Dead End

Did you keep a journal, growing up? You’d think that I would have. But I really only ever liked the idea of keeping one. I collected them, without really realizing it, for a long time. And every time I’d bring another one home, I’d run my hands over the cover and think, this will be the one. This will be the one that will make me want to write.

I still have them all. All blank. The placeholders peeking out have never been moved. But the books themselves have been rearranged countless times. I love the way they look, all lined up together on the shelf. Side by side. Some small, some large. Some slipped in suede. Some stitched by hand.

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One of my favorites is made of the most luxurious leather. I never catch it slumping, and it’s got this beautiful, buttery, burnt orange color to it. It cost me an ungodly sum, and I remember feeling wildly guilty about it even as I paid for it. I knew that I probably wouldn’t ever write in it. But it’s the writer’s equivalent of a pair of Frye boots, and I look at it every morning and I’m happy just to have it, even if it’ll never be broken in.

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I like the possibility of the journal, I guess. I like undoing the knot, unwrapping the cord, and peeling back the flap. I like writing my name in the front cover. But in truth, I like writing with a backspace button more. I like storing my secrets in folders, and I like having the option of deleting them all in one fell swoop. It’s convenient — that.

There are two folders that I can’t quite bring myself to drag to the trash. There is a name on each of them. Two names. At one point they lived on my desktop, but after a particularly enlightening bowl of salted maple honeycomb candy, I moved them to a different place. Writing I want to keep.

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I filled up those folders when I was sad, mostly. I’ve noticed that I don’t write as much when I’m happy. And I don’t go poking around in those folders then, either.

This morning I clicked on one of them. I clicked because it was the crack of dawn and I was feeling so anxious, about so many things, and there was nobody to watch the snow with, and nobody to stop all the swirling.

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25 Excuses for Why We Failed at Love. Sunday Afternoons. The Bane of My Existence. A Bruise for You to Kiss. Chapters From a Book.

They’re so familiar — those titles. Are they dead ends? Probably.

He makes me feel in italics, intensely and just a hair off-kilter. He makes me feel in SHOUTY capitals, brazenly and with a boldness I’ve only borrowed. He makes me want to find the loveliest script and be pliant and dainty once again. He makes me want to shrink down to nothing at all — to something you or I could never read.

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2 thoughts on “Dead End

  1. I have a collection of about 20 journals. My problem is that I begin them. But after writing in them about half a dozen times, or filling them halfway, I abandon them until another pretty one strikes my fancy and makes me think “This one. This one will be the journal that will inspire me to write until its full.”

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