Hand Drawn Heart
How do you give up journal-writing when you’ve kept a journal for 25 years? You start a blog. Now while that might not seem surprising to some, to me it was a revelation.
The deal: what I write, I publish. But since this is coming from the same impulse that kept me journalling so long, it’s raw. Morning after morning, I keep scribbling it down. There’s no staunching the flow. It bubbles out. I call it Hand Drawn Heart.
So far (eight weeks into the experiment, with four entries online and 10 more waiting to be posted) I’ve written about isolation, alienation, hunger for recognition, shame over nationhood, having my pocket picked in Neukölln Germany, constipation, stepfathering, perceptions of me as a slacker despite my workaholism, growing and not-growing up, a shape-shifting blob from another dimension that smeared me with terror-jizz one sleepless night, self-cannibalisation, my wife and I as charmed innocents, to give or to not give up singing, and how we say things in art that we might otherwise not have admitted to ourselves.
It’s a thrilling ride. I’ve never done anything quite like it. It’s the absolute opposite of COQworks (a flight of fancy) and it hardly resembles Liadhen / My Boyfriend’s Father (my prose, in the old days, was clipped and laconic; now it’s intricate, mazelike, expansive). Best of all, it bears the hallmark of experience, of 25 years constructing sentences. I can write, like I never could before.
But what excites me most is the thought of how it’ll change me, being forced to read these blurted missives when for years I’ve just thrown my notebooks in boxes and let them collect dust. How many times in the maybe a million words I’ve written have I circled round and repeated myself, but not noticed or had to face up to it because I so rarely look back? That’s why I had to give up journalling, because it felt like a dead-end. But this? This isn’t journalling – it’s reinvention. Expect surprises. I know I do.