The fan whirs near the column but the clogged screen covering it seems to prevent any air movement at all. The computer terminals are silent at this time of night. The radio sounds like background music and all the folks working here are so quiet with a half hour left to go in the shift. Somewhere off in the distance a printer quickly taps out the last of its work. Radios, fans, and papers rustling are all that’s heard in the air right now. The click of high heels and the thumps of sneakers signal the movement of people. A wave and a smile, I’m at a corner desk observing the traffic.
That tall fan, with its dull, lifeless, gray metal appears ageless. It’s as if it’s been here as long as the column which keeps it company.
Bonnie is behind me standing at a cart working with some papers and talking to Helen. Janet’s working quietly at her desk, and Bill I guess is gone for the night.
Ivory, our lead, is lumbering back into our unit. Debbie from the clerical unit with here now orange hair, sad smile, and attractively shaped body, slowly walks by on her way to the canteen for a soda.
Greg is biting his nails, Macie’s come through the loading dock door, I’m writing all this, and our little unit only has nine people in it. “I’ve had the time of my life” is playing on the radio, my soda can is half empty, or half full, and I’m surprised that I’m not asleep. Mr. Bassler isn’t here and Debbie slowly walks back. Ivory slowly walks to the copier… words to Janet… words from Janet… Ivory, Janet, words back and forth. I guess they’re having a conversation. It may not be go-home time, but at least its clean-up time.
What’s John doing in the back? Muttering about how people count. Tall with yellow short-sleeve shirt. Just standing back there muttering… poor thing.
And such is a snapshot from 1988. A long time ago. I know this because I keep a journal.
It used to be that most of my entries where a play by play account of events, which is useful, or laundry lists of things to do. Many entries are the type you might find in any little girl’s diary about what I did that day. Now however, I tend to focus more on one event, my detailed reactions to that event. I try to examine motive thoughts feelings perspectives. I write entries with an eye for writing.
I’ve been working though Jill Dearman’s book “Bank the Keys”. It’s a book geared toward teaching the budding writer steps to a lifelong writing practice. In the fourth chapter, she discusses maintaining two journals. I know, crazy isn’t it. Most people I know don’t bother keeping any journal at all. But you know what they say about the unexamined life. Having a journal goes a long way in helping you see yourself.
The first journal is a journal in a traditional sense. The entries would be written from your first person direct experience. Your journal should focus your attention on your reactions and feeling to the things happening. Get wordy with it. This is a great opportunity for you to expand your vocabulary and hone your grammar. By focusing how your emotional side, you will have a ready source of insights to draw upon in the future.
This sort of journal will build your confidence in communicating at an emotional level. By practice, practice, practice, you will develop the skills. By examining your own situations, you will be better able to communicate through the characters you develop.
The second journal you will want to maintain is a project journal. This is a journal about your current work in progress. Its a centralized place to jot down and story all those great ideas about the current project as you need it. A great though pops up… Jot it down. Overhear an interesting price of dialogue… Jot it down. Notice a place that looks interesting… Describe it in as much detail as you want, right there in your project.
Now, if you were to ask me what I do as far as the project journal is concerned, well, I often have different projects going, so instead I maintain different project journal files in my OneNote app running on the tablet, smartphone, laptop, and desktop. Though I will say that for jotting down those quick ideas as they come, I often do that using the smartphone.
So, as far as the journals go, I am a full-fledged fan. I have found that through my own journaling, working on these blog posts has been easier. Journaling has greatly improved my focus and not necessarily in a linear way. I can focus on the sequential order of thoughts when needed, but I am also quicker at exploring an expanding web of interconnected and disjointed thoughts, feelings, impressions. So I would recommend picking up a pen and a notebook or two or three, but if you’re like me, busy busy busy… try a tablet. But either way you choose, just get busy writing!