Wow, just noticed that this is my 400th post. Somebody should throw me a party or something. I mean, that's a lot of words. A whole lot of words about words, I even dare say. But you ain't seen nothing yet...as the song goes. I mean, I'm a woman who has blue composition books full of words all the way back to when I was 14 years old. And, as a friend reminded me the other day, I'm almost (dang close, actually) obsessive-compulsive about those journals. And in disclosing all this, I'm confirming his diagnosis.
1. I never erase or cross out anything I've written, except for 'typos': mispelled words, or those kind of rare errors. The reason for this goes all the way from superficial to deep. I like the way smooth, unblemished handwriting across page after page. I may not be great at sports, and am not a gifted (or even semi-gifted) musician, but I have nice handwriting. I got that from my mother. In truth, it's just about the only thing I got from her that I'm actually glad to accept. The rest: my skin tone, my deep-set eyes that always look like somebody punched me in the nose and bruised me (actually there's an incident in my college days when a man burst through the door of my apartment and threatened to rape me. One of the only things that stopped him was that he thought someone had already beat me up by the look of the dark shadows beneath my eyes) look just like Mom's eyes, staring blankly at us rom behind her oversized glasses (are you following all this? I know that was a long non-sequiter, and with the word rape in it, you might have caught your breath, but reel yourself in!). She had great handwriting, and I'm proud that mine isn't too shabby either. I like the way it looks most days.
2. I'm committed to transparency in my words. I write whatever comes to mind at the time. Here as well. Sometimes deeper than other times, but that's all part of me, after all. We're all a mix of intention and impulse, of profundities and redundancies--every one of us. My blue books are flooded with 'screams' and 'dances for joy.' However, there is one caveat to this: I don't write about sex. Never have, never will. In fact, even in my novel, I can't bring myself to write about it, even it would sell my book sooner. I can allude, imply, insinuate, intimate, but never point directly. I believe the bedroom door should be kept shut. And I'm positive--positive--that my children are thankful for this now, and will be in the future.
3. I keep them all, only write in those blue composition books (that my sister sends me from the same bookstore in my hometown where I've been buying them since I was 14). I about had a heart attack a couple years (about 6 journals ago) when the binding was black instead of blue. Like my friend said, a little OCD, huh? I write the season and year on the front of each. The one I'm in now says Summer 2009. I'm just about finished with it, and will try hard to word my entries so I end one at the bottom of the last page. I rarely continue an entry into the next book. And I never skip any lines. EVER.
The thing is, I like order. In my writing and in my life. This doesn't always seem possible in my life. I'm a salmon swimming against the tide, it sometimes feels. Mail, receipts (Beve keeps receipts for EVERYTHING!), keys--did I mention that I was supposed to have a doctor's appt yesterday but had to reschedule for today because I looked all over this house and couldn't find my keys? They turned up before bedtime, and I won't be so unkind as to mention whose shorts I found them in, dogs, dog- paraphenalia--Maica has TWO crates, one at each end of our bowling alley house,sewing supplies...the list is endless. I have friends who are professional at order. One, literally professional, but others also gifted at it. I'm not. Except at my own stuff.
But God is a God of order. He's gifted at it. This is one of the things I always fall back on when life is rough, and let me tell you, it's been rough on folks around us lately. Sickness, even the dreaded C-word that so terrifies people of even 'a certain age' has been circling around two young women not even old enough to drink. Marriages in crisis, loved ones facing continual economic crises. And when I begin to pray for them, I try to align my prayers with the order of God. Seeking His way as prelude to what I pray. Asking Him to order my steps as I pray these myriad prayers, and asking Him to order their lives so He is honored and that in all things, they become more His. Just like my blue notebooks, lined up on the shelf--peace and strength and hope lined up together-- God definitely orders this.