In my last post, I indirectly wrote of the possible consequences of breaking a well established rule. I am specifically referring to the comment about how that might encourage one to peer more closely at all the other rules, scrutinizing them to see if they even hold water, or are just comfortable habits one doesn’t want to let go of because, well because they are so damned comfortable.
I really thought I had very few rules about my journal writing, but oh the list of comfortable habits is quite lengthy. Not only have I been scrutinizing some of them, but have already broken more than one of those habit/rules. My life has changed a great deal since I formed those habits, but I have not taken the time to alter the habits to suit those changes. Now find myself wondering where it all might end. I have been writing, perhaps more than I have in a very long time. It just isn’t always in my journal. Yet, the journal writing informs this new writing and the opposite is true as well. That alone fascinates me.
I had already broken that ‘first thing in the morning’ rule/habit. Gone right back to it the next day and for several days after that. Then one morning, while still half asleep, heading for the computer and my journal, an opening line, just one sentence, formed itself inside my thoughts and refused to be dismissed. So I pulled up a blank page and typed in the sentence. Had no idea what it meant or where it might be going.
But, that’s what I do every morning in my journal. This was different however. It was in the third person and was not about me, but about someone else, someone I have known for many years. And I did what I do in my journal, I simply followed the words to wherever they wanted to take me. I came up for air almost two hours later, and was staring at some of the best writing I had possibly ever done.
It was also something I had wanted to do for years, had even made several attempts, but had run smack dab into that proverbial brick wall every time I tried it. Now, here it was, all the pieces in place, staring back at me, completed. Amazing. And I’m not talking about the writing, but about the experience itself. I had just been flying by the seat of my pants for two hours and had even managed a soft gentle (no crash and burn) landing. Wow!
For years, I have been writing in my journal in this fashion. Getting up, half asleep, booting up the computer and just writing whatever came into my head. Sometimes it was bits of poetry, I could then work with to form a poem, or the idea for such. Many times, it was no more than a rehash of what had gone down the day before. Even, just a list of complaints that chided me into rethinking my own perspective or feelings on certain issues and why they might have become irritants.
Suddenly I knew, that all of that was no more than practice for what had just taken place. Practice that had become no more than habit, but obviously stood me in good stead for this particular experience. Over the next few days, I kept at it and was equally surprised at the ease with which it occurred. Then one morning, I got up, and knew it was time to go back to the actual journal writing. I did, only to find myself working out whatever had been developing into a block where the other writing was concerned.
And so it continues. A bit of this, a dash of that. Flying by the seat of my pants, but going exactly where I need to go, refueling when necessary, and best of all, avoiding that crash landing. Happy might be a good word, here.
For years, I have said that I live my life by following the signs and symbols. That’s just another form of flying without an instrument panel. No particular direction or destination, just the love of being airborne. Using only the senses and skills developed, while practicing endlessly for that eventual lift-off.
The drive to put words on paper is much the same thing. Putting the words into gear, then using the senses to follow them, sorting them out while inside the process, trusting oneself to find just the right ones to put into place and to get one wherever one is going. Always hoping that one will find home and that soft touch-down.
My journal has been my practice field. Each word, unknowingly aimed at moving me closer to what I am now doing. That doesn’t mean I give up the journal writing, one never really relinquishes the idea of home. It is my base and my launching pad. And no, that doesn’t mean I know where all of this might end, I don’t. But then the destination is never the important goal, it is always the journey itself that creates the story. I do so love a good story.
My journal actually holds many of the details of that story. And even the ones that will certainly still occur. It is also my flight plan in a very real sense, holding the coordinates and locations I don’t want to miss. Need to have at my finger tips so that the story is authentic as well as interesting.
Flying by the seat of ones pants is a risk. So is telling a story. Practicing helps, prepares one and allows one to make adjustments for wind changes and gaps in ones knowledge. I intend to keep right on practicing, hoping that you will do the same.