouldn't remember what it was that had set me off.  And yet, here I am, six, seven, ten years later, writing in the same diary, beginning each entry with no preamble or real point.  I just write.  Much like I do on here.  So maybe this is cheating, but I wanted to share a writing sample I found tucked in the folds of my journal from late summer of 2009.  I helped run a pre-orientation program for Smith my junior and senior years, called Inward Bound.  It involved a lot of yoga, interpretative dance, writing workshops, circle time, and other mushy-gushy, feel-good, very, very SMITH kind of things that were all designed in an effort to "center" new students before they got tossed into the hell-hole of their first year.  Anyway.  We had a writing workshop, and a prompt, and we were instructed to write for fifteen minutes, using the following words:

August, passage, wire, winter, shadow, curtain, beginning, departure, against, scrub

Here's what I wrote:

She stands, motionless, at the pasture gate, watching the August sun set over the Montana ranch, the wire fences running for miles in all directions.  Her mother's approaching shadow stretches comically far across the dry, rain-starved grass as she comes to stand by her daughter's side.  "You won't be here to watch the winter storms this year," she says bluntly, trying to convey just how much she'll miss her only daughter.  "Though I suppose this departure is really a new beginning for you, you'll get to start on a whole new passage of your life!  And we'll see each other when you come home," she adds, as much for herself as for her daughter.  The young girl pushes herself roughly back from against the gate, the contented look on her face scrubbed away as quickly as a curtain closing in a room.  "Home?" she says.  "This isn't home."

5 comments:

Noelle {Aloud} said...

My journal is similar: genuine "journal entries" mixed with lists, notes from various doctor's appointments, writing workshop tid-bits. There's a bunch of pages full of notes on keeping backyard chickens. No explanation.

Allison the Meep said...

My journal contains lots of half written songs, and a lot of dreams that I wrote down just after I woke, probably because they were so weird that I felt like they needed to be remembered.

I had a "diary" in elementary school and wrote about all the boys I loved, but then got very embarrassed by it all one day when I was in middle school, and destroyed the whole thing. I was so nervous that my parents would find it and tease me about who I liked.

Anonymous said...

beautiful!
i have a journal of when i was 8. it's full of "today was the best day ever!" because i got to get a bagel and go with my mom to the store for new towels. the little things in life. that just made me reflect :)

that was a beautiful paragraph though caitlin. much love, alia

Cait said...

In summation: journals are weird (altogether now: chickens, childhood crushes, and bagels!). Glad to see I'm not the only one :)

Smith Alum Blogs said...

Love that paragraph. So neat to see that Inward Bound/Smith experiences creep up, even years later.