December 04, 2009
One sentence journal


For the last few months I’ve been keeping a daily journal on paper where each day is a single sentence on a new page. I will cycle through my demiannual volumes year after year to add another sentence to the pages and build up an “on this day” style history.

It is a challenge to encapsulate the day in a few words. Some days are so full of excitement that the sentence reads like a forgettable laundry list. 22 October: Looked at shoes, suitcases, paper lanterns and fabric, then had a massage, swim, and found a caterpillar cocooning. The dull days are easier to write about because I can focus on a detail or an emotion. 6 October: Swirls and bubbly shapes in the dishwater brought me to tears with their beauty.

These words fix the day in my mind so I must write what I want to remember. Sometimes I hit the bullseye. September 19: A six km cross-town walk followed by boiled peanuts, strip Scrabble, and Soul Mining already makes me smile with the memory of that afternoon.

But I make mistakes. Though 22 October’s Thai market, massage and swim were enjoyable, I have done them all before. What I really remember is the caterpillar: how we found it when it fell off a chaise near the pool; mistakenly thought it was trying to come out; got beer from our fridge and settled in to watch it for almost an hour before finally moving it to a safer place in the foliage.

Some days I don’t know what to choose to remember. Today I heard that a childhood schoolmate recently died. Should I mention Laurleen and my feelings about her early demise (carpe diem; eat, drink, be merry), or should I write about whatever probably trivial things I do today?

And there is the issue of trying to fit in facts like names of people and places. I am aware that I might need context later on - even a few months down the road, I can’t recall exactly who was at Sarah’s birthday in September, but there it is in my one long sentence. In ten years’ time, will I remember the people that go with the names? Does it matter?

Repetition will hone my skills at sentence-crafting and I am enjoying all its new considerations. But it leaves me wanting to write more, so perhaps I need a second journal without restrictions. Or to post here more often. Or both. We’ll see.

Posted by kuri at December 04, 2009 07:34 AM

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