Thursday, April 12, 2012


(This is the tenth in what will eventually be series of 26 posts I’ve undertaken: each day’s post centers on a topic connected to the next letter of the alphabet from the previous post. The posts all have to do, directly or indirectly, with teaching and learning.)

Collage: "Voluptuous Discards" RBS 2010

Core belief: the act of writing itself is an act of value-creation. When you write, something is created that did not exist before, and there is at least a chance that that something will turn out to be worthwhile or surprising or interesting to you, the writer, and potentially to others.

Corollary: that writing, like most skill-based activities, becomes better with practice.

Implication: if you value what writing can do, for your thinking, for your brain, for your ability to generate and articulate ideas and work your way from first thoughts to second, more fully developed thoughts, it only makes sense to write regularly: daily if possible.

Definition: Journal: "A personal record of occurrences, experiences, and reflections kept on a regular basis; a diary." (AHED)

Demonstration: In my very first post on Throughlines five and a half years ago, I wrote about making the move from an analog journal—which I was keeping then and am still keeping now—to an online journal. I referenced a poem by William Stafford which I put before you again today, because it's still apt, not just because it helps to develop todays "J" theme—although that's what brought it back to my mind—but because it is such a good example of how even the simplest of writerly moves, like the making of a list, can become a celebration of language, of life, of consciousness, of the act of writing itself:

What's in My Journal

Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
Things, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
a new grave. Pages you know exist
but you can't find them. Someone's terribly
inevitable life story, maybe mine.

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