I have been a journalist but never a journaler. I wish I’d been the latter in addition to the former.
It seems to me those who have journaled have a considerable leg up on anyone else who even considers the idea of mailing a letter now and again. Journal-ists have developed a sense of style, an ingrained sense of organization and topical awareness. Their transition from the Point A of a regular journal to Point B (letters) is relatively smooth sailing. They’ve been there and done that. They are off to the races. We late bloomers should tip our collective hats to these ground-breakers because the rest of us wade through the letter writing landscape bereft of what others have already learned; we wend our way through the darkness of style, organization and topics before finding even a sliver of enlightenment. Our ‘aha’ moment, if you will.
Of course, those who journal hone their skills in secret under a veil of privacy. As a general rule, their thoughts and words are for their eyes only, and their sole hurdle is the idea of exposing their ideas to an audience, even an audience of one.
On the flip side, perhaps letters are a secondary form of journaling. We chronicle ideas and thoughts and channel our creativity through the mails. Perhaps that is how avowed letter writers should view their handiwork. Still, I wish my path had followed the route of a journal before diverting itself down the road strewn with letters. That tollway would’ve been slightly less bumpy.
Here is last Monday’s letter to Ellen and Reid, save for a few for-their-eyes-only passages.
April 26, 2010
Ellen/Reid: There is an honest-to-Pete two vehicle garage again. Save for a 10 foot mirror and glass from the defunct old shower doors, virtually all of the bathroom makeover stuff is gone. The double sink counter top and toilet was donated to the Habitat Restore, and the rest of the debris has either been recycled or ditched. Having a frumpy toilet sitting in the garage was particularly galling. So now there is comfortable room for the car and the bike. Being able to de-clutter feels good for a change. I need to take the same vicious approach to my closet and rid it of clothes that saw their best and highest use in the days of disco.
The bathroom molding is all up and the cracks have been caulked. A little sanding here and there and a minor coat of paint will be the finishing touches to a looonnnggg project. Then you will be done hearing about it. Who’d blame you if you turned a deaf ear?
Reid, I like the way you think at work. Good for you to push the envelope. An ad agency would be the one business that would seem to value someone pushing the envelope. Your business is all about new ideas and fresh approaches. There’s not much to be done about the scuffs that steal your ideas and front them as their own. It’s a pretty harsh reality of business. But the higher ups who invited you to an expansive meeting on your thoughts saw your thinking before the idea thieves stepped up. Hopefully that will work in your favor.
Ellen, your shower for Amo sounded like a lot of fun. It had to be a relief to have furniture and rugs and stuff before the girls showed up. I’ll bet Amo’s baby was never away from being cradled in someone’s arms. Where was Henry during the party? Surely you couldn’t have him tromping around. He’s a miniature horse. I like the idea of you going back to the property company full time. Keep at the education thing and it will come. I just wish I knew the right buttons to push to make your teaching dream occur. But I don’t.
The azaleas are in full bloom right now. It’s quite a sight. Pink and coral and white and red. For some reason I think there is a robin egg blue varietal, too, although perhaps that is a figment of my over active imagination. To be honest about it, once the floral blooms are gone the bushes are kind of scruffy and dog-eared.
You need to help me understand why perfectly sane people bring armloads of dirty laundry to work. I mean, when you see someone in a suit, or a nice work dress, lugging who knows how many shirts or blouses in a jumbled pile, it just looks kind of weird. There are several cleaners in very close to my office and I know it is completely for convenience sake of those who tote the dirty goods, but it just seems odd to me.
In another example of society going too far, there was an article in the paper last week about how “experts” are telling dog owners not to give their dogs real bones. Heaven forbid the bones could damage gums and cause bad breath or get caught in their throats, but for crying out loud, dogs are carnivores and have eaten bones and whatever is attached to bones since time immemorial. This is what they eat and have eaten. This is completely nut-so. Even Scooter liked a little ham bone now and again. It’s what a dog does. They chew and gnaw. We need to get a grip.
Well, that’s a wrap. I’ll be available to take calls later this week, so don’t be strangers. And don’t forget – Reid – to send your mom a card or letter before May 9. That’s Mother’s Day.