Joan Didion has written about how notebooks are essential in keeping memories.
Twitter and Facebook and Instagram ruined our memories, making us all-too dependent for affirmation and hype, that the only memories we stick are those with the best filters, that the principles that win are those which are retweeted the most, and liked the most.
Then there’s the hard drive on our laptop where we dump our brains and hearts, assuming they’ll forever be saved, and we can just go back there anytime we want to.
I have a problem with keeping a journal.
For one, my penmanship is shoddy, and I had to begin writing at the back of my notebooks. I lost track where they’re resting, and my twin brother once snooped around it, read one entry where I bashed him for meddling on my religious exploration in college. He told mom, and mom told her neighbor friends because she can’t imagine me turning away from Catholicism. Also, the world is too harsh for a lefty, sweaty hand.
My thoughts are rambling around anything. My journal entries were with Nevermore, my 2010 Samsung laptop. They were in some folders: 1. journal entries; 2. drafts; 3. dates. My terrible poems I modelled after Sylvia Plath and Joni Mitchell also were with Nevermore, my 2010 Samsung laptop. My early drafts of unpublished essays using the font we call Garamond were with Nevermore, my 2010 Samsung laptop. My germ of ideas for writeups were written on the Notepad with Nevermore, my 2010 Samsung laptop. My unsent letters were with Nevermore, my 2010 Samsung laptop. My academic papers, letters of complaint, screenshots, travel pictures, videos, and prayers were with Nevermore, my 2010 Samsung laptop. Notice the past tense with Nevermore, he brought it to his grave when the local disk was damaged, and I couldn’t reclaim them anymore.
“I just want to preserve memories without being overwhelmed by standards, without sacrificing authenticity. “
So I bought Joan Didion—not the writer but the Macbook—in 2018. My unsent letters are in the Notes I wrote in Elsewhere Held and Lingered, the name of my iPad. It has its sync features so the unsent letters I composed lazily in Elsewhere Held And Lingered go to Joan Didion, the Macbook. Then my other writings are in Word. Sometimes divided by date, or sometimes by theme, but is all around Joan Didion’s folders: desktop, downloads, and documents.
Joan Didion scares me sometimes. She’s a Sagittarius, so I wouldn’t know when she’ll leave me. I’m referring to the Macbook, not to the writer.
I imagined recording on Voice Memos, where I may capture my voice for some important events. I am fascinated with podcasts. I listen to it on a daily basis. But doing it freaks me out because I hate hearing my squeaky voice. I hate speaking, and as I told my friend while I was stammering, “I can’t even finish a fucking sentence!”
My students told me one of their favorite hobbies are watching vlogs, and I thought, oh, it’s a nice option. But the thought of my thought whispered to me, “No one’s interested with you. You have poor lighting. You have a poor camera. You have few shirts to sport. You can’t even make your bed. Your bedsheet is for your eyes only, because your mom sewed it for you. Your pillowcases do not match your bedsheet and curtains. You hate hearing yourself, that muffled squeaks and the uhh-ahh.”
I am ready to give up social media apps. In my gadgets, Messenger is the only app remaining and in use. I need a break, because I have developed anxiety and depression, and it’s a toxic and artificial realm. I have no chill. I hate it when people ignore me, hate it even when I figure out nobody reads me, hate it even more when I figure out snide remarks and Twitter blocks from people important to me.
I lurk at my favorite writers’ website, and read their blogs. I thought it’s cool to do the stuff done by Jessica Zafra and Conchitina Cruz and the late Luis Katigbak. George Ezra’s website also has a ‘journal’ section, and that’s my favorite part. I figured that by publishing my entries on a blog, I will not be overwhelmed or pressured by the page visits or trends. WordPress and blogspot are rarely used now. People my age are too busy with their lives to read a long, rambling essay, which is why vlogs are a thing. I won’t mind if I won’t receive any comments or encouragement, because it’s given that we have short span of attention, so I will not be surprised if this activity seems like talking only to myself. And if you are able to reach this part of this entry, we have something in common and know that I treasure you already for spending four minutes (?) (I am poor on guesstimating) with me. Please hang on, because I have other things to say on the next paragraphs.
I cannot commit to write each day, or each week, but it’s safe to say that I will write anything here for now. Instead of poring over my Facebook and Twitter doing nothing, I’ll organize them here.
If I’m comfortable to share, I might write about my mental health, my talk therapy, and running.
I will write about things I’m passionate about: the books I read, the albums and podcasts I listen to, my recipe, my travels, politics, my advocacy.
I write essays, but I might write poems, post pictures, or write in Tagalog or Bisaya. There😎 will 🤬 also 😰 be 😈 emojis 🤡 because 💁🏻♂️ they 🧖🏼♂️ elucidate🐶 emotion 🙊, except🤖 this: 👊🏼
I do not promise to write like Joyce Carol Oates, but I promise to write like an irreverent prick.
I just want to preserve memories without being overwhelmed by standards, without sacrificing authenticity.
I won’t get mad if you won’t finish reading this.
I won’t even promote my entries on my social media accounts, except for this, so people may know where to reach me.
Going back to Joan Didion, not the Macbook but the writer, she wrote: “We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”
From now on, I’m keeping a journal. For me.
Photo credit: the indefatigable Blessie Arellano