I used to write to only me. Since the first time I wrote in a journal at the young age of six up until I was 28 years old, the written form of inner workings from my heart and head were confined only to the pages of a journal. My journals fill my book shelves, all an extension of me, each with their own story.
There are some things that one must always keep to themselves. The secrets of the soul. The same way two lovers might hold on to something special between the both of them, a special moment or inside joke that no one could understand, nor needs to, because it’s theirs and that’s what makes it even more special. My journals are filled with those moments, except they are only mine.
The journals will follow me everywhere I go, gaining a new friend every year or two and continuing to hold the recipe to my present self. Every so often, I return to a certain point in my life by opening one of these carefully chosen books. I can read an entry I wrote that time I sat on a wooden picnic table with the late afternoon sun coursing through the green leaves of eucalyptus trees on Australia’s eastern coast, and I can feel the exact same way I felt in that moment, even though it’s been almost ten years. I pretend I don’t know the seventeen year old girl who had fallen in love for the first time. Or the twenty one year old who skipped class to sit on the edge of a cliff staring out at the water wondering in such suffering detail what would become of her life after graduation. And I want to take that person by the arms and hug her, for all of her worries and her wonders and her thoughts. In retrospect, she is everything she needs to be in that moment.
The words capture a moment in time, an experience, and each entry is a gift from my past, connecting me with the experiences that have created this person I am in the present. Those journals are filled with those little moments with myself, and only I can and will ever know what it felt like because only I read them.
My life has changed since I began to write to an external space, a piece of blank paper that anyone could access, a blog. Now I can bring life to those moments that would have been only mine, lost in between the lines of black ink scrawled across dusty sheets of paper bound in books which sit on a cluttered shelf. I can experience a moment as beautiful and magical as anyone could ever imagine, and I can record it in myself, recreate it through words and offer it as a gift to anyone that should happen upon it. This is the power of the storyteller. Often times, when we read something that we really identify with, it is because it relates to an experience that we are having or have had. There are finally words for the emotion we have been feeling. There is another person bringing understanding to something we didn’t even know we had misunderstood. And we realize we are not the only one.
As our eyes move across the letters of each word, we find our heads nodding in agreement, or our eyes welling with tears or our lungs searching for long breaths of air. The reader connects with the writer. And the writer has connected with its reader, usually without ever knowing it. This connection, I believe, is the writer’s success.
Today I’ll sit somewhere in the world and write about what is moving through me and what I am moving through in this time right now, with so much wonder about what will happen in this life before me, even in the next year. And then one day, maybe a year from now, I will sit somewhere else in the world and open up to that same page and read those wonders, perhaps laughing or crying or smiling because I will know how it all turns out. I will be transported to the past with the secret knowledge of the future. It is then that I am both writer and reader.
I will write until one day I cannot hold a pen to paper, and on that day I might as well die. I am enjoying writing to others. Though in the end, I will always write for me.