In the later part of the 1990s I began keeping a journal of my life. That was to be what it was: My Life, unfettered, candid, unabashed, honest, outlining the events of my days, whatever was distressing me, who or what might have been arousing me, and the key to making the exercise work was that I was to be Honest with that capital H.
It was a good exercise for a while. I was single at the time and going through a bit of tumult after a marriage breakup. It was advised by a counselor that I take up the practice as a means of sorting out all the poop that was going on at the time. So, I set to it fastidiously and on a daily basis. Did it for quite a while. Because I was a grown-up with grown-up wants and needs the journal was not to be a Little Lulu type ‘Dere Diary’ thing, but more in the realm of Samuel Pepys who was pretty honest about shtupping his wife’s chambermaid and other shenanegans he got up to.
As I said, I was single at the time. I met people – some quite lovely female people – and there were times we were ‘ahem’ intimate. And sometimes the encounters (names withheld) were outlined in the journal. While Jessica Rabbit wasn’t one of them the image fits my feverish mind of the day. Honesty, eh. I mean to say, I was going through other things at the time as well, and they too went into the journal. It was the whole picture, which also included a bit of the aforementioned shtupping and also some lovely female friendships most of which I still have to this day. And as for the Yiddish reference to coitus, I just felt like it. Assume a Jackie Mason voice to say it, if you like.
But, as I suggest, I was fastidious with my journaling on a daily basis and it’s an excellent thing to do for one’s mental and emotional health, not to mention keeping a good record of the diverse elements of one’s life – the happy ones, the sad ones, the personal tragedies, the elations and, as, hauling of ashes. Mine was all done via computer and then printed and my days all exist in multiple ring binders that sit openly on a shelf in my home office. They are not hidden or written in code or any such attempt to keep them private and away from prying eyes.
And then my life changed. Quite simply, I met somebody special, fell in love, and ultimately married the person to whom I have now been married for 15 years. After I had made the commitment I journaled less-and-less, I found. I mean to say, I still do it but often leave a lot of days in between entries, which rather defeats the purpose.
Something else that defeats the purpose a little bit is being left in a quandary over how personal I can be and, more importantly, how honest I can be. I know my journals are never scrutinized and for that I am grateful. But, you know, over a period of time, being human and all, one can find somebody not one’s spouse – well – attractive. Not that anything untoward is or was done but, you know, somebody can ring any human’s chimes and enter one’s fantasy realm involving a metaphorical night of wild sexual abandon involving all sorts of naughty behaviors. Or there might be other bits of monkey-business of a non-smutty nature that are countenanced. Whatever.
Should such imaginary lapses be documented? One is inclined to think: Not on your effing nelly. Yet honesty is the key to good journaliing or the purpose is defeated and the therapeutic value lost. Still working on that one.