Number sixty starts now.
I completed journal #59 yesterday.
I paged through the past five months of journal entries this morning over breakfast, looking for things to save: inspiring quotes I'd scribbled in the margins, outstanding to-dos, insights I wanted to remember.
In doing so, I realized that I'd already captured most of the good stuff here on this here blog. The Errol Morris quote about pursuing truth. The Emily Carr quote about the importance of record-keeping. The clinkety-clank writing exercise.
Here's a new quote for the digital record: "Insight doesn't come from concentration," Lynda Barry said in the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. "If you're trying to figure something out, you can't do it by concentrating really hard."
I've been drawn to Barry's work lately. I love how it captures a joyful delight in the darkness and absurdity of life. Maybe that's my way back into the book. Reckless curiosity and candor. That childlike levity is what's missing from my current draft. The pathos and humor of such an investigation.
It's like the time a childhood friend and I spent an afternoon playing with the body of a squirrel that had been hit on the road. So macabre to think of it now, children playing with roadkill. But how that afternoon sticks with me, even now. How much that experience taught us. There was the Disney version of animals, and then there was this dead, decomposing thing with matted fur and bared teeth. There was the world adults carefully crafted for us out of words and pictures, then there was the real world: a dark carnival of cruelty. And nothing could stop us from shining a flashlight into that darkness. We were reckless in our curiosity, brash with confidence.
We held a funeral for that little squirrel. We cried over his body. Then we dropped him between the bars of a sewer grate to free him from the wide open, and we went home feeling that some small justice had been restored.