Today I read “Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines” by Pablo Neruda to my students. I had forgotten how much I loved that poem. “I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her./ Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” Those two lines saying all that I’ve ever tried to say about love.
Love. The way I’ve held onto you without holding on. The way I can only imagine how you might be.
The way I love my boys more than anything. This different, deeper love that only they could teach me.
The way love still speaks to me in whispers and moans.
The way I have forgotten the color of your eyes because his are so much bluer.
The way everything is now about them. For them. About my love for them.
Two boys. Two brothers. Two boys who will become men.
Final pages of this journal. This one has been with me five years — In those five years: two sons, a move back to Chicago, a return to teaching high school. Where will the next five years bring me? The next journal? Where is this life leading me?
I turn 37 in five days. 37 years. Is this where I thought I’d be? Closer to 40 now — how I look forward to that decade in ways I didn’t imagine — couldn’t imagine when I was 16. AJ sits in front of me in his high chair, begging for more yogurt. This is writing now.
Will my boys become writers? Will they adore words as much as their mother? These things fill my mind.
He grabs my pen instead of the spoon. He’s unhappy when I take it away …
And so begins this crazy project. One diary entry a day until I get to this date in 1983. Who knows what this will bring? I hope I learn something about myself — my hidden obsessions? What shows up in surprising ways? Memories I thought were tucked away?
Wish me luck, 18th journal, I’m about to jump off a cliff into unknown waters…
On February 27, 1983 — a week shy of my seventh birthday — I started my first journal, a lock-and-key diary of the Little Twin Stars from the Hello Kitty series. Even with the lock, my younger sister still found her way into its pages, but her snooping never stopped my writing.
Now – five days shy of my 37th birthday — I begin my 18th journal.
Here’s the catch: Instead of revealing my entries chronologically from 1983 to now, I’m telling my story in reverse order, beginning today as an almost 37-year-old teacher/writer with a husband and two sons. Each day, I will release a new (old) journal entry until I get to that memorable day on Feb. 27 in 1983 when something significant happened in my seven-year-old world — something diary-worthy.
So began my journey as a writer. How did I get here? Read my journals — backward — and find out!