I opened The Damn Box and survived to tell the tale
After all this drama and procrastination, you’d think the process would be full of pomp and ceremony wouldn’t you? But no. Just me, on a regular Wednesday afternoon, crouched on my back lawn, blades of grass tickling my ankles as I lifted the lid. No fanfare, no blinding light, no sigh of relief. Just a mess of Styrofoam pieces protecting a man’s innermost thoughts.
I sat quietly with the open box, warm sun on my neck, and let feelings rise up to announce themselves. First came Sadness of course, holding hands with Loss and Longing. Adult Anger marched in beside the little girl of Rage who wanted to tantrum and get her Daddy back. A slice of Defeat carried in the awareness that we will all too be gone one day, despite our mammoth carryings on. I sat and sat, feeling and watching the Emotion Chorus wind its way through me, while my cat wound his body round my legs.
Finally, it felt like time to move on. So I took a deep breath, and laid out the journals one by one.
Stepping-stones? To where?
Or tombstones perhaps:
But their symmetry made me smile: Dad had bought the same brand, year after year, once he’d started with that cheap blue one from his local supermarket in Paris.
It seems like a good point here to reveal that I too keep private journals, and have done so for about 10 years. It became a more committed part of my life after I read ‘The Artist’s Way’ in 2005, and now I can’t imagine life without them.
BUT, (and this is a huge, capitalized, boldly-coloured ‘BUT’), I write under the assumption that no one will ever read them– hell, I don’t even want to re-read half of the whiny, small, sad crap I get off my chest! I write whatever I want: death wishes against bad motorists/rampant ambition for world domination/lists of things to-do today/dream contents/career complaints/romantic fantasies/financial worries and money-making schemes/positive affirmations/creative drives/child-rearing struggles, and of course relationship highs and lows. It’s all there, over and over and over, in 200-page spiral-bound A4 notebooks.
And the one person in the entire world that I would most hate to read any of them? My own child.