Tag Archives: journals

The Important Things: My Answers

Doubtless his lot is important in his own eyes; and the chief reason that we think he asks too large a place in our consideration must be our want of room for him, since we refer him to the Divine regard with perfect confidence; nay, it is even held sublime for our neighbour to expect the utmost there, however little he may have got from us.
~ Middlemarch (George Eliot)

Sarah has posted some questions on her blog Stars and Rainbows — I can never resist answering these!

1. What is the one thing that makes you happiest, each day?
A peaceful day in which nothing has to be done or faced, and no fires have to be fought.

2. What is your biggest dream?
A more insightful, thoughtful and understanding world.

3. If you could meet your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give to her/him?
Keep in touch with your friends if possible, and keep that diary going! One day you will want to remember, and sometimes what you have written is a surprise… often good as well as bad. Also record your dreams… those are of interest too. Photos are good too, but they are never as evocative or as useful, somehow, as your own words from the past.

4. What is your most prized possession?
My sight. 🙂

5. What did school teach you?
That you learn more when you take an interest and get involved in your studies, especially when you choose additional books of your own (from the library or wherever). I didn’t hear at lessons, and sometimes didn’t hear what our homework was to be, and so home-study and planning were particularly important.

6. What has life, thus far, taught you?
That there’s no point banging your head against a brick wall, and that some people will believe what they want against all reason. Just accept you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and that so long as you get on with some people most of the time, you’re fine!

7. How would you describe your style?
Best when light…. but I keep forgetting that! 😉

8. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
It’s a way of getting your view across, while discovering and talking to other bloggers. It’s a way of venting steam, preferably without scalding anyone. Your blog is a record of your past thoughts and actions, and sometimes a reminder to get on with something that you were putting off and blogged about ages ago…

It’s also that moment when you think “what could I blog about today? It could be absolutely anything!” and feel an anticipatory thrill.

9. What is your favourite meal? Describe it, in a way that will make the reader want it.
Prawn curry! The rich tang of the curry sauce steams and curls under your nose. The plump sultanas glisten alongside sweet pink prawns, nestling on a bed of pearly white rice. At your side sits a large, finely etched glass of chilled white wine — we like ours to be dessert wine. Sometimes you also have a crunchy spiced poppadum —  I love to break mine into big pieces for scooping up the curry.

10. Imagine you are off on an adventure, and you need to pack a bag of food. What will your picnic consist of?
A Cornish Pasty or an onion bridie, if I felt a little more adventurous than usual! Sometimes cold quiche, or cous cous mixed with roast vegetables. Normally (more boringly) it would be a Marks and Sparks sandwich with a pricy little bottle of Coca-Cola.

11. What is the one thing that you wish everyone could understand?
It’s communication that’s important, not how one communicates.

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A Month of Books

Managed to sort through my books and put them away. The following pictures show my idea of ‘tidy’! There are hundreds more books in other bookcases and rooms.



The third photo (just above) is the reject pile… am ‘signing them off’ from my book database (when not feeling too tired and unmotivated). In the picture you can just about see a few Dean Koontz novels, including The Taking (large white hardback), Demon Seed (red) and Velocity.

Decided to see which books I’ve read in the past month (information taken from my journal):

The Taking (Dean Koontz) I already referred to it here.
Mr Murder (Dean Koontz) DK raised a sub-theme in this book of the importance of stories and novels.
Icebound (Dean Koontz) Very good. An Alistair Maclean type thriller. It’s the only one of DK’s novels I passed to Mum to read, as I didn’t think she would like the gory or supernatural occurences in the others!
Reader’s Digest Good Health Fact Book Mum brought it home and I read some of the sections and pondered! So it counts a little bit.
The Good Guy (Dean Koontz) Pretty good. You wondered who ‘Doorman’ was.
Demon Seed (Dean Koontz) Scary. Finished it in three hours.
Lightning (Dean Koontz) Better than I hoped. Quite science-fictional.
The Darkest Evening of the Year (Dean Koontz) Comment from my journal: “…too much about dogs and arsonists, but struggling on with it.” One of the villains had a perspective on women who write diaries! He believed there was no meaning in life, and it was dangerous to imagine there was. I had the thought that if you’re a prawn, you might end up in a dish of Stir-Fried Prawns with Pak Choi. I don’t know what that means.
Panicology (Simon Briscoe and Hugh Aldersey-Williams) About fears whipped up by the media. Less lightweight than I expected. Some of it was of interest, but in other places I felt it was as much opinion as anything. People’s priorities differ, and nobody has a crystal ball.
Outsider (John Francome) – my current reading. Interesting, but running some risks where I’m concerned. Will see…

In my journal, shortly after my comment on whether there’s meaning in life for prawns, I mentioned reading an article, by Louis Menand in The New Yorker, on why people read diaries. It said we get a better idea of what people are ‘like’ from seeing them through the eyes of others — so diaries mentioning others are more interesting (and illuminating) than those focused on self.

Again, it depends on priorities! Imagine if something happened and people had to live underground. It might be all you knew, if you were born there… but there could be an archive of books and diaries about living on the surface. In those circumstances, you would absorb all the bits about the warmth of the sun on your skin, and birds warbling away to themselves.

Just a thought…

PS: Checked the difference between diaries and journals — I definitely write the latter, though not as creative as I would like! Sometimes wish I could write less, so that ‘taking your diary with you’ would mean a couple of moleskin pocket books for the whole of your life. That’s because I worry about space, storage, flood and fire. (What would you save in a fire? I expect a multi-volume journal would be left behind). But this post is quite inspiring. Happy journalling! 🙂

Bloggy Hush

My blog went a bit quiet, didn’t it? I took a shot at working out why in my journal.

Sunday 15th Feb 2009

Feeling different today — not sure why. Elizabeth’s latest writing challenge is ‘A Feeling of Harmony‘ — would like to try, if I could get it together. (Is there something ironic about that?)

Feeling slightly scattered today. PC struggling. It was making quite a racket tonight so I shut it down and turned it off at the mains. There’s a risk it won’t ever turn on again when I finally try, but I won’t lose much of importance — the stuff  is backed up.

Just had a realization — been quiet on blog. I think it’s because I got so into writing this journal again, which is ironic, as I stopped journalling when I got deep into the blog a while back. Then I realized something important was missing from my life, and picked up the journal again. I only seem able to run both of them at full whack for a while, and then something gives.

I need to express my thoughts somehow, and they’re not all blogworthy… but if my journal was just a few lines or half a page a day, it wouldn’t have the same ‘gravity pull’ that this monster has, and the blog would stand a better chance.

I’m curious now; if I had to summarize today in a few lines, what would I choose to highlight? I’ll try that at the end of this entry.

Song in head is still Don’t Cry for Me Argentina by the Shadows.

When I was looking on the PC, I found a folder of ‘cat movies’. Truly dreadful they are, and all too short, but they are of Thor, Fusspot, Sharky. I didn’t want to look at them but couldn’t help myself. I started with ‘Fusspot talking’, and went on to all the rest. I smiled at them, even chuckled, but when I turned back to the Mac, I got sad.

Delilah came and looked at me, and I gave her a long hug, and played with the woodpecker-on-a-pole toy. She put her nose against it as though to feel its vibrations.

Don’t cry for me…

I need a new computer. I wish Apple would hurry up and update the iMac. I wonder if I should get a PC… even a little one would probably be faster and roomier… the old one is more than 10 years old. It has been around for Thor, Fusspot, Sharky, Lucky and all their photos.

That’s why I feel different. I’m contemplating change. The PC reminds me of the old cats and the old house, and I’m having to give it up now. And it’s also because I’m looking back more vividly (the movies). And there’s a funny smell around here — it came in through my bedroom window and all the cracks in the house. On some days I think “what’s that weird smell?” and it turns out to be ‘sea haar’ or something… but I’m not sure about today. It’s like varnish. So… it smells different and it makes me feel different… living a different life!

Oh, my little experiment — today in a few lines:

Beanfrog 1st. Ate 2 dragonflies. Worked on picture. PC v. noisy, have turned it off. Found some movies of Sharky and co on the PC — they made me sad. Song in head: Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. Read Elizabeth’s blog post ‘About Heart Day‘ and commented. Fish pie, peas and evil tinned macaroni cheese for supper — didn’t eat much.

It was so short I ran out of things to say! About the Heart Day blog post, I said to Elizabeth I used to like the quiet mystery of Valentine’s Day, but it’s become a kind of parade for established couples.

I don’t intend to give up either blog or journal…  or truncate them; not if I can help it. My world focuses on imagery and ideas. Even the the fish pie doesn’t get much of a look-in. At this rate I’ll end up meditating in a cave high in the hills somewhere… but only if I can run my computer from there.

Fusspot ForeverI looked for a photo of Fusspot to go with this post but they were mostly bad scans or taken by a very poor quality digital camera (1.3 megapixels! It wasn’t long before mobile phones could do better than that). He passed on a little while after I got the new Canon. He was already quite old and lanky. I found one half-decent photo and tried to brighten it, but the contrast went haywire. He looked out of the picture at me with his soulful blue eyes, and I had to close it.

We think we’re taking pictures for ourselves, but they’re really for other people. Others can look and say things like “oh, that’s what he looked like?” but we just want to close our eyes and remember quietly.

The day after watching the movies of the cats, I was resting my ears (no hearing aids) so I couldn’t hear a thing. And then I heard Fusspot yowl…  just once. I sat up and looked around, but Delilah continued to sleep peacefully. I think my brain manufactured it, the same way it creates a suitable ‘sound’ for every vibration.

I posted a pic of him before… I’ll just reuse that one. It’s one of my favourites anyway.

Saving Old Journals

About a week ago I found some old journals and have been typing them up. I suppose there’s little point having electronic back-ups unless the data is kept somewhere safe (a remote location). Any ideas? I could give CDs to family members, but how do I know they wouldn’t go and read them? 🙂

‘Promptly lose them’ would be more likely. Several years into the future, after my journals and computers have all been flooded out or burned to a crisp or whatever, I would ask the family members for my back-up CDs, and they would reply “what back-up CDs?”

I have to find a lasting, secure, accessible location that I wouldn’t forget about. (“Opal sesame!… no, that password didn’t work. And where is it anyway? This cave? That one?”)

While typing up the journals in Microsoft Word, I wondered how big each file can be without risk of it corrupting. I consulted the internet, and ’32MB’ is a figure that comes up a few times. As straight text, it wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m starting to add photographs as well. I tend to buy bright notebooks, ensuring each journal is distinct and recognizable. Keeping photos of the covers on the Word documents would be a good cross-reference (as well as a souvenir, supposing that something does happen to the original journals).

As you see, I’ve got it all worked out (except for one or two details), and am doubtless doing it all in the most labour-intensive way possible.

2005 Journal Cover

Here’s the cover for the 2005 journal I’m typing up just now — I bought it in Woolworths for £1.49. Let’s see if there’s a journal snippet I can bear to share… this was from before I started blogging, so it’s unlikely to be repeating anything I’ve already said.

Friday 21 January 2005

Mum abandoned me by the bears in Cancer Research UK. I nearly bought a Disney bear video but decided it wasn’t my scene. So I trudged back to her house, rapping myself at every step with her windscreen wipers, and had bread and margarine for lunch.

Then I walked Thundercloud, sat with my sloth and played ‘Kings and Aces’ on Mum’s computer. Then we reorganized Mum’s I.E. toolbar.

When Mum came home we shared a dish of fish. I showed her the toolbar and then she drove us out to feed Jim, then drove me and the sloth and the new kitchen mat home and I tried to watch Cadfael on ITV3 but it wasn’t subtitled, though the TV Guide said it was. The last time they had Cadfael (a week ago) it WAS subtitled. But it wasn’t subtitled before that. They confuse me.

I wasn’t really in the mood to watch TV anyway, so I turned the TV off without a mumble. I forgot how I started that sentence because I wouldn’t have ended it that way. Very sleepy. Read a letter from Annie.

Wrote an email to Joy about the newspaper article she sent me a week ago. ‘Did the animals sense the tsunamis?’

At some point during the evening I got quite heavy-hearted and wasn’t sure why. I had a feeling I would remember something specific if I thought about it hard enough but I didn’t want to. Though later I remembered I felt sad when Annie said in her letter that she can’t stand Jim Carrey. Mum said the same yesterday – “I wouldn’t watch Liar Liar if you paid me.” I know he overacts but I’m not sure where this strong dislike comes from.

Oh yes, E was telling us this morning that Emma came home from holiday and her parents have a Siamese cat that just turned up on their doorstep and they were trying to find the owner – rather reluctantly as they didn’t think it was possible to find owners. They wanted information on why Siamese cats were so loud and wouldn’t stop yowling. Then E emailed me and said they found the owner and it was the next-door neighbour, who didn’t want the cat any more.

That’s it right there… the defaulting Siamese owner depressed me. There we are trying to say “yes we want to know where our cats stray to,” and this person just didn’t. What are they going to learn from that?

I was sitting here eating an expensive Baci chocolate. A little gold slip of paper fell out of it when I unwrapped it. It said ‘Love asks me no questions and gives me endless support.’

RACING FROG UPDATE

My racing frog (introduced in my last blog post) was 3rd in today’s race, and has qualified for the Superfrog this coming Sunday. He won’t do well in the Superfrog as he’s too young and new, but it’s nice for him to get in this early. This morning he caught a Praying Mantis powerboost in his trap, which is better than yesterday’s Thermal Core and Pike Scales. (Strangely. Is that a statement about the power of stealth and cunning?) Cross your digits for him…


Click image to supersize…

Answering a Writing Challenge I

Well, as I have a hard copy of this in Word now, I can use ScribeFire to post it on my blog!

Answering a writing challenge by Elizabeth at 1sojournal:

I am: enjoying blogging and other internet interactions.
When I reread this sentence later, I thought it significant that I described blogging as an ‘interaction’ rather than some kind of platform where I write and other people read.

I think: too much. A few days ago I thought myself into a low mood. It’s called ‘remembering slights and wrongs, and brooding about them’. Elizabeth pointed out it can help to work through things in a private journal. I fear some subjects and avoid them, and if I do write about something bad that happened, it unsettles me all over again to read it later… even years later. But I wonder if laying out why one feels a certain way about things might help to make it less of a bugaboo.

I know: nothing’s ever black and white.

I hate: losing things I’ve worked on. An earlier attempt at this was swallowed by ScribeFire. I can’t remember everything I wrote (up to and including the point of ‘I hear’… which comes in a later part) and so I’m putting some different answers. I can’t recreate what was going through my mind before, as I was in a different mood.

I also hate: when people criticize those they’ve not met themselves or don’t know very well, or have never personally spoken to. What makes any of them think they know everything there is to be known about another person or family, and that it’s possible to ‘snap out of’ something they’ve never personally experienced? Some of those who are the most confident in their judgement are the least knowledgeable.

I miss: those days when I believed people actually listened to what you were saying and weren’t looking for an excuse to think the worst of you or anyone else.

I was starting to get a bit grumpy, but then I’d been reading some things that made my hair stand on end. 🙂

Dear Diary, I’m Not Ignoring You

I recently read an article saying most diarists name their diaries and address them directly. I don’t, and I’m not convinced that the ‘dear diary’ approach is all that common? I’m intrigued by the idea, though, and tried it last night in my private journal.

Dear Diary

Have you had a good Hogmanay? Who did you spend it with? I’m afraid I was spending my own Hogmanay with Blog. I hope you weren’t lonely or jealous. I quite agree, we have enough problems already how would I ever be able to talk to you if you were having nervous breakdowns or going through spells of not speaking to me?

Blog got in a mood too the other day. I wanted to grumble about Christmas cards, but Blog refused to let me publish it, saying it was unworthy of me and unworthy of the Christmas spirit. If Blog censors everything I write, and you get jealous and turn your frosted plastic back on me, 2006 will go largely unrecorded.

I thought that would make you sit up. Happy New Year anyway.

Lots of love from Diddums XXX