I’ve always wanted to keep a journal, but it never lasts over a couple of days. I think part of the reason I fail is that I get too busy, miss a night or two, and then it is gone. That would be a pretty lame excuse, though. It’s not like I don’t see that book sitting there…waiting for me to engage with it. No, I think the real reason I have never been able to journal (and am so reluctant to blog) is that I lose my “voice” when I try to write naturally.
I mean, I work on voice as I write my novels, but this kind of voice should be my own–just me–no worrying over sentence structure, vocabulary, the flow of it all. It should be just like listening to me talk. But it isn’t. I can’t help myself. I have to “fix” it. Friends tell me I lapse back into a fairly strong southern accent when I am back in my home county and just relax. I think they’re probably right. I can’t bring myself to write it, though.
My mother could. A couple weekends ago I found a journal she kept in September-October of 1996, the first eight weeks or so of my dad’s retirement. I don’t know why she started it or why she didn’t keep it up, but I wish I had more of it. Momma wrote just the way she talked. It makes it so easy to hear her.
Sweetest Day, October 19, 1996
Lezlie called and had me go over to her house and go shopping with her at Clarksville. We went to Captain D’s to eat. I had coupons I wanted to use. We had a good time we bought everything. There was a Flea Market at the old Sears store & we went. I got the cutest picture frames and some Christmas gifts. I got me a watch and some antique jewelry. Lezlie bought me a bracelet with thread, thimble, and sewing machine on it. We went to Walmart and bought several things and Lezlie got some cute Christmas ornaments. She stayed home tonight but she got gas yesterday [propane. I had been staying with them since I was out.] Lezlie left me at Cleghern’s so I could get some things I needed and she went to see Mama.
See what I mean? She had titled it “Sweetest Day” and it was no more than one of, I guess, fifty shopping trips we had taken. Perhaps it was one of those times she realized that I was growing up and we were about to enjoy an adult mother/daughter relationship. She was looking forward to that, and so was I. Unfortunately, I lost her not quite five years after this journal; I had just turned 29. We were cheated a bit in that, I believe.
I wish I had more of an insight to her life as she would have written it…everyday trips and tasks, her thoughts, her fears, her joys. I long to hear her voice. I want to be a fly on her wall.