Tag Archives: Titanic

July is Journaling Month #8: Make a Timeline

13 Jul

titanic disaster_Baltimore American_1912(1)

Journal 116, November 28, 2006 I am sitting in the kitchen listening tp the pops of mushrooms cooking in the black cast iron skillet). I have a warm, relaxed feeling, which means that this is another day of abnormally warm weather, because when it’s cold outside, I’m normally clenched up here inside, too. Yesterday I saw people putting out wooden candy cane decorations in their shorts! At 10:00 PM. This warmth, is welcoming, strange, comfortable, and unsettling all at the same time.

In the news this morning: The Iraq study group prepares to give its report. A pilot of a missing plane in Iraq is also missing. A home for the mentally handicapped burned down in Missouri. Wall Street had its biggest loss in four months. “They may have been buying in stores, but they’re selling ion Wall Street.” The writer Bebe Moore Campbell died at age 56 of brain cancer. Gas prices are starting to rise again. A big storm in Washington State dumped two feet of snow on the ground. Pope Benedict calls his visit to Turkey a chance for reconciliation. He was greeted by protesters . . .


I am sharing this journal excerpt from Volume 116 because it makes me remember events that happened not just in my head, but in the real world. Even though I spend an extraordinary time ruminating over this or that, sometimes a little bit of the real world sneaks in—a headline, an opinion, something. And I’m using my journal to fill in a new timeline that I’m making for myself.

Today’s challenge is to start a timeline, in your journal, or—maybe even better—on the computer, make a timeline. Just type down every year since you were born in boldface. Then, you can write things that happen to you in Roman type, things that happened in history in Italics. I’m sure there are much more creative ways of doing this, too, for the computer literate among us.This is not just a project for one day, but over time. Some of the kinds of details you can add is birthdates of siblings, the year you moved from one place to another, the dates you went out with someone else, where you got that dashing scar, jobs . . . it can be as detailed or as un-detailed as you want. I recently tried doing this exercise, and I find that I forget when many important things happen and what comes first. So that’s why I think it’s good to do on a computer, because you can always expand the amount of detail you add. It might encourage you to talk to family members and friends and ask THEM when a certain thing happened. Or to contact people you once knew through Facebook and ask, “Remember when .. .? “ Or to look through old photographs and letters. You can even use your resume as a reminder.

I am glad that SOMETIMES I remember to add in little details about what’s going on in the news. The headlines from a newspaper, the way you feel about the war in Afghanistan or a presidential election, even the weather, can bring back a sense of time and place when you read it in the future. In fact, I have been typing down parts of my old journals. I typed 50,000 words, but it barely scratched the surface. Still, what I did write sometimes mentioned historical events. Here are a few examples:

May 20, 1980, I had lunch with the woman who works behind union reception and it was really fun,. . . She told me about . . . this earthquake in Washington state that’s going on-she said it’s supposed to affect the world’s atmosphere for two years!). It said in the papers that there’s smoke rising for about twelve miles bove the earth-how AWFUL. And more and more people are being killed in boiling mud. Last night talking I said it made me uneasy that Mom told me that there hadn’t been any snow in Massachusetts this winter. Never in my life has there been no snow. Isn’t that odd? And Richard said it was strange, that it seems like more records could have been broken these past few years. One theory is sunspots, but they’re supposed to work in ten year cycles, once every ten years. They don’t know how they affect the earth’s atmosphere but they know it does. Another theory in something about nuclear testing, that scientists are doing something to the atmosphere, we can’t even imagine or begin to suspect. There seems to be something scary going on, something out of our hands, something we can’t even begin to imagine. And so we are too nervous to think about it and even prefer to think of other things, more immediate things. The trouble is, even though we know about all the people who were afraid of the world, and find them ludicrous, it is going to end sometimes. Just like people don’t get worried about the San Andreas fault and just like they didn’t worry about this Mount Saint Helens in Washington State, but it blew up on them all the same—and we look at that and think, aren’t those people foolish they didn’t know. But really, what could they possibly DO? Bitch about the milk bill, do all the things of daily living, that’s all. One neever knows where the danger is. Of all the levels of my thinking, why do I write about this, things of the wide world so little?”

Monday, September 15, 1980  Afraid I’ll be thirsty in class. Still very conscious of using water whenever I do. There’s still a terrible water shortage and the water though safe (I guess) doesn’t taste very good.


February 9, 1987 Monday  I’m on a van this morning as big puffy snowflakes come at the windshield. Today should be pretty awful. It only has snowed a few times this winter, but each time was so aggravating we are already sick of it. The van driver is listening to Lite FM. “And now from Mr. Romance, Julio Iglesias.”..” A man next to me reads the Times. “Crack Addiction: The Terrible Toll on Women and their Children,” is the article he’s reading. Are we STILL getting articles on crack, the most overrated social horror of 1986?


September 15, 1999  Tonight it is expected to get windier and windier.  a Hurricane aApproaches. It’s 10:45 and M. is still reading. I have to make him turn off his light—but I really feel for him. Oh, toughen up, mother!

I am between projects at work—Lee hasn’t decided on any stories I can work on. I did write a history of the Middle East Peace Process in 117 words.

August 19, 2003 There are still a lot of stories about the blackout. It was severe and intense, but it sounds as if people were quite civil, sleeping on the steps of the post office without being harassed, or having a party in Union Square all night long, with very little crime taking place. I heard a news report that there was more looting in Ottawa than there was in NYC! I was so proud to be of New York and New Yorkers. There is self-discipline here.

Writing Prompt #8: On the computer or in your journal. Start your outline now. And, as you keep writing, fill in more details in bullet points, both about yourself  and about what was happening this year. (You can use Roman type for yourself, Itals for history, or vice versa).

April 2013 Statistics

1 May

Times I locked a bathroom key into the bathroom after I left: 2

Fact I learned from a physical therapist: “You should be able to watch the movie Titanic without going to the bathroom once.”

Reason Why This Cannot be True: Titanic is wettest movie ever.

Items lost: black scarf. Black and grey jacket. Mr. HH’s library book “Composting” that I promised I’d return. The piece of paper I have to bring to the doctor tomorrow. CD #3 of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (library’s copy). Three credit cards. The book Mindsight by Daniel Siegelman (also, from library). Pride.

Number of onions found under car seat while looking for these items: 5

Major crime: Nutella heist in Germany. (Cannot reveal details of how I pulled this off.)

Podcasts listened to at least two times of Brainsciencepodcast.com: 15

Percent I understood: 75%. Well, definitely got it in the Broca and Wernicke regions, not sure that my anterior cingulate gyrus or frontal lobes got the full message.

Steps walked: 313,683

Times I made child roll his eyes because I said, “Honey, do you want a snack?”: 25

Times I pissed off child because I said he would like Game of Thrones because it had Dragons: Once. Because he’s not 13.

New favorite word, courtesy of Game of Thrones: Sexposition: when you have to have other people come into the room while m’lord is busy with a wench to explain the enemy is at the gate just to keep the plot moving forward.

Times I pissed off child because I suggested he clean up his room: 17.

Times room got cleaned: 0

Maximum number of damp towels found in child’s room at one time: 7

Times I aggravated child because I asked about his schedule: 15

Times he knew or would tell me his schedule when I asked: 0

Number of times he thought my jokes were funny: Once. After I bought him lunch at Sonic.  

Things about his life that are my business, including when he needs ride in five minutes: 0

Number of hugs it takes for me to be complete sucker to child: 1

Number of singletons still in the sock basket: approximately 50.

Best movie seen in theater: No (Chilean movie about 1988 referendum on Pinochet—more fun than it sounds.)

Miles husband has ridden on his bike in full spandex: hundreds.

Best and only play seen on Broadway with Julie and Martin: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Amount of cancer found on Sloan-Kettering Day of Beauty: 0

Number of hours a pest tried to flirt with me while I was obsessively reading about mythology in the Carl Jung Center’s library: 1 (felt like 100) 

His Jungian analysis of a dream I had where a bloody corkscrew was poking out of my eye and my father said, ‘you’ll never get a boy looking like THAT.’: “You’re obviously trying to individuate yourself.”

Interesting fact I learned from the guy who works at the Barnes and Noble café: “America is the best country on earth, in spite of the fact we bombed Nagasaki and Iwo Jima.”

Shortest Book read: The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin (about 88 pages—when I found out this was our reading group book I wept with joy).

One sentence review: In old age, Mary isn’t buying this Jesus is God nonsense and would everyone please leave her the hell alone. .

Second shortest: Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag.

One sentence Review: Take all the photos you want about how war sucks, but that doesn’t mean that anyone is going to stop having wars, so there.

Number of half-read library books somewhere in this house: 5-ish??

Technological advances: Joined Twitter. Joined a MOOC. Could not complete assignment for first week, however, because I don’t know how to put words on TOP of a picture.

Older son’s reaction to fact that I don’t know how to put words on top of picture: “ha ha ha ha ha, oh Moooommm.”

Lesson I still didn’t learn: bananas and pocketbooks don’t mix.