By: Jenni Taylor
If you want to engage in a vibrant conversation with the wisdom that dwells just a hair below your conscious awareness, write. –Janet Conner, Writing Down Your Soul
My journals are packed away in a cardboard box in my parents’ garage, a million and one miles away from where I am now. There are more than 10, less than 15, 3 subject notebooks filled with pieces of my life. Upon my death these notebooks will go to my brother, who will understand.
Since the notebooks, and when life got harder, I scribbled on scraps of paper, nameless, illegible, hard words that I wanted written down but also thrown away as insurance the memory would fade faster. I would type and delete, still omitting the names and places that made my writing too real, the memory too solidified, the feelings of guilt too tangible.
I then entered a time of rest in my life, a time of change and a peaceful uncertainty about the future. The chaos came seldom and far between. I stopped writing. I didn’t know what to say. I thought maybe I could hide from this new person I was becoming until I understood her and liked her, then I would consider her worthy of documentation. I stopped trusting myself, thought my small daily life frivolous and not good enough for ink, even private ink meant for myself and no one else.
Next thing I know, years had gone by with my adventures undocumented, untold, unsung. Moments were lost, moments of growth and wisdom, pain and excitement. Christmas came, with New Years on its heels, and I realized I had nothing to show for my recent life.
I took a yellow notebook, clean and empty. I found a place, one with pillows and a window and a warm light instead of a cold one, and I began to write.
I often pray for wisdom, and it wasn’t until my pen hit paper did I remember wisdom can come from my fingertips. The more I wrote, the less I consciously thought, the more questions spilled onto the page and seconds later some sort of answer from the depth of my being would be in the next paragraph of scribbles. My writing became a flowing prayer, a thank you for the things that had happened that day, that month, that undocumented year, and a searching for a responsive voice to my questions of “why” and “how” and “what comes next?” I discovered wisdom in starting over this holy ritual of listening to myself, considering myself worthy enough to be heard and then slowly discovering I wasn’t just talking to myself, but connecting.