Skip to main content
PBS logo

The Eclectic Pen - Mine By Default

By: Kris R. (kristress)   + 4 more  
Date Submitted: 1/20/2009
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Memoirs
Words: 434

  As I'm packing away the detritus of a failed marriage, a thwarted attempt at independence, and a lifetime of packrat-ism, preparing to reset my life yet again, I have found still another example of my obsessive need to organize:

The Journal.

This is a misnomer. It is a large binder with print outs, notebooks, and page protectors stuffed with pages torn from other notebooks, coffee-stained (and...eww, I think that one may be bloodstained) paper placemats, scraps of paper, drawings, songs, handwritten scrawls, and terrible poetry. It represents more than twenty years of my life, and furnishes evidence of a vaguely interesting progression in handwriting.

(Really bad poetry. And some stinkers masquerading as songs. We won't discuss the "drawings".)

During times of stress and abrupt change in my life, I feel the need to reflect. Sometimes leafing through this small tome feels like penance, and I wonder why I insist on beating myself up about the past. Other times I'm just so glad I'm past that stage that the relief coincides with laughter, and I'm glad no one's around to which I'd have to explain myself.

Much of what this binder contains embarrasses me: the blatant egocentricism, the deliberate ignorance of others' feelings, the chest-beating and self-pity. Some of what I read reminds me of old wounds, and I'm always surprised how they still hurt. The comprehension that comes with age and experience doesn't mitigate the pain, just gives it new perspective. I can laugh at a witty turn of phrase that's apt even with the passage of time, or shake my head bemusedly at the cues I missed and the issues I found just so overwhelmingly important. I'm reminded of people long since gone from my life, and can treasure the time spent with them in equal measure with regret for things left unsaid.

In the end, I always wonder why I keep it. It has no worth to anyone but myself.

In the end, I suppose that's why I keep it.

It's my life, written in my hand, in my voice, for no one's eyes other than my own. As I get older, I increasingly value the freedom that kind of writing offers to express the truth of whatever I'm feeling, whatever I'm thinking, without apology or explanation. I don't always need to write about myself, which makes it somewhat more than a diary, but no less selfish. No matter what else happens, this patchwork of words and textures is perhaps the one thing in my life that is--irrefutably and unabashedly--mine.

It doesn't matter that no one else would want the damned thing, anyway.
Especially the poems.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Kris R. (kristress)

Member Comments

Leave a comment about this story...

Comments 1 to 3 of 3
Marta J. (booksnob) - 1/21/2009 8:57 AM ET
I'm enjoying your pieces so much. Your writing is excellent; intelligent, reflective, and engaging. I hope you're working on a novel, because I would most definitely read it.
Veronica S. (snowkitty) - , - 1/24/2009 3:28 PM ET
Well done, Kris.
Vickie H. (Vee) - 1/25/2009 5:54 PM ET
absolutely beautiful, so honest....even brutally so.. and hence so familiar. how many of us do these sorts of things? how many of us are unpublished authors, how many whose lives went down the wrong tracks long ago never to be redirected. oh well, it is funny sometimes isn't it? hilarious actually. and who knows, maybe that's a greater accomplishment after all---learning to laugh at yourself in all your guises.
Comments 1 to 3 of 3