I was about 9 years old when I first attempted to keep a diary, it was the Summer after I had read Dear Mr. Henshaw with my grade-school class and my imagination was captured by such an endeavor. I thought I could chronicle the events of my Summer holiday and keep it as something of a permanent record for all the great high-jinks and tom-foolery I and my cronies were wont to enjoy.
However, the reality of spending so much of my time stooped over a notebook in my bedroom soon punctured those lofty ideals. It lasted about a week of brief introductory essays, before becoming only a repository of the sorts of occasional tantrums or romantic overtures that could not be expressed publicly.
Eventually it became forgotten in its hiding place under my bed and then tossed in the dustbin when we moved away, a year or so later.
Another abortive but ultimately longer-term attempt was initiated when I was twelve and began my relationship with my first “official” girlfriend.
During one sticky East Texas evening in late Summer, she showed me a few select pages of her diary concerning her first impressions of me. Charmed both by her willingness to share this with me and her unflattering initial appraisal, I was struck by the power of a well-maintained personal narrative. She had obviously not captured every pristine detail, and she had even inaccurately depicted a few of the events (at least, from my own perspective) – all the same, there was some record of certain events which had transpired.
For a boy who had always felt a disturbing sense of impermanence to his life, this honest trifle held much value.
At first, my own journal only served to describe specific proceedings with her – but soon it expanded to capture pithy observations on my life and all the drama surrounding a sensitive and passionate teenager.
It outlasted my fledgling courtship and lurched along in intermittent bursts of activity throughout high school.
Maturing in my use of the sublime English language, I was better able to express more of what seethed beneath the surface – but my many responsibilities and extracurricular activities greatly limited my output. Nevertheless, many a “study hall” period was spent in scrawling screeds or romantic odes in my ink-stained composition books.
More often than not, these cathartic writings met their fate as kindling during the long fire-lit sabbaticals I would make into the deep woods of my childhood homestead.
There were other times after and after… but on the night of February 3rd 2003, I resolved to craft some dim manifestation out of the swirling maelstrom of the Internet – primarily for those dear ones that were far from me, but also for myself and my children.
Call it unseemly vanity (as I have on numerous occasions) but part of starting an online journal was the sort of accountability that is required towards an audience. While the topic and direction of my daily mumblings is seldom concerned with its immediate appraisal, I cannot pretend that this medium is not rather closely regarded by many others.
For some time now, I have established a certain standard of diligence in this undertaking – to myself, at least, if no one else. That standard is daily put to the test in the midst of tasks and obligations that only intensify with each turn of the Seasons.
Be that as it may… in glancing back over the last twenty-five hundred journal entries, I believe I have been reimbursed for my labors ten-fold.
So long as I have life within this speckled surly visage, I will live it for Him – and so long as I have a life that is being lived for Him, I will strain and shovel minutes of a day aside to keep this meandering subjective narrative.
This is my story, this is my song…