Concettina Died and Other Stories of the East Side

The Journals, posted July 3, 2008 at 08:31 PM


One thing that might explain the somewhat randomness of my blog is the randomness of my journals. I am one of those people who keeps a journal. Mostly I write down the events of my day, but mixed in with the banal reportage of events are drawings, poems, hopes and fears, dirty secrets, emotional statements, and all the other inner-workings associated with keeping a diary.

And from the time I started keeping these journals--autumn 1987 to be precise--they have been random in two ways. First, I'm not consistent at all. Months go by without an entry, and then I write two a day for weeks on end. There's almost no habit involved, and certainly no discipline. When I feel like writing, I do. That's it.

Secondly, having never been very organized in my personal life, I keep multiple journals at once. A journal is "active" as long as it has blank pages in it. And I move randomly between journals at will. There is a bit of thematic delineation--for instance, there is one journal I only write dreams in, and there's another in which I'll only write in blue ink. But generally, when I feel like writing a journal entry, I grab any one of the journals on my shelf and write my entry. So any given journal may jump years between entries, or may be filled with ten days in a row. Currently, I've got 22 active journals, including the computer I'm typing this blog entry on right now.

Tonight, sitting in my new library (just off my kitchen) I picked up a journal to write an entry. The last one entered in this particular book was October 23, 2005. Tonight I wrote: "July 3, 2008. As if it were yesterday" then I stopped, closed the book and looked at the leather cover. Where did I get this journal? I have no idea. It's a paperbound book, wrapped in a gorgeous leather jacket stamped on the inside right flap with Kate's Paperie's logo. Either I bought it, or it was given to me. But this started a chain reaction of thoughts that has ruined my night.

[pause to make myself another negroni]

Isn't this the journal Phyllis gave me for my 30th birthday? No. I remember specifically writing at the front of that book: "Phyllis bought me this lovely diary for my birthday." And this one starts right in with an entry. Maybe Diane gave me this one? Seems unlikely, since it's from Kate's, a local store. Wait, go back. Where is that journal that Phyllis bought me. It's leather-bound, but hardcover, and it's stamped with my initials on the cover, and it has a ribbon pagemark. I inspect the shelf of journals. College sketchbooks. Fabulous spirals that Paula bought me in two sizes. Student composition books from four different countries. Book dummies from work. Jeffrey Reed's ledger now filled with litanies. A fuzzy spiral-bound diary from a family Xmas exchange. Two amazing silver softcovers with die-cut holes purchased at MoMA. A smoky leatherbound volume bought in Salt Lake City a decade ago. Another ledger book from my days as a photographer's personal assistant.

Where is the journal that Phyllis gave me?

Since beginning this blog entry, I have gone into my storage space, opened boxes marked "OFFICE" and dug through them. I have opened and rifled through all the photo boxes. I've opened the sock draw with the sunglasses and box of tickets. I've made sure I didn't bring that particular journal to bed with me (no, the two MoMA books are there).

One of my journals has gone missing. Three things could have happened to it:
1. I lost it. This is hard to believe because I would not have taken a hard-cover leather-bound journal out of the house with me.
2. It's here, I just don't know where. This is hard to believe because since I've moved, I've now opened every single box, and tonight I re-examined those that remain in my storage space.
3. It was stolen. This is hard to believe because why on earth would someone steal it? And who would steal it? One of my New Year's Eve guests? Hardly. The movers? Impossible.

I have no idea what's in that journal. One entry, or one-hundred? Dirty secrets or banalities? Gorgeous poems or drunken drivel? And because of the randomness above, I have no idea what time period the lost entries cover. Is it Summer of 1999, when I turned 30? Is it post-9/11/01 when the world was literally collapsing around me? Was it 2006's bliss of having a boyfriend, 2007's irritation of having that relationship end? Was it the frustration of the partnership deal at work? The constant nagging at myself for lack of discipline in my poetry? Was it a slow sequence of dreams, with Patsy and Grandma drifting in and out as they always do, with random special guest appearances of Sue Catullo? Was it just the idiotic ramblings of someone who just logged off his first blog and turned to the handwritten page for solace?

Will I ever know?

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