Friday, May 27, 2016

Technology Fails and Journaling Gratitude

Last night, I posted this on my Facebook feed:

"At least when I am on the phone (my cell phone, because my "land line" isn't working at all after the last technician visited) with Comcast for several hours after spin class, I'm not eating junk or drinking empty calories. Although my quest to have a modern telecom company provide me with something basic like a dial tone I can rely on or incoming calls that actually make the phone ring might in fact drive me to drinking!"

I didn't plan to be on the phone with Comcast for several hours last night.  I had thought I might write.  I am close to the end of my short story that has something to do with Prince's death, with aging, with midlife, with passionate kisses in the Greyhound station parking lot.  I didn't finish it last night, but I will finish it this week-end.

My day was book-ended by technology troubles.  On Wednesday, Comcast came to the house AGAIN.  I've lost count of how many times the technicians have come.  We got our third new modem in 6 weeks.  My spouse forgot to tell me that we had a new modem, thus a new password, and so on Thursday morning, I tried to connect to the Internet for 20 minutes before I gave up.

Happily, we had electric and my laptop worked, so I settled into other writing, mostly journaling of all sorts.  I wanted to do some end-of-shred analysis, and I had some offline journaling that I did too.  I confess that later, when I got online, I used some of that writing in yesterday's blog post, but when I was writing, I didn't think about that.

I was enjoying the feeling of writing just for me, of doing some self-growth work; I was enjoying it so much that I almost felt sad when my computer reconnected with the larger world.

All day, I thought about my various journaling this spring.  Some of it is a return to the type of journaling that I've always done--wrestling with life situations on the page, as I try to sort out my emotions and check in with myself.  I've kept a dream journal, which I once did in college.  Some of it is new:  the visual journaling that has brought me such joy.  I've been interested in my focused journals:  journal of a retreat week and journal of the 10 day shred.  I haven't done any journaling by hand--well, that's not exactly true, is it?  While I haven't written by hand, I have done my visual journaling by hand.

And yesterday I came across this article, which makes the argument that taking notes by hand is better than taking notes with a laptop.  And this morning, this blog post by Michelle Francl-Donnay, a chemistry professor who urges her graduating students to write:  "I think I should have been giving this advice to all my students. Write, no matter if you are on the road, or planted for four years in a doctoral program, or starting a working life. Write often, write with purpose, catch the details when they are fresh.  You will not, I think, ever regret having this door to these days of your life."

I love this kind of writing and could do it all day.  At times it seems a strange passion, and I think I might rather strum my fingers raw mastering the guitar or mandolin.  At times, I wish I had more glorious colors to blend together on a canvas.  But most of the time, I'm simply grateful for this writing and spiritual practice which has sustained me for so long.

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