A Collection of Empty Journals

I look through my numerous shelves (and I confess, piles) of books and count five empty journals. Seven if you don’t count the first page. Eight if you count the one hiding in a gift bag. It will make a lovely gift for just the right person you know.

One of the problems of possessing a beautiful, new journal is that I would like to fill it with beautiful thoughts creatively written in flowing prose of ink, not the muddled first draft, stumbling-along-at-the-end-of-a-long-day drivel that practically shouts, “What is my name again? And should I admit it if I remember?”

I’m supposed to be writing the newest version of the Great American Novel, but who can find the time with those empty pages screaming at me from their dusty shelves? All of the characters who should be spilling over the neatly lined pages are cluttering my living room. The specter of the woman formerly known as my mother is pointing at the piles of disarray and declaring, “No wonder you can’t think in this chaos.” An entire family tree of dust bunnies are scampering about while The Book-keeper wants to know if I plan on filing my taxes on time this year. “Will you be planting the spring bulbs before fall or will that upside-down tomato pot hang dormant another year?” the gardener asks, glaring at me from beneath my grandmother’s straw hat, all the while flipping a pair of worn gloves in her hand. “You are so  lazy…” someone in the back remarks.

I’ve got to get out of here. I can’t hear myself think. Or selves. But the Bed Monster starts to call out from the bedroom, “It’s almost midnight and tomorrow’s a work day. Are you going to stare at that page for another half hour?” Or maybe that was my husband. Who could go to sleep with all those voices yelling at them? Maybe they can talk to me in my sleep. I just need to take one of those journals to bed in case I wake up with their voices ringing in my ear. Now has anyone invented a pen with a light attachment?

P.S.- No, my mother is not as dead as Marley, I just haven’t heard from the woman lately who made me spend my Saturday mornings scrubbing grout with an old toothbrush. Now when she visits my home she carefully steps over piles of debris without a word. I even met and interviewed a dust bunny in her home last week when she was down with the crud (official doctor’s diagnosis:  the virus that’s going around). Unfortunately, said dust bunny can no longer be found to collaborate this story.

Teresa Berryhill

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