Saturday, April 04, 2015

Journaling: Part 2

I started my journal as a way of keeping up with the work I was doing toward advancing my writing goals. I used it as a motivator and it worked wonderfully at a time when I needed the kick in the pants.

As I mentioned last post, however, I began, over time, to add more information into the journal about personal things and the events of my life. Recently, I went back and reread my journal entries from 1993 through 2011. (I don’t have the strength yet for 2012). I found some things that were interesting to me, and perhaps only to me. But I’ll share them here anyway. J

First, I learned that you almost never get good news without corresponding bad news. There has almost never been a time when I got really good writing news without it corresponding closely with really bad news. For example, when I got my first payment and first copies for my first book, Cold in the Light, my first wife was in the hospital. She was also in the hospital on the day I found out I was nominated for the Rhysling Award. On the evening before I was to have my first signing for Cold in the Light, my Mom had to be taken to the emergency room. She as in the operating room getting a pacemaker put in at the time I was supposed to be signing. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the signing. There are dozens of other examples I could give, but that would probably sound like whining and I’m sure most everyone has the same kind of experiences. I imagine, though, that this is the main reason why, today, I never experience any surge of pleasure over an acceptance or publication. I do, however, get a surge of pleasure when people read and enjoy one of my stories or books.

Second, I learned that my appetite for spending long hours working on projects was rather prodigious when I was younger. I’ve put in a lot of 8 to 10 hour days at Xavier doing school work, and then put in another few hours writing after I got home. I’m rather proud of myself for that. My brothers used to regularly call me lazy when we were growing up. I think I’ve proved them wrong. Although, these days I sure do want to be lazy, and physically I’m just not capable of those long hours anymore.

Third, I’ve learned that walks through nature are essential for my sanity. I do a lot of thinking while I’m walking, and a lot of planning for stories. But I need to be away from people and among the trees when I do so. I’m sure this is a legacy of having grown up on a farm and spending long, long hours hiking through the woods and across the fields while I imagined the most fantastic scenarios in my head.

Fourth, I’ve rediscovered how precious my son Josh, and my wife Lana, are to me. There are plenty of other people in the world I care about, but those two are the reason why I keep going.
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20 comments:

R.T. said...

Good words...good lessons...keep going.... Ecclesiastes reminds us that the sun always rises...And so it goes....

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That last one made it all worth it, didn't it?
You are definitely not lazy.

Chris said...

#3 is critical for me. And I'm no good to my people that correspond to #4 without it either.

Charles Gramlich said...

R. T. by now I don't think I can quit.

Alex, it does.

Chris, there is that element of keeping one sane

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

It is an uncomfortable part of life that there seems to be a yin and yang with good times. After decades of experiencing the phenomena, when something good happens, a person begins symbolically walking around for days after with a helmet and body armor waiting for the yang to hit. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernard, I think that's where I'm at with that first one. I'm sure it's conditioning but it's not easy to break.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I agree, life is full of unpredictable coincidences though I wish they were always good. I also agree nothing is more worth than one's own family.

sage said...

I haven't gone back reading journals except for writing memoirs in a long time--but I know what you mean by #3. Nature is always good.

Lisa said...

thank you for sharing your journal with us Charles

the walking man said...

It is good that you keep journals, they are clearer prompts than your memory alone will ever be. I can attest to the fading nature of even long term memory, but then I too can testify that the evil sunk in long term memory fades as well.

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, coincidences seem the rule rather than the exception.

Sage, absolutely.

Lisa, thanks for visiting as well.

Mark, yes, journals can be a two edged sword. I found that out while rereading them as well.

Oscar said...

I guess that defines journal-ing from diary writing. As for the coincidences, I'd put them down as bad luck and good luck happening at the same time.

Greg said...

That's a lot of entries to read! There is definitely something to be said for walks through nature.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, I'd kind of prefer one at a time as far as good luck, bad luck goes. would be nice to enjoy some of the good luck at least.

Greg, It took me about a week to get through it all

Erik Donald France said...

Pattern recognition is an excellent reason to keep a journal -- among others. All interesting observations.

Time is "wonky," may be another good reason. That happened "then?"

Brotherly competition. Where would we (anyone) be without at least 'some' competition?

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, a little competition is certainly good

Riot Kitty said...

Aww! That was a nice tribute at the end. Lazy? You've got to be kidding me.

And as you know, my friend loved your book.

Charles Gramlich said...

Riot Kitty, glad he liked. I appreciated him leaving a review as well!

Lana Gramlich said...

Dawwwwwwwwww.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana, :)