I was looking back through a couple journals I've kept over the past three or so years, and I noticed that scattered throughout, in between my real journal writing, are pages with weird, random, sometimes inexplicable things written on them. It's funny, because there are pages and pages of my normal journal material, in which I'm either transferring all the crap from my head onto paper (though of course not always in any coherent form), or working on the early stages of an essay or story, or writing a letter to someone---letters I never had any intention of mailing. But then every so often, I'll come across something completely random and out of context. Some of them make me laugh. Others remind me of a particular day I'd forgotten about, for better or worse. Some I can't explain at all. So here they are. These are hardly in chronological order, as I have a tendency to write on whatever page I happen to open my journal to, even if it leaves my entries out of order, and I also tend to have two or three active journals at any given time and I use whichever is closest when I feel like writing. Each one of these was found all by itself on its very own page.
*The address of someone I knew briefly a couple years ago who moved to Chicago. We've lost touch completely.
*Two facing pages where I practiced new ways to sign my name. Sometimes I used my whole name including my middle name. Other times I used my first name, middle initial, and last name. Sometimes it was just my first and last names.
*A page with a list of all 50 state abbreviations, with slashes through the states I've been to. I was timing myself to see how fast I could name all 50 states. I've been to 24 states.
*A page with some random letters. I think I was trying to work out an anagram for the letters E, N, W, J, P, V. Of course I wasn't successful as there aren't enough vowels there. I can't remember where I got those letters.
*Several pages where I jotted down some of my favorite quotes from Jeanette Winterson, Sarah Waters, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Odd combination. Well, sort of. Jeanette and Sarah go together in a way, though Scott not so much. However, as he is my all-time favorite, the one who still makes my head swirl no matter how many times I read his books, it makes sense that he'd be listed on any page containing favorite quotes from literature. Maybe in a later post, I'll write out some of these quotes, but for now I'll just list the books that are represented here:
Art and Lies, Jeanette Winterson
Gut Symmetries, Jeanette Winterson
The Passion, Jeanette Winterson
The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald, of course
"Winter Dreams," a short story by Fitzgerald
Fingersmith, Sarah Waters
Some random letters between Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
*"Anyone who'd read that wouldn't be appalled by that conversation." I think I wrote that to a friend once while we were having coffee at Mokabe's (a St. Louis coffeehouse, where I spent a lot of time) and eavesdropping on the neighboring table's dialogue. I'm pretty sure this sentence was some commentary on something one of them had said.
*In the top, right corner of an otherwise blank page, I was apparently counting something, using lines with a slash through every group of five (I don't know if there's an actual name for that.) I counted 23 of whatever I was counting.
*The address of a political organization in St. Louis I interviewed with for a full-time activist position. I didn't take the job because it turns out I didn't agree with all their policies and beliefs.
*An awesome quote from the fifth Harry Potter Book, Order of the Phoenix: "It felt very odd to be issuing instructions, but not nearly as odd as seeing them followed." This is from the part when Harry is teaching defense against the dark arts to other members of the D.A. I thought it was an excellent description of what it's like to be a new teacher.
*"It's Friday night. I'm babysitting but there are no kids here. Long story." It was a long story.
*My own phone number
*"Stupid kids. Why are they so apaethetic?"
*A phone number for someone named Rita. I don't think I know anyone named Rita.
*Several games of hangman, using dirty words. This is from when Elizabeth and I rode a bus to D.C. a few years back to protest the start of the war. It was a looooong (though worthwhile) drive and at one point, we were so bored we actually played x-rated hangman.
*"SCHOOL LUNCHES" in all caps. Under that is "PENNSYLVANIA" also in all caps. Sloppy handwriting and lots of exclamation points.
*A list of schools across the country where I applied for jobs. I checked off each one as I received rejection letters or pulled my name from candidacy. They are all checked off.
*Notes from a meeting of the host committee for which I volunteered when the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce held its annual national conference in St. Louis in the fall of 2004.
*Notes from a telephone interview I had with Bennington College in Vermont.
*"People are so loud. They talk and shriek and say nothing."
*A list of possible destinations for a three-day weekend roadtrip from St. Louis last fall: Memphis, Chicago, Bloomington, Hermann... I don't think I ended up going anywhere that weekend. No, I'm wrong. I went to Evansville, Indiana, to meet someone.
Fascinating stuff, eh? I'm clearly on my way to winning a Pulitzer. Actually, part of me--as a result of spending too much time in grad school reading theory and criticism--thinks material like this is just as useful in recording one's life as the "real" journal entries are. Though it doesn't make sense or mean much to anyone but me, it reminds me of details I might not otherwise recall, even though that wasn't my intention when I jotted down most of this stuff. Well, except for the entries above that make no sense even to me. I don't know what the hell that "school lunches" thing is about.