Welcome to 135 Journals and Counting

23 Mar

How do you start writing? That is a question I hear a lot. I have kept 135 journals and I’ve been journaling since I was 14 years old. I have boxes of these volumes of my history in the attic, some in the living room because I’m looking at them again, some in my bedroom. They comfort me. They worry me. Sometimes, they bore me. At times, I can’t believe how hard it was to get over some now-meaningless heartbreak. Or how I can realize the same thing over and over. Or sometimes, how I can really break through to something new.


My journals have served many purposes in my life. They amuse me when I have nothing to do. They carry my sorrows and fears and hopes. They hold my unanswerable questions. Wherever I am, there’s something to describe. In fact, I may decide that the best kind of entry for a certain time is just a memory of a day from some year or another. But I also hope to encourage other people to start journals. I think that even one entry a year would be better than nothing. Or just the rages. Or just the gratitude. Or sketches. A habit of writing more frequently, of course, brings more rewards, just as any good habit does. But often, the best place to start is not by staring at a blank page and expecting everything to pour out all at once. To me, that is like yelling “fire” in a crowded auditorium. Everything wants to get out at once, and only a little tiny bit can fit out the door at a time. Writing, after all, is an act that takes place over time. Whenever you write one sentence, another sentence is waiting behind it. You may or may not remember that second sentence the way you wanted to write it. So the doors get slammed on all good ideas. Often, it’s better to start with something very specific, just to slow down the panic of writing and let your mind see something slowly enough to capture it with your pen.

So today I will leave one simple question: What is one piece of clothing you loved, and why did you love it?

6 Responses to “Welcome to 135 Journals and Counting”

  1. fransiweinstein September 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    A huge (queen-sized bed size) black, fringed jersey shawl. It’s the perfect blanket when I’m cold, on a plane. It’s surprisingly light weight, so it’s perfect for traveling, period. Singled, i can wrap myself in it like a cocoon. Doubled, it’s warm enough for the coolest late Fall day. It’s great over a coat when it’s really cold, and it’s a lovely, sophisticated wrap for more formal occasions. Yet it’s equally at home paired with jeans and a sweater. In a pinch, I could lay it on the ground and turn it into a picnic tablecloth. And the best part is, because it’s a matte jersey, it never slides around. It’s comfy, cosy and versatile. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of garments. I’ve had it for 2 years and I plan to keep it forever. It is one of those.

    • alexandrahh13 September 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

      I’m so jealous! It sounds not only versatile, but in a strange way, protective. Thank you for commenting with your vivid description–I can just imagine how useful the Swiss Army of garments could be.

      • fransiweinstein September 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

        It is protective. What a wonderful observation. Thank you.

  2. rita September 23, 2012 at 5:11 am #

    I had a red paisley, long sleeve cotton blend shirt in college that I absolutely loved! Since I didn’t see the same people every day, I would wear that blouse at least twice a week and it almost lasted all four years of college. I finally stopped wearing it when the fabric wore so thin it ripped open when I bent my elbow one day. Strangely enough, I had the same shirt in blue and mostly ignored it. I only wore the blue one when all my other shirts were in the laundry. To this day, I miss that red shirt.

  3. Evelyn Schickling October 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    Only one? After an inventory, it has to be a medium-weight black knit dress, cut with a boat neck, an empire waist, three-quarter length sleeves and a straight skirt, with a simple flounce on the hem. The all important black knit is forgiving when packed, the empire waist stretches for a delicious meal and black cat fur is almost invisible. The flounce speaks for itself.

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