(Entry below was handwritten on 4/23/15)
Prompt: Writing makes me..
Writing makes me happy, makes me feel like myself, makes me feel that I am leaving a mark on this world- leaving behind a legacy. No one may care after I’m gone. But I still write because it is a must. I have to do it. I don’t have a choice.
I enjoy it so much that I sometimes wish I could call in sick to work to spend the day with my journal, writing books and writing prompts for inspiration. I write when I should be sleeping, like right now. But writing now allows me to sleep better, to unload my mind.
Writing makes me discover what I’m thinking about, obsessing over. Writing seems to give meaning to my life, which at times can feel so small and pointless. Writing makes me feel connected to the energy of the universe- to get the feeling that I do play a role in it and have a right to participate fully in life.
Writing makes me feel heard, as there are so few people in life who actually listen. Writing makes me feel accomplished, whole, connected to who I am and who I was at other stages of my life. Writing is the common thread that has always been there for me throughout my life. I would be lost without it.
Writing makes me relax, helps me breathe more easily, reminds me of who I am, reminds me that I can be creative. Writing allows me to have a deeper awareness, to question things, to work out thoughts or problems, to have epiphanies. Writing makes me feel good about myself, makes me feel that my thoughts matter and have importance.
Writing shows me that my whole mood can change, just by focusing on an activity that gives me pleasure. There are still so many new experiences to be had, lived, written about. There is still all of my life ahead to explore and discover, and I need to learn how to ‘never say never’ because I can’t predict the future.
Writing makes me feel blessed to have a working mind, to have abilities, intellectual interests and stimulations. Written words are beautiful, they are captured energy. Writing is a simple pleasure that reminds me of simpler times when I didn’t have many worries weighing on me.
Writing makes me hopeful, makes me anticipate upcoming adventures, however small and solitary, that I can enjoy describing later in my journal. Writing is something that never gets old or stale. It is always fresh, relevant and exciting. Writing arranges my brain in a way that makes it easier for me to get on with living.
Writing always makes me feel like a fascinating person, exploring her talent.
(Entry below is an excerpt that was handwritten on 11/21/14)
I sometimes wonder, am I just happier and better off on my own? Without anyone making demands of me? Some days I feel I’m too lazy to be in a relationship. I’d rather sleep or rest or read or write or exercise, then get dressed up and go out. Staying in is usually way more fun.
Like tonight. It’s Friday night, and after a rejuvenating nap after work, I got so much done. I sent out a few emails, did a workout, did a meditation, took a shower, put away laundry, washed dishes, had dinner, and now I’m writing.
Sometimes, usually, I want to be writing but then there doesn’t seem to be much to say. I remember when the writing urge used to take me over completely. I let it take over me without worrying that I may be missing out on something. The words that emerged from my own mind were way more interesting than any book I could read or any movie I could watch.
I would not procrastinate on it. I’d simply sit and get to it whenever the feeling struck me, and I was always inspired to write often, and a lot. I went through and completed many journals that way.
I think I’ve come a long way this year. I remember how it feels to be happy on my own again and to have peace of mind. People grow only at their own pace, when they feel ready. This is not something that can be forced by another person- no matter how much that person wants the best for the one they are trying to help.
Maybe my journey through this life requires my being alone in order to learn the things I need to learn- and to do the things I came here to do. Life is a mystery, but I feel that people over-complicate it. People should simply pursue what brings them happiness- even if those things are not the norm: like being solitary, introspective and observant.
I think people beat themselves up way too much over things that can’t be controlled, and torture themselves for not being a certain way that they want to be. It’s good to want to improve oneself, but not at the expense of the true self. A person should never try to go against their primary nature and natural inclinations.
I think if you accept yourself as you are, you can find contentment and peace of mind. You have to be who you are, even as the world and people around you, and family try to make you become the person they see you as.
I need my solitary pursuits and my pursuits of inspiration and spiritual satisfaction. It’s only one life that we get, and we need to let ourselves live in the best way we see fit. Maybe some people are born to make a big impact on the world, to affect it deeply.
And maybe others are here to take in as much as they can, to learn through experiences, to absorb information from others, from books, from creative endeavors, from work and from play.
Everyone plays in their own unique ways. Some play through work, or sports, watching films, writing, dancing, singing, completing little self-created projects, trying experiments in living, volunteering, giving to others, enjoying live music, creating music, journalling, laughing with friends, trying new and thrilling experiences, or simply breaking their routines.
I don’t think there is any wrong way to play as an adult. We are all free to be and do what we want, and we owe it to ourselves to explore those things and ask ourselves honestly: what do we really want?
(Entry below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 7/26/14)
It’s Saturday afternoon and it’s raining. So I’m glad I got my errands out of the way. Yesterday I went to a poetry reading for the first time in a long time. It was at a bookstore and was hosted by Afterword magazine. I took 3 free copies of back issues that were being offered, and also showed up hungry so I ate a lot of the cheese and crackers and pepperoni slices they were offering, along with some red wine. They didn’t seem to mind though.
I started chatting with John, the editor-in-chief, and his friend, Pat, also a contributor and part of the staff. We talked about my town and Jersey City, and this Lowe’s theater there that shows many classics like Hitchcock and Carrie and movies like that. I don’t know what John’s day job is, but Pat said he was a train conductor. They were both personable and friendly. And it made me feel comfortable to talk with them.
I told Pat how I used to write a lot of poetry, but haven’t written much lately, so I hoped that I would be inspired by coming to a poetry reading and listening to other people’s words. I told him how that usually works to inspire me and it ‘opens the mind.’ He agreed enthusiastically.
We talked how summer is so busy with friends and family events, and how John hoped people would show up to the reading. They plan to have another reading in October, to celebrate the release of the next issue. John has been publishing Afterword since 2008, which I found impressive.
The reading started late, and I found I was the only female there in attendance, with about 8 guys. Most of them read their work. They were good readers and their poems were interesting. And they even started a ‘collaborative’ poem, in which each person passed around a piece of paper with a poem (a few lines) that John had started, so that everyone could add their own couple of lines. That was fun to do and something I’ve never seen done at a reading before.
The poetry had many of the same themes- loneliness, isolation, heartbreak, some humor, human observation, anger, outrage. All in all, I was glad I attended and was exposed to different perspectives and new images. I was glad for the chance to get out of my own head for a while, and realize that everyone feels fucked-up every now and then. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.
This afternoon, the library was closed so I sat here on my couch and read the 3 issues of Afterword that I brough home from the reading. It was nice to be immersed in poetry again, in the insights of other people. Reading the issues inspired me to write a poem called ‘Adulthood’ – it’s a few pages back before this entry. It’s a fairly OK poem, nothing great but also not terrible. It feels good to be able to write anything at all.
John read our collaborative poem at the end of the reading, and said it would be published in the next issue. When giving the instructions for the collaborative poem, he said to just write ‘whatever is in your head,’ so that’s what I did. I didn’t want to think about it too much and miss out on the poetry that was being read.
John spoke about the importance of creativity, and how the whole point of the evening was to spark the creativity of those who attended. And I think the reading was successful in that mission. He talked about how we all work our day jobs, but when he gets home, he picks up his pen and expresses himself creatively. He said we should all be creative, just for ourselves, just to add interest to our lives, and make them more fun. And he was right.
He said not to worry about writing for money or publication, or fame and fortune, however great those things may be, but just for the joy of it, to be creative just for creativity’s sake. And I found that I could completely agree, and relate. Even though I usually don’t write or create as often as I’d like to, I still long to do it. To listen to myself and rediscover who I am at this stage of my life.
You’re at the airport, your flight is delayed for six more hours, and none of your electronic devices is working. How do you pass the time?
I would hopefully have a physical journal with me, so I could spend the time writing. Airports are not exactly comfortable places for sleeping and there would be little else to do, except maybe people watch.
This sounds like a nightmare for me, since I am such an impatient person. I think I would spend lots of time pacing around, then sitting to meditate. Then finally to write.
I would hope my journal was empty, and I’d have a good number of pens. Trying to write for six hours straight would probably be tough, but I would attempt it.
I would write letters to everyone in my life, and everyone no longer in my life who still resonates in my heart. I’d let out everything I’ve ever wanted to say to everyone I’ve ever known.
I’d probably also write a list of all my favorite possessions, and see if I can get it to be under 100 things. I do this now from time to time, when I let things go and new things come in to my life, so I make sure I’m not stuck in a constant avalanche of new things without discarding some of the old.
Our tastes and lives and bodies and minds are constantly changing. My miserable times usually come from trying to hold on to someone I used to be in the past.
It’s wiser and better to stay in the present, and look towards the future, and realize that the future can be molded by decisions made today. I wish I had my priorities in better order back in college. If I could go back to that time, knowing what I know now, my life would be totally different. I’m getting away from the idea of this prompt. But I think I would write about all this for six hours if I had no other distractions.
I would map out my whole life, decide which decisions I would like to undo and leave behind buried in the past, and plot a course for the future. I never really thought about myself at this age (I am now) when I was younger. I figured the most fun to be had would be in my 20s. But life is what you make of it, and how much you decide to explore it, and explore yourself.
I think it would be lovely to have six free hours to meditate, then write, then meditate some more. Maybe sleep, if I could find a comfortable place. I would write about my dreams, my hopes, my fantasies, my regrets, my wishes.
I would write down my prayers. I would try to recall everything that I’ve ever read that gave me some inspiration or insight. I would probably end up with a fine, completed work. A sort of autobiography.
I guess this is the type of thing writers seek out when they mention dreaming of a secluded cabin in the woods. Every writer’s dream is long stretches of time and days of peace and quiet, disconnected from the world, left alone with his/her own thoughts.
Recording the words of that inner voice is the most pleasurable thing to a writer. It gets us to a euphoric state that we want to constantly return to again and again.
Write for the joy of it. Write off the top of your head, write everything streaming through your consciousness. Write without stopping to think or revise. Write because you are compelled to. Write to make the silence eloquent (I think Anais Nin wrote that).
Write to discover what your thinking, what feelings are flowing through you. Write to empty your mind of clutter so you can have clarity, make way for creativity. Write about anything, write about love, write about rain, write about your parents, your friends, your day, a dream, a wish, something good that happened today. Write about something that confuses you, you may be able to shed some light on it.
Don’t put pressure on yourself when you write, write for pleasure if writing is pleasing to you. Sing to yourself in your writing. Give expression to your soul and deepest self. Be exposed, be real and uninhibited in your writing. Imagine your writing has magic in it, feel the energy of it and the release it brings. Let it make you joyful.
Write to give yourself wings, to journey into your imagination, to explore you own personal world, to create your own world. Create characters, stories, poems, essays, rants, long meandering journal entries. Don’t over-analyze or wonder where you will use or publish a piece of writing, just answer the calling. Make writing your best friend.
The journal is the best listener, welcoming you, accepting you, flaws and all. Fall into it and retreat from the noise of the world. Listen more closely to your own voice for a change, pay attention to your wishes and desires and write them down. Recount your day or fantasize about the day you wish you had. Make a plan to create the rest of your life.
Realize the present moment when you’re writing. Write after meditation. Read a novel, then write your thoughts/reaction/impressions. Write a review of the book you’re reading. Listen to your own words, listen to the feelings flowing through you, explore what they mean, give them a voice. Leave an impression on this world.
(Entry below is an excerpt from an entry that was handwritten on 4/26/14)
Prompt: Describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality or lack of- for the first time.
This was not the first instance when I considered my faith or spirituality, but I remember really being struck by something that was said at my grandfather’s wake. The priest said to all that were gathered, “You should ask yourself, how sincere are you when you say your prayers? Or, how sincerely do you pray?”
And I realized that a lot of the time, I just pray by reciting the words mentally that I have memorized. I don’t say them with feeling. It’s as if I just think reciting them is enough, that it will create change somehow.
I don’t really put sufficient faith or heart behind the words when I pray. I would do it in almost a sense of obligation, not because I believed prayers would make any difference at all. Sometimes I still pray that way, without really considering the words I’m saying, only what I’m praying for.
I think the greatest and most sincere way that I pray is through gratitude, thinking and saying ‘thank you’ when I feel grateful for ordinary things. I enjoy and savor the feeling of gratitude.
I’m grateful that my senses let me experience the world, that my body works properly and I am able-bodied, that I can take steps to become more physically fit.
I feel grateful that I know where my next meal is coming from, that I have enough money to cover my expenses. I feel grateful for my family members, for my free time, for the beautiful jewelry that I own, for hot water when I bathe and shower, and for my comfortable bed.
I’m grateful for my mind, my experience, my education, and my earning power. I’m grateful that people love me, that I’ve never had to go hungry, that I can choose what I eat. I’m grateful that my parents were always so selfless and loving towards me.
I’m grateful to have extra money to buy people gifts. I’m grateful that each new day is a chance for change to happen. I’m grateful for abundance, for the renewal of spring, for the ability to change my environment, for the ability to dream and imagine.
And I’m grateful that I can write, and express myself in a way that feels most natural to me. I’m grateful for simple choices, a low amount of stress, for sleep. I’m grateful for good, absorbing books.
(Entry below was handwritten on 3/25/2014)
On weekends there is too much time. I sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast, go out for coffee and a lottery ticket, run errands, go to the library or a store to pick up a few things.
I while the day away, procrastinating. On workdays, I’m stuck at my laptop. Sometimes work is really slow (like today) and there is nothing to do but sit around and wait for more work to come in.
Today was so slow that I had time to write a blog post. It bothers me that half of my writing is in physical journals, and the other half is online. I wish my story was contained all together in these pages.
The funny thing is, if I have to be up at a certain time, and clocked in and ready to work, I just have the urge to write, more than anything else. Sometimes I long to catch up on reading too.
But I’m awake and caffeinated and sitting at a computer screen, ready to go. And if I could manage to do that on the weekends, have some discipline and get up early to start my day and write, I think I’d have a lot more clarity and creativity in my life.
I would stop the daily world from intruding on my thoughts before I had the chance to get them down on paper.
Clearing out the old thoughts, the old clutter that crowds the head, is the best and fastest way to make room for new thoughts, and access the creativity that lies beneath the minutia of the day-to-day.
I find myself suddenly so curious about other people- so fascinated by others and the world and what I’m really doing here. I know I’m here to learn lessons, have experiences.
And it’s a nice feeling to have myself back, to be in control of my mind again and know that I am really free.
Only I can say which path I will choose to follow. I could change everything about my life tomorrow if I chose to, and no one could stop me. Because no one tells me what to do.
I can do as little or as much as my heart desires. I can choose to disappear for a while, or stay put. I could choose to speak, and know I will have confidence behind my words.
Or I can choose to remain silent and observe. I can choose to expand my knowledge, to research a variety of subjects that interest me at my leisure.
I can choose to discard old things, old ideas I’ve had, old identities, old interests. I can choose to go forth and have an adventure, to push myself physically, to find a silent retreat mentally.
I can choose to consider the possibility that I can be trained for any job. That I could earn more money to take care of myself, my future, and help my family. I can choose to believe that there truly are no limits to who I am, or who I can be.
Prompt: Write down the first words that comes to mind when we say . . . home. . . soil. . . rain.
Home is where the heart is. Home is my family, a home-cooked meal, sitting around a table together, taking pictures together, hugging. Home is coming to a place where everyone loves you and accepts you no matter what. Home is unconditional love.
Home is where you feel most natural, most comfortable, most at ease and most precious. Home is where you can always go to replenish yourself. Home is your sanctuary, you save haven, you shelter from the storms of life. Home is the place you can always go back to and be welcomed with open arms.
Soil. Nothing comes to mind at first when I think of soil. I think of gardening, of planting, of new life, of playing outdoors. Soil is where plants and flowers originate. Soil can be fertile or barren.
Soil can be uprooted, can contain insects, can be soft, muddy, slippery. My mother once said she had the urge to eat soil. It was appetizing to her. A living thing can grow through soil, and be consumed. Gardens can be planted in soil, bringing beauty and joy.
Rain. First thing that comes to mind is the Madonna song by that name. The imagery that comes up is the video for that song. Rain is fun to observe. Rain replenishes. Rain can be fun to play in if you don’t have much self-consciousness.
Rain is what we are protected from as children, so that we don’t catch colds. Rain can be a blessing or a curse. It can be nourishing for crops and farmers. But rain is also destructive when floods occur. I enjoy rainy days for the most part. And the song “Only Happy When it Rains” by Garbage is one of my favorite songs of all time.
(Entry below was handwritten on 3/12/14)
Prompt: Make a list of things you love. Keep listing until you feel amazing.
(from the book, The Power by Rhonda Byrne)
I love my mother, my niece and nephew, my sister, my dad, my extended family. I love staying in, I love dusk in the summertime. I love the fall season. I love unexpected gifts.
I love days off from work, new pens, a new journal, gray eyeliner and orange lip gloss. I love being warm and cozy in bed, sleeping in late, hot bubble baths, exercising, hot showers, using Wen.
I love buying lottery scratch off tickets, meditation, reading and writing. I love watching movies. I love writing or meditating with a group of people. I love discovering new places I’ve never been to before. I love music, the first few warm days of spring. I love Shirley Manson, Garbage’s music, Blondie’s music.
I love to learn new things, expand my knowledge, do research. I love shopping for new dresses and handbags, and shopping on the charity website- thehungersite.com.
I love getting ‘likes’ after posting an entry on my blog. I love to fantasize, to be quiet and observe. I love weekends, going out to eat Mexican or Chinese food or Italian food.
I love Europe and the effortless style of many Asian women. I love minimalism, not owning so many possessions. I love taking walks, listening to my Ipod or not.
I love comfortable clothing, and wearing things that absolutely suit me and my personality. I love my zumba classes, and dancing as a fun way to exercise and burn calories.
I love being free from debt, remembering my dreams, burning scented candles, going to the library. I love discovering new aspects of myself, and new interests to pursue. I love museums, live musical performances, plays, theater, going to concerts, watching artists draw or paint.
I love wearing jewelry and fancy perfumes. I love my beige, Longchamp handbag, all my furniture, my books, the apartment I live in that’s in a quiet, private home on a quiet street. I love working from home.
What do you love?
Prompt: Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity— running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in “the zone”?
Being in the zone, like in the middle of a good workout, is really satisfying and gratifying. It makes me lose all sense of myself and makes me feel powerful, like I can change into someone else. I love how exercise brings you into the present moment because you are focused on exertion, and moving the body just feels good. The body was made to be exerted and to be in motion. The body was made to be put to use.
Being in the zone is a great feeling because there is no sense of time. Activities become fun instead of drudgery. It’s like with writing, or reading a really great book that you can’t put down. I used to get into the zone by listening to my favorite band when I was younger. It gave me a feeling of being almost high.
Listening to my favorite band, I felt like I was floating and blissing out. Getting in the zone of music is very easy for me, and for a lot of people. Music can change your mood and uplift you, even if you’re listening to the most depressing shit in the world. I think music gets you into the zone because it touches certain emotional parts of a person, and you can feel it in your body and heart.
Being in the zone is a sort of lost art. People love distraction and spend most of their lives distracted and procrastinating, or getting into the zone of unhealthy things. I like being in the zone of writing of course, but I also procrastinate just like everyone else. Writing is satisfying when you have a good flow of words going, but can be frustrating when you become blocked, and start to feel like the most boring person on earth who has nothing to say.
But there are always new ways to seek out inspiration. I like to think about my dreams and sometimes write about them. Or simply reading a book of poetry, or observing the world out the window, or looking at some photography online. Human beings are fascinating, and lots of inspiration can be drawn from just observing them, or meeting someone new and getting their view of the world. People love to be really heard, and writers are often good listeners, and gifted observers.
Ideas will always come if you just stop and pay attention to your thoughts. Things float to the surface. For example, I know I need to go write out the answer to the question: Who do you want to be? So I’m going to do that in my paper journal. Sometimes you need to write by hand just for fun, and explore a topic that has been nagging at you. Hopefully it gets me in ‘the zone’ of writing.