I've kept a journal ever since I was in third grade, or Standard One as it was called in George. These diaries included such salacious content as: what I was wearing that day, the time I made toasted cheese all by myself, and long-standing feelings for various boys with bowl haircuts. That's the bad thing about writing in a journal, isn't it? You can't get away from the stupid things you did, or said, or the things you wanted so badly to happen.
Throughout high school, college and now into my semi-professional life, I've accumulated a pile of mismatched journals: gifts from birthdays and Christmases and graduations. Picked up in airports and museums and gift shops and grocery stores and hand me downs. They are on a shelf in my cupboard, in the corner. Shameful and exuberant and badly written and smudged, with terrible poetry in every volume.
I was given my first Moleskine journal two Christmases ago and I started it June 19, 2009, the day after I graduated, while my mother and I were in the car from Illinois to Minnesota. It's a tender volume at a particularly bright transition: collecting our belongings - Kristin and I - squaring our shoulders and moving west to seek our fortune. Last summer the sun shone from July to October, from early in the morning until 10 at night. Job applications, the feeling of failure, the surprise of being employed.
Everybody likes Moleskines. Join the queue, follow the crowd. But after thinking of Virginia Woolf writing in all those identical stitched-together journals, I pictured the exquisite uniformity of a row of books in indistinguishable black and said Yes. These books are slim and slip easily into every bag I own. When one opens to write, the page lie flat. I only write in black ink. The repetition makes it an intentional discipline.
This year I began a red Moleskine. Thought that after the three black journals I finished last year, this could be the Year of the Red. After finishing the red last month, I said No, it's back to black. And I haven't been able to find one since.