I’ve been keeping journals since 1993, when my mother passed away. She had always written – her books were filled with things quite different from mine. My mother wrestled for her salvation. If anyone could go to heaven by sheer force of will, she is there indeed. Her volumes were filled with scripture, pleading, despair, as if, in those nights of desperate insomnia, she felt that her salvation could be secured by the volume of words she scribbled. When she died, I felt my identity, my tender heart and the way I saw the world around me placed, transparent, an overlay to the misery and unhappiness my mother endured.
I treasured books and poetry, the written word, and decided that I would begin keeping a journal—my record—for real this time, not in the fits and starts of a pre-teen diary. I wanted to write in books that I made by hand. So, I set about learning how to hand bind books.
I am about to begin writing in Volume 60 – twenty years of making books, of gathered thoughts, pieced poetry, photographs; observation of the seasons and sensory delights of my own salvation – the dear Earth. I often wonder, while I’m writing or in my studio making books, who will want these volumes when I am finished. In the end, this practice of keeping a record isn’t really about where the books will go. It is about noticing the long slant of light in the evening of an endless Autumn, it is about recording the first middle-of-the-night hoots from this seasons lovelorn owls, and taking note of the very last shimmering and exhausted aspen leaf, trembling there on the branch, alone.