"to strike ink across its waiting lines"*
it's one of those generic sized-and-shaped lined blank books that i most likely picked up from the bookstore where i worked, and even more likely paid for by the credit card to which i was rarely inclined to make significant payments. the exterior is the most obnoxious mirrorballed silver sparkle glitter, like the holographic scatter of the backgrounds of stickers i'd collect by the ream and save faithfully in my sticker book back in the mid-eighties. little has done much in the way of fading its dizzying sheen over the past ten years since it came into my ownership, save a slight wearing away at the edges that lends to the front cover a look of its trying to stand in for a bad meterological map, or having been left spine-down in a snowstorm. but regardless, since we're taught not to judge books by their bindings, it's definitely what's inside that counts.
what's inside is like a taffy pull of late teen angst, stories told to the point of self-interruption or so bogged down in inconsequential details that now, a decade later, i'm having to rely on my memory to fill in the more important elements my pen felt necessary to skip over. but the drama sucks me in time and time again; last night certainly wasn't the first re-read i'd indulged in. in fact, of all the old handwritten time capsules, it's my favorite to go back to, because my writing is just so...well, me. and of its time. this relic represents a point in my life that sometimes defies description. and i sink in so deep in the reading that i have to shake my head when i set it down, just to try to remember where i am now, and that my world has changed quite radically.
this dear diary time capsule has lines like: "my little heart sank and i felt so silly" and i actually describe someone's attitude as being "unpalatable." it's the strangest mix of ditching classes, calling in sick to work, inventing theories, embracing theories, abandoning thoeries, headaches, stomach aches, free cups of coffee, secret crushes, one very particular love affair, and the sheer melodrama of (and i quote) "my heart speaking volumes to me."
me and my heart took quite a beating in 1995-96. i let that damned organ do what it wanted; i fell hard for the wrong guys without realizing why or how i had fallen. and somehow, through the grace of my part-time minimum wage job and the general education courses i could easily skip out of in college, i had an awful lot of time to wander down my heart's meandering path. this journal, well, it's a page turner. will i love him today? will i have sworn him off? is this the part where he shows up at my place on martin luther king day with massage oil and some flimsy line about just being in the neighborhood? is this the part where he finally leaves his long-time live-with girlfriend? will i ever, to this day, figure out some of the cryptic things he'd say to me, like when he said he was as able to commit to me as "a dog with fleas?" and all the while my heart is wrenching, singing, bursting, boiling. it's a wonder i slept. i'm not entirely sure i did.
everything in the glitter journal ends abruptly (and in sedona, arizona, no less, when i went on a whim). i had a habit of buying a new journal before the old one was done, and, wanting so strongly to have the new journal reflect a new me, i'd often start into it before the last page of the old one was filled. but i'd use the pages like scrapbooks, and tape in article clippings, movie ticket stubs, notes, scoresheets from a bowling alley that has long since been torn down. it seems ridiculous now to think that a new journal could really give me a fresh start. yet here i am, ten years later, and i feel a thousand lifetimes away from that girl, with her different colored pens and her penchant for hyperbole. my ghostwriter certainly had a kind of gusto, or just plain guts, that good old fashioned maturity has helped to temper. sometimes, though, i'm not entirely convinced that, despite having set this obnoxious, over-the-top sparkling anything-but-blank book aside ages ago, i've actually closed the book on that girl. i miss her at times. and that heart, though dressed in more resilient protective gear, still tumbles foolishly and unpredictably. and it's that heart that helps me breathe, dear diary, so i can pay the bills, and show up for work, and pay attention in class, and muddle on through this messy, sparkly, haphazard thing called life.
*actual quote from the opening entry, thursday september 21, 1995