Like birds returning to nesting grounds, I find myself in the back-to-school section talking myself into notebooks, pens and pencils. The logic of stocking office supplies for household use at ridiculously low prices is not up for debate in my world. Ever been in a home where you can’t scrounge up a notepad and a pen to keep score in a card game? It wasn’t my house.
I kept my purchases to a minimum (so far) this August. Two composition books and a three pack of Sharpie pens in black, blue and red. Not bad for an office supply hoarder.
Other times of year, I limit myself to buying notebooks with specific purpose in mind. At forty cents each, the composition books sitting around “just in case” doesn’t bother me. Yet something about a blank notebook begs for a project.
Composition books say journal to me or at least a place to record something for future reference – quotations or recipes, for example. I wouldn’t use one for to-do lists or drafting poems where I want to finish the task by tearing out the page. If I cannot neatly remove a page, I don’t remove them. I love legal pads or steno pads for those disposable tasks, if not a plain old spiral notebook.
With the fresh pure pages as the clincher, I decided to start a one sentence journal. I liked the idea in Gretchen Rubin‘s The Happiness Project to keep a brief daily journal documenting a moment. As she says, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Or as I think of it, it all runs together. Pattern and routine are comforting, but they blur the days.
I found myself on the phone with Kate earlier this week responding to her inquiry about my weekend activities with “I don’t remember.” Now, I’d worked all three days (we include Friday as a weekend day), so that contributed to my brain fog. Still, I was frightened at the idea of looking back on my days as tiring but nondescript. Thinking I must have done something fun and important isn’t the same as vivid recollections of good times. So I have vowed to record something, anything, each night before bed to look back at how much goodness even my dullest days contain.
Several days into my “One Sentence Journal” I am laughing at myself for keeping the name. Writing less than a half a page in nearly impossible, a problem I can only partially attribute to large handwriting. The name is a reminder to be brief. The purpose capture a moment, thought, or feeling rather than a full recording of the day’s happenings. Even the example from her journal Gretchen gave in the book was, I believe, three sentences. Meeting word count has never been my problem. Consistently writing has been. Asking as little as one sentence of myself should, in theory, should be easy.
The question, intimidating and inspiring, becomes: What do I say about today?