Write in a journal long enough, and you’ll eventually earn some interest on your deposits.
I’ve been scribbling in journals since 1994. And seeing as I burn through a 200-page notebook in the same time it takes me to sand down a pair of running shoes (every two months or so), I must have close to 120 old ones lying around.
From time to time, I’ll pick one up and read it. Just to remind myself what I was thinking at a particular time.
Every now and again I’ll come across a nice turn of phrase, maybe even something I can use in a future story. For instance, I just found the line “she had sunburned cheeks, the colour of squashed plums.” It’s a bit florid, but you never know, I may use it someday.
Occasionally I’ll come across something that I’m not 100% certain that I wrote. For instance:
“Family is like a staple in your heart. It hurts like hell. But it holds us together.”
Usually when I steal a line from someone else, I’ll attribute the source. But in that case, I didn’t credit anyone. Does that mean I wrote those great lines myself?
Possible, but not likely. I was sorely tempted to use those lines in my soon-to-be-published book, but in the end, I didn’t trust that it was mine, so I left it out.
Sometimes, while sniffing through old journals, I’ll come across an unexpected surprise. I have no idea why I was thinking about fables in 2009, but here’s what I wrote in September of that year:
One day Cricket was tired. Turtle was passing by, and so she let Cricket climb onto her back. Turtle swam through the water, which made Cricket very excited. The waves! The sunshine! The sense of adventure!
In gratitude, Cricket bent his legs, and sang a song for Turtle. Turtle pulled up onto the shore, and sat there awhile, listening to the beautiful music. Turtle fell in love with Cricket’s song, and the pair stayed together for many years. They were very happy, what with Cricket singing songs, and Turtle ferrying the two of them back and forth across the river.
One day, Turtle dug a hole and lay an egg. When the egg hatched, a funny-looking creature popped out. It sang songs like a cricket, and had long legs which it used to jump. But it loved to swim through the water with webbed hands and feet.
And that is how Frog came into the world.
Again, I didn’t attribute it to anyone. Does that mean I actually wrote it myself? Or did I hear it told aloud at a storytelling event, or from a child, and rush home to share it with my journal?
I can’t be sure. I don’t remember. So if anyone recognizes this story, please let me know.