A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Keeping Track of Time (#atozchallenge)

Tee and Cara   "Keeping Track"  (1968)

     --a note about the music:  Tee and Cara's As They Are is one of my favorite albums.  Sadly it did not gain the recognition it deserved although I guess it now has a minor cult status.  I hope you will give it a listen.  I was tempted to use every song on it in my A to Z series.

Keeping Track of Time

         I've always thought about keeping a diary.  Those historical records like the diary of Samuel Pepys who famously chronicled London life in the 1600's fired my imagination when I read excerpts in high school. Anne Frank's diary has inspired many with her harrowing story of living in hiding from the Nazis.  Many movies and literary works have used the diary as a device for telling a story.   Keeping track of the events in my life in written form has often been something that I felt that I should do.

        Yet, I never seemed to be able to keep up a momentum to maintain an ongoing  record of my life.  I would sometimes start.  I'd get a journal or composition book having all the best of intent to faithfully start a diary.  Then after an entry or two I'd forget to write in it, eventually stopping altogether and stuffing the diary in a drawer.

        During my senior year of high school and into my first year of college I faithfully kept a dream diary.  I recorded my dreams in great detail and still have those notebooks to this day.   But that was not exactly my real life.  What happened during my waking hours is now mostly hazy memories if remembered at all.

        Life journal entries are something I tend to start writing when I'm depressed or when some negative event is hanging over me.  During my separations from my first and second wives I wrote a lot.  Sometimes I'd write about my days or I'd write about my feelings.   There were many songs and poems inspired by my hurt and sadness.  I suppose my creative writing qualifies as a form of journaling since I was digging from the depth of my emotions.

          In the summer of 1971 I embarked on what was to be a grand hitchhiking tour across the United States.   Each day I recorded in detail the aspects of my adventure and my impressions of the places that I had been.  There were many pages of writing for this journey that was cut short to a mere month of travel as opposed to several months.   A decade later a briefcase that contained this journal and many other writings was stolen when someone broke into my van in the Holiday Inn parking lot in Greeley, Colorado.  My grandest attempt at journaling probably ended up in a dumpster somewhere with many details of my memory gone with it.

          Like prayer, journaling is something I tend to do more of in times when I'm downcast.   I'm better with prayer since it's easier to say a quick "thank-you" now and then.  Writing takes more effort and time.  When I'm having happy times or good times there is little time for writing about it all.   Time just flies by pleasantly and usually the things I have to show for those experiences are of the nature of photographs or souvenir mementoes related to whatever I was doing at those times.

           Hurt and sadness gnaws long and agonizingly on the heart, mind, and soul.  Those are the times when you have to tell somebody what you're feeling and often that someone is yourself.  I've often turned to writing to sort out my feelings.  Somehow maybe I can find answers by writing.   Or at very least express my frustration or even rage.   Happy times often don't permit writing and pondering.  These are the times to live in the moment and hope to remember the experience.

           Keeping track of time can be tedious, meticulous, and self-indulging.   Or at other times keeping track of time can be quickly scribbled notes that are lost or unintelligible if not expounded upon quickly.  Time goes faster than any of us can adequately ever keep track of.     I suppose if I kept track of all the time in my life I wouldn't be doing that much actual living.

            Do you keep a journal of your life events?    Did you ever faithfully keep a diary in your past?   How do you think journaling life events can help you or others?

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  1. Hi Arlee,
    This is really interesting!
    Since my childhood I used to keep diaries and some of them are still with me and sometimes i flip thru it. what a reminiscences it is!!
    Thanks for this post.
    Have a Happy weekend

  2. I kept a diary/journal starting January 1, 1977, in 7th grade, till 2009. The last thing I wrote was 'I'm not writing anymore until something good happens.' 2009 was a baaaad year. Then Russell came into my life and I did try to catch up on over a year's worth of my life, in the spring of 2012 but I got writer's cramp and stalled out. Typing is just easier and faster.

  3. Hi there - Interesting post. :)

  4. I've kept journals (including a Dream Journal) at various times in my life. I still have the one from when I was in 5th grade, and it's a hoot. (You probably saw the 'STUFFS' blog bit I did, where I posted excerpts about this girl I had a crush on.)

    The last time I kept a journal (circa 2007), I read it again a year later and decided I would never want anyone reading that stuff after I was gone, so I destroyed it.

    My journal days are over.

    Too bad about your journal being stolen - I would have been interested in reading some of the entries from your hitchhiking adventure.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  5. PV -- Revisiting old writing helps to put our life into perspective.

    JoJo --I don't write anything that's extensive by hand anymore. These days my blog is as close to a journal that I have.

    Diane -- Hi--uninteresting comment. Hope you come back some day with a bit more to say.

    StMc --I'd especially like to have my journey journal now that I'm writing more. It had a lot of detailed accounts in it. I lost some good stuff in that break-in. It happened directly across the street from the police station too.


  6. I've always kept Journals-diaries in high school, until now. After I started my blogs I keep less paper journals.

    PS I wish I would have backpacked across the US in the 70s. Pretty sure my mother would have cried and my dad would have followed me every step of the way.

  7. I am huge fan of having a journal. I've had journals every now and then and now I am planning to start the habit again and preserve them (:


  8. Teresa -- A young woman trekking on her own could be dangerous. There were times when I felt like I was putting myself at great risk out there alone. I'm glad I made the trip for as long as I did.

    Indigo --Good luck with your journaling. It's something that requires a good deal of dedication.


  9. I'm listening to the song now Arlee - it's lovely. I had a journal stolen from my car once too... The police found my bag in a dumpster, wallet still had cash in it, but the journal was gone... I still miss it sometimes. Most of my twenties is journaled. I've drawn from them many times, especially when talking to twenty- somethings about their trials and triumphs.

  10. I’ve read all of these A to Z posts this year. Actually, I’ve been following along from the time you encouraged STMc (in a comment) to come here and check out the music you were posting. I have not commented before this because I didn’t want to be tempted to start in on some of my own ‘stories’ that might relate to you post. Cheap, I know, but then, ‘you know me’. It’s my opinion that NOTHING should take away from the sheer beauty of your words here.

    Today I decided to come back because I wanted to tell you something about you. These are marvelous posts, wonderfully written, the best thing I’ve read anywhere in the A to Z Challenge (or elsewhere for that matter) EVER. I have also been reading and following you posts at ‘Tossing It Out’ and perhaps if I was more interested in marketing or currently had something to market I would be more excited, but really it’s just more of what everybody else is posting, BUT these stories here are something I could read/listen to all day.

    You state openly that your desire is to be a published author. Well, my friend, here is your ‘gold mine’. I figure the A to Z challenge has gone on for what? About five years? If your previous posts on ‘Wrote by Rote’ are as good as these, and each equals about five hundred words, that a total of around 65,000 words. Add in a few more for an introduction and something to wrap everything up at the end and there is your published work. I’ve even come up with a title for you; ‘My Life by the Letters’.

    Isn’t all of this rather presumptuous of me? You bet! But, so what. It might all be in the imagination of some ‘dumb blonde’, but I have no doubt that it would sell. What have you got to lose? The whole thing is already written.

    I hope you don’t take this wrong, but after reading Wrote by Rote, I’ve decided you are a writer with real author potential and not just a yakker, like most of the bloggers out there. Oh look, now I’ve offended a whole ‘nother group of folks. Oh well, like I said earlier; ‘you know me’.

    {I was going to send you this message as an email, as opposed to a comment, but instead I thought maybe others should read it too. Maybe someone with more influence in your life will start to encourage you in this same direction. Of course, I’m a day late and a dollar short, of a lot of people seeing it, because tomorrow everyone will be onto the next batch of 2000+ A to Z posts.}

  11. Ida -- The thief must have valued your journal more than the money. You're lucky to have that treasury of recorded memories that you do have.

    Faraway -- Your words here mean a lot to me. My marketing posts at Tossing It Out are essentially obligatory entries to the Challenge. I hope they're encouraging or helpful, but my real favorite postings that I'd rather more people read are the ones on this memoir blog. Thank you for reaffirming what I believe about this. I do have a memoir series "in the works" that is becoming more my writing focus, but I'll keep what you've said in mind. "My Life by the Letters" might be a good approach with the Wrote By Rote stories. I need more motivation though. I don't know what it is with me and my writing. The blogging is relatively safe. Going beyond that and publishing a book is something I seem to be avoiding. Encouragement from you and others for whom I have much respect is a big help.
    This blog is probably my favorite, but the one that I still feel is the most important is A Few Words. It is my least read blog and yet I feel most compelled to keep the posts there going It's my mission for God. It's the one blog that I'd like to think could possibly make a difference for someone.
    Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. You have brightened this evening for me.


  12. I kept a diary as a young girl, and it was a hoot to read. Somewhere along the line, I must have gotten rid of it, thinking someone would read it and think I was an idiot.

    At one time in my life, I was faithfully keeping a prayer journal and somehow got away from the habit. I found it and reread parts of it and wondered where my head was at during those times...I actually sounded like someone who knew what she was talking about. Whaddya know.

    For as much as I love to write, I still haven't gotten back into the prayer journaling. I think of it occasionally, though.

  13. Very true. My attempts to continue keeping a journal or Diary failed few times in the past but am planning to give it a serious attempt now after taking up the pen once again...Request if you can visit my blogs and let me know your thoughts...

  14. Lynda -- It can be so interesting to read past writings to get glimpse into who we were at those times. Lynda you should go back to journaling. So should I.

    Jayanta -- I think writing on the computer can simplify keeping track of one's life. Blogging can also help some.



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Arlee Bird