Some time around 5th grade I read The Diary of Anne Frank, and someone gave me a little baby-blue diary with a lock and key for my birthday. At first I wasn’t sure how to use the diary. Anne Frank was eloquent, wise, and living in unusual circumstances. I was just a nine year old girl living in New Jersey, fumbling around, not sure of what could be exciting enough in my life to warrant writing about it. My first attempts read something like:
I brushed my teeth, went to school, came home.
I stumbled around with my schedule and logistic reportage for a while, and then meandered into expressing the emotional landscape of the heart.
I (heart) SK.
SK was in the grade ahead of me. The summer before 5th grade he would walk me home after summer camp, singing Survivor’s “The Search Is Over” and I thought it was the most beautiful song ever written. To be clear, when I say that SK walked me home, what I mean to say is that our houses were in the same direction and mine came first. He was not courting me, but nevertheless, each time I wrote in my little blue diary, I wrote in loopy cursive I (heart) SK. When the school year began, my heart couldn’t hold in my passion any longer. One day I took my love off the page and into life. I wrote a brief note on a tiny piece of notebook paper, and folded it up twice.
I (heart) you.
I grasped the note tight in my hand as I crossed the florescent cafeteria to the 6th graders’ side. With all my courage, I went right to the table where he sat with his friends and dropped the note onto his paper lunch bag, and then hurried away.
Years passed before I could look at SK without blushing. Much to my chagrin, we ended up in a high school Journalism class together. Oh, the embarrassing things I have done in the name of love. Of course by high school I had moved on - my early schoolgirl years were strewn with love letters - but SK was my first, and I don’t know if I ever quite learned how to look him in the eye.
The blue diary with the lock and key is surely somewhere tucked away, but I haven’t seen it in decades. That was my only attempt at keeping a journal until 9th grade, when I picked up a fuschia-covered 5 x 7 spiral multi-subject notebook to take with me on a trip abroad. The fuschia notebook was the beginning of a long line of volumes that I’ve kept ever since.
Around the New Year I’ve traditionally written pages of reflections on the past year, and thoughts on what I might be doing in the coming year. A week or so before the end of 2011 I stumbled upon this post by a friend of mine about a list she created of 100 things to do over the course of a year. It must have struck a chord because this past New Years Eve I pulled out my journal for my usual reflections and suddenly began numbering down the page.
1. Go back to Big Sur
2. Meditate on the 3rd chakra - yellow, strength, power, belly
3. Plant herbs and veggies in the backyard.
It took some time to fill in all 100 - months in fact - and there were a few drastic revisions as the year began to shape itself, but this list has been profound. Some of the things that ended up on there surprised me. That a trip back to Big Sur was my first thought on New Years Eve was surprising itself. Some things - Coconut Cream Pie - accidentally ended up there twice. Quite a number of my original items were dependent on a trip that didn’t end up happening, so I had to revise. Some things are frivolous, some take a lot of work. Some are playful while others have thrown me in the deep end. But all together, this list has been like a lighthouse light, keeping me on track for the things I want to do this year, despite daily busy-ness.
It’s now more than halfway through the year - only 4 1/2 months left. I’ve gotten to many items, but there are still plenty to go. I know I won’t complete all of them, but the ones I have already finished feel monumental. There are some things on there that I never thought I’d do - honestly, never had even considered before -, and others that I’ve been wanting to get to for 6 years.
In the dog days of summer - and it’s been over 100 degrees here every day for more than a week - I feel like I need a little push of inspiration to keep going. So here it is, the blog. This is my attempt to infuse new energy into this project, to keep me inspired. I’m taking the List of 100 Things out of my journal and onto this blog.
Wish me luck.