Thursday, January 20, 2011

Brain Grindings

I started reading my journal today because I thought I might write about the time in college I thought I was going to die. It's a good story that will have to wait for another time because after I read about that night, I couldn't stop reading my journal. It's great fun to see what was going through my head when I was 20ish. I was so ... something. Naive? Young? Clueless? Yes, probably clueless. I was a late bloomer for sure.

But I was a thinker and I was a writer. So I filled up journal after journal of clueless stream of consciousness. It's good stuff.

I came across this quote by Mark Twain that really spoke to me at the time, and I recorded it in my journal on 28 February 1993:

"What a wee little part of a person's life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history. These are his life and they are not written. Every day would make a whole book of 80,000 words--365 books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man--the biography of the man himself cannot be written."

If I remember correctly, I found that quote in a Reader's Digest we were using in the bathroom for emergency toilet paper. (TMI?)

At the time, this meant a lot to me. Maybe because I felt I had so much more to offer than what people were seeing on the outside. I had thoughts and ideas that I wanted to share, but didn't know how. So I wrote in my journal. And as I look at page after handwritten page, and read what was going through my head, I am transported right back to my college house and bedroom. My bed was jacked up on cinder blocks so I'd have more storage space underneath, and I'd sit up there with my pillow and blanket, and I would write my deepest feelings.

On the next page I see this, highlighted in yellow:

Goals for 1993: See a Sting concert, quantity not quality dating (this is how I will feed myself!), spend all spare time in the library, maximize my wardrobe.

(I am so tempted to edit that "dating" bit.)

So, dead Mark Twain, I believe it's best to keep those 80,000 word books off the shelves thank you very much. Although I must admit, it is just as great as I thought it would be to finally have someone who knows and loves my brain grindings.

5 comments:

Samurai Mom said...

I am so glad you left the dating part in. Very sensible if you ask me.

Natalie said...

That was 8 days after I got engaged. And since you don't even mention that in there, I'm forced to recognize that my engagement wasn't nearly as important to everybody else as I thought it was at the time. Hee-hee. We are SO wrapped up in ourselves at that age. But I agree with Samurai-- you were very sensible.

Afton said...

I hope it goes without saying, I accomplished not one of those 1993 goals.

I-Shüan Warr said...

I always wonder what will happen to my old journals. I don't think I'd like to pass them down for posterity.

Would you let your kids read them? Maybe when they're grown up? Or maybe it's less likely that you'd want them to read them when they're older?

a said...

There is a local radio show called Live Wire. One of the most fun acts they do is just have people come in and read a journal entry. They read them with all the drama that the person wrote them. It is quite fun and always makes me glad that my journals accidentally burned years ago. hahahaha