I erased a page in my journal yesterday. How lame is that?
It started when I discovered a tiny miracle last week. I had needed a book to collect my small poems. On my computer, they just looked like so many patients in the ER waiting room. I needed something more poetry friendly. A small journal that was waiting on my bookshelf would serve my purpose perfectly.
I retrieved the fabric covered gem. It was right where I knew it would be. With pencil in hand, I sat down ready to put the little book to use and found the pages already filled. Written words stared up at me from ten years ago. I stared back, reading away the rest of the afternoon. It was all one might hope an old journal would be. I was converted. I had to get back to writing with a pencil. The little journal had proved that it worked for me. Imagine what I might discover finding its way to paper.
The first journal entry was easy. The new journal, a distressed-leather, hardbound volume had arrived the day before my son's birthday. Thoughts of his birth were the important stuff of which great journal entries were made. I felt no fear, no anxiety. I wrote slowly. I wrote deeply. My handwriting reflected the softness of my feelings.
Entry two, however, was a problem. It was the journal equivalent of the sophomore slump. I had won the Oscar my first time out. How did I live up to such an opening act? I was in a quandary. The ruler and the writer in my head got verbal about their thoughts:
You can't write about that.
It's not good enough.
Well, what about this?
Not that either.
It's my journal.
Yes, it is, and you have standards.
Why should I care if it's not an Oscar winner? This is an exercise in writing.
You'll read it later, and you'll be sorry you wrote it.
This is ridiculous--you want me to edit journal entries before I even write them. . . . It's a journal. I'm not going to edit my journal. Be quiet.
Whew! The writer won. At least I thought the writer won. I wrote about heroes.
Today I read what I wrote. It was awful. It read like I was in a paper bag arguing with myself. No. It sounded like I was yelling at the world because I couldn't figure out what to write in my journal. My handwriting was all over the place, showing the conflict in spades. It looked angrier than the words read. I winced just looking at it.
I thought long and hard. Then I decided to erase the entire entry. The ruler and the writer went crazy again:
You can't do that.
Sure can. I'm doing it. I've already started.
Why? Who's going to read it?
So then why not leave it?
Can't leave it now. It’s half gone.
You could leave the top half.
No, I can't. I don’t want to.
You'll always know you did it. You cheated at journal writing. You're a fake.
Yep. I will, and I am. Hey, this feels pretty good. This is like the world's "do-over."
This time I know the writer won. I don't know why I never did that before. Chalk up erasing that page as tiny miracle number two.
They say good things come in threes. . . .
—me strauss Letting me be