April 4, 2008, I ended my composition book journal with this quote from Brave New World:
Actual happiness looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.
I was looking at it because I just finished my 30th journal today. That’s 30 since I was 7 years old, and I still have all of them except my first one 😦 I also have an additional 12 completed that had specific themes, like just letters I wouldn’t mail, or just poems, or just lists, or whatever. And that number may be off, because they’re not all filed away. Some are just lying around my room.
I definitely thought I had more. But I guess that’s not a bad number.
I’m not ready to read them yet (except the really old ones, which are fun, because they say things like, “Hi! I’m Hannah. I’m 7 years old. I’m glad I have this notebook, because I really like to write.”) because I feel like I’m still not really any better than I was a few years ago. Everything from maybe tenth grade on represents cycles of being treated badly by boys and friends, of thinking that this new year is going to be different and better, of having a great idea for a book to write that I never finished, or that this best friend is the real one. I guess it’s good that not all the cycles are bad. It’s good that I’ve consistently been excited by writing and by books. And I got to re-read the “yearbook” comments that I got at the end of camp in 2003 and 2005. Advice I didn’t take seriously (“acting overly sexy won’t get you the guy”) I understand now, and the compliments still feel genuine, even if I lost touch with most of the people long ago. And I’m thankful that some of those people are still in my life, because they’ve meant more to me over the years than a lot of the people that I see daily.
I also just love looking at all of them. They’re so pretty. And they’re a reminder of the single most consistent and reassuring thing of my entire life: words and pages and pens and writing. That’s actually not a single thing, but it feels like one.