Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dear diary

it's happened and, i will admit, a little sooner than i'd like. i'm out of things to say. when i started this blog, two weeks ago, i decided that i wouldn't become one of those bloggers who tells aggressively dull stories about everyday life just for the sake of writing daily. ("i got the electricity bill today and i can't believe what they charge for power!") nope, not me. i scorned those bloggers. i sniffed through my upturned nose, muttering dismissive things about the unexamined life.

then i hit a dry spell, two days in a row in which, honestly, nothing much has happened. nothing much happened yesterday, and nothing much has happened today. i've been ticking along, body mind and spirit, but without very much of anything coming to mind -- or body -- or spirit.

the terrifying prospect is that this blog will shape up like the diary i kept in grade 4. you know this diary; maybe you had one too. mine was purple with extravagant silver script on the front cover announcing itself: DIARY. it had a little lock and key built right in. the second i saw my diary -- christmas day, 1974 -- i knew that i would hide its tiny key in my trinket box, really a turquoise handkerchief box that housed all my other treasures, like the suede badges my friend mette and i made for our secret club, an embossed candy tin from some long-devoured lemon drops, and a silver dollar from my grampie. i would have kept the key in a jewelry box with a pop-up ballerina, only i didn't have one of those. (my sister did. of course.) jealousy aside, i was actually very fond of my trinket box, principally because of the word "trinket." everything -- a tiny skateboard from a cereal box, a barbie shoe gone solo, the bookmark i earned in sunday school, my first fortune-cookie fortune -- everything automatically became precious when it went into the trinket box, when it became, by virtue of that act, a trinket.

anyway, the diary. the second i laid eyes on it, i vowed that i would start living a life worthy of my purple DIARY. moreover, i would record that life faithfully. i fancied myself a bit of an anne frank, or perhaps what anne frank might have been like if she hadn't been hiding from the nazis in frankfurt but growing up in edmonton in the mid-1970s with her very own trinket box.

sadly, my life did not stand up to the grandeur of my DIARY. there are pages and pages of nothingness punctuated by valiant stabs at the examined life. of these, my favorite is the one from a tuesday in march, which reads, in its entirety:

Today was boring. I ate too many vegetables.

when i think about my nine-year-old self writing that entry, i imagine a thoughtful pause between the first and second sentences. i watch myself penning the first, using my very best handwriting which, no matter what, never matches my mother's neat little lines. i draw a little circle over the i, and ever so carefully i grind in a full stop. then there is a pause, while i ponder what else i can say. it's an important moment. i'm making good on a promise to myself. the habit-forming practice of self-discipline is, literally, on the line. i can make meaning of my life. i can do this.

no matter how many times i have thought about it -- and during the intervening three decades i've wondered rather a lot -- i cannot for the life of me recall or imagine what i thought i was adding with that second sentence. the line is so nakedly desperate i can't stand looking at it. quick, turn the pages of my DIARY to the many blanks that follow. look away from that nine-year-old girl overcome, already, by a life of tuesdays. imagine all the wonderful things that must be happening the following week, and the week after that, and the week after that. i must be riding my bike in the sudden spring melt, taking pottery class at the downtown art gallery, making an uncrackable secret code, reading nancy drew, designing new platform shoes for mrs nemirsky, whose fluid backhand penmanship on my report cards makes me swoon. that's what tuesdays in march are all about. who has time to write?

(but just before i leave, and for you, heather-at-nine: we had stir-fry for dinner. it was good.)

2 comments:

Roberta said...

Love your blog, follow it faithfully. This year I started a "Daily Journal" sounded more mature to me than a Diary :-)
I too had that wee Diary as a kid and never filled every page.
I am finding the days when nothing too exciting happened difficult to fill.
My daily entry always starts with "Walked Cyrus" I know, but am too lazy to go into detail as to what "Walked Cyrus" really means.
IT means the air was crisp and it was good to be alive.
It means Damn I wish this winter would come to an end.
It means the birds are coming back and the Cardinals are singing a wonderful song.
It means I met a new dog today and he sure likes the dog treat I gave him.
It means I am treating so many dogs every morning that I must buy two boxes of dog goodies instead of only one.
It means I smell spring in the air...
I know all those things but I am either too lazy to write it all out every day or I have other things to say to fill the page some days. You have made me realize that I really should be more chatty about the good things that happen in my day and forget about the mundane, such as hydro bills. From now on I will be much more descriptive about my daily morning walk with a wonderful dog named Cyrus.

Now I am off to "Walk Cyrus" in our Ottawa Winter rain.

Darren James Harkness said...

I'm sorry, it's my fault - I added your blog to my list of things to read on a regular basis. Really, I should have known better. :)

Seriously though, you're just running into the same wall every blogger runs into at one point or another - a mild blogistential crisis spurred on by a lack of posts after the initial excitement of a new means of expression. It'll pass, even if it does take a "haircut blog" post or two (and really, that's okay... like writing in general, sometimes you just have to keep at it until something comes out).