A tentacle slips out


Sometimes I write in my journal and when I stop to read it, I think to myself “That guy should be committed.”

That’s normal, right?

My kids are under oath to burn all my journals when I die without reading them. If I were smart, I’d burn them myself. The temptation might be too much. There’s nothing salacious in them, no dark family secrets, but there’s a lot of rants, whining, mumbly grumbly talk. I am rude. I am mean. Wildly arrogant and miserably meek. In my journals, I live on the extremes.

All the stuff I am not in the rest of life, I am in my journals. Erratic. Irrational. Arms figuratively flailing as I talk. Angry. Oh so angry. Depressed? Oh yeah. Not just a bit down but a wallowing pig of downness. No balance. An in unbalanced. A positively mad man.
Johnny Depp at his most weird has nothing on me. Robin Williams at his most manic would feel very comfortable in my journal pages.

For some, journal writing is this thoughtful exercise. A meditative reflection on the day behind and the challenges ahead. For me, it’s an exorcism. My head spins around. Fire burns in my eyes and venom leave my pen (or keyboard) to the paper. It is a bloodletting and the blood is mine. I spew. I sputter.

And when I am done, the poison is out. It’s kind of like vomiting. It’s horrible when it happens, but you feel so much better when you are done. You can go on with life as if you were a normal person. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

30 minutes a day for twenty-three and a half hours of sanity. Pretty good tradeoff. I’ll take it. Write. Lock up the beasts, and talley ho!

I don’t think I am alone. I know lots of perfectly performing circus acts in life where high functioning people push through their whacked-out demons (Think Monster Inc by Tim Burton) and come out looking pretty normal. Pretty benign. Doing their best with only an occasional tentacle sneaking out in public.

It’s a miracle, I think, that life works as well as it does. Zombies and monsters and madmen are real. They are all around us, saying please and thank you and having tea with the queen, holding their fangs at bay just because, well, that’s what we do, isn’t it?

I think that’s why I love the delightfully daffy. The ones who let just enough of their weirdness out to entertain us, but never endanger us. The eccentrics. The odd ducks. I admire their ability to let the strange stuff show while still functioning in the so-called real world.

Me? I was raised to be polite. Sane. Stable. Mostly I am. Ask my friends. At times though, I am far from sane.

Ask my journals.

Be well. Travel wisely. I apologize for all the movie references.



  1. I have kept a journal since I was 10 years old. When I attained the wise age of 13, horrified by the naivete of my pre-teen prattle I burned them. The burning of the journals became a ritual, something done to mark various stages of my journey- whenever we moved to a new country, when I graduated from college, bought my first house. Then when I had kids- it became an annual ritual. I swear some years that fire burns more fiercely than others. Must be some demons are more combustible. I think the secret to living well is writing your own script and the key to moving with grace among ourselves is astute editing..and sometimes we just need a bigger boat .

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