All right, I like ice cream almost as much as writing, but truth be told, I’m addicted to both. I keep more than one journal, write in them every day, use them as exercise books, carry one with me to jot down my thoughts wherever I am.
When I think about what journals do for me, I come up with the following:
- Daily writing grows my portfolio.
- I hope it grows my brain.
- It’s how I flesh out my characters who
- plot their own stories.
- It’s what I leave behind.
The soft-cover Moleskines are my favorites but any brand will do as long as the pages lie flat when opened as a spread. I like the small, ruled kind of notebook, approximately 5 by 8 with a soft cover and an elastic closure. They’re light and portable enough to take anywhere.
Writing in a journal is focus, freedom from the temptation of the internet, a place where characters surprise.
Like right now. Fina is telling me I forgot about her bowl of ice cream. She’s interviewed a new client, a lawyer, stiff and unyielding at the start of their meeting, but who’d blame her—she’s just discovered that her daughter’s been missing for the last ten or eleven hours. Instead of letting them hang out, the client swallows her feelings.
At home, Fina needs to mull over her impressions of the woman, so she sits in her study, the one with the messy shelves and stares out the window at the sliver of Brooklyn Bridge barely visible through the tops of trees. It’s at this point that she’d be hankering for ice cream, she reminds me. She tells me that her favorite is tutti-frutti smothered in maple syrup and tells me to get busy and dish out the edits.
Being an author I talk back. I tell her it’s good I’ve forgotten her tutti-frutti because after eating that sugar lode she’d have to deal with a vague sense of urgency that would rip at her innards through the wee hours, but she doesn’t listen. I hear the tippy-toe of her feet down the stairs. The refrigerator door opens. Bowls rattle. I hear the suck of the ice cream scooper and I put the journal away.
Photo: Cotton candy ice cream. Credit: David Berkowitz (Flickr), Creative Commons.