January 1, 2016 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
I’ve kept journals off and on since I was a kid. Some of my high school ones are hysterical. I was a pretty sheltered 14-year-old to be so shocked that some other 14-year-olds had been SMOKING, and I’d always been a little Anglophile but I’d forgotten that I also really wanted to go to Australia. (Still haven’t managed that one. How about it, 2016?)
At the end of 2009, it was clear that my life was about to hit roller coaster levels of flipping around. My long-term relationship was quite obviously ending, and we already knew we were going to have to leave the cute low-rent cottage in Fife where we’d been living for years. I was scraping by on part-time contracts, unable to advance in a career, couldn’t get an agent, and spent a lot of time taking long walks and listening obsessively to particular songs, most of which I can no longer bear to listen to.
I figured that 2010 would be an excellent time to start keeping journals again, if only to try and keep my head on straight. And whoa nellie, how it was. Within two months, the relationship was over and I had my UK citizenship (which was going to become surprisingly essential). I moved back to Edinburgh and started a 4.5-month job with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which turned out to be a bad decision. 2010 ended with a different bad book-related job and a lot of snow and the guy I would (thanks to my UK citizenship) marry 18 days before his visa ran out. I like to think we rescued each other.
In any case, 2011 turned out to be more tumultuous than 2010, what with this guy, and my novel getting published, and my trip to Easter Island, and a disturbing amount of fallout from working for the Book Festival, which is why it needed four volumes instead of three. Even after life began settling down, I kept going with the journals, because by that point it was a habit and eventually I will need something sensational to read in the nursing home. And yes, I have written in them every single day since January 1, 2010.
Here’s the photographic version of the last six years of my life:
They are all (but one) Moleskines, because I like the consistency, and because in an average year I can neatly fill three volumes. I also like the pockets in the back so I can keep ticket stubs and other paper souvenirs, and I write quotations (and, when I am feeling teenagery, song lyrics) in the inside cover. And I love the varieties:
2010 – plain red
2011 – Snoopy
2012 – The Little Prince
2013 – The Hobbit
2014 – different colours (I had a red one lying around that I wanted to use, and then decided to branch out)
2015 – started with a clothbound Hobbit (more pages than the usual volumes) and ended with two Alice in Wonderlands; the non-Moleskine travel journal is because I did some extensive travelling this year and knew I’d need more space (it’s the Peter Pauper Press travel journal)
And yes, I am continuing on with the journals in 2016. When I was last back in the states I bought three of the USA-only Shakespeare Moleskine, with a cover quotation from All’s Well That Ends Well. Time to crack it open and start year seven.