One of my clearest memories of my grandma Elsie's home: in her family room, she had hanging on her walls seemingly every single calendar she'd ever had. I'm not sure she ever removed any calendar. She'd just hang up the new one in a empty space. Most of them were cat-themed calendars, so you'd walk into her house and be met with hundreds of kitty eyes staring back at you.
I'm not 100% certain, but I think she turned the pages on all of those calendars, every month.
I always thought this was weird, but now that I am an adult I have to confess: I, too, cannot bring myself to throw away a calendar. Granted, they are kept in a standing folder in the office closet, out of sight, and not hung up everywhere. But I so understand the impulse. A calendar becomes a sort of journal, if you write things on it. I've got things like miles I ran, how much I weighed, funny things the kids have said, notes from doctor's appointments, to-do lists, and other things I wanted to remember for myriad reasons, all written on calendars.
I'm also learning that not everyone has this impulse to record and remember. It's more of an individual personality thing than it is a basic human trait. Still, I think lots of people like keeping track of the details of their lives. Witness, for example, the little flurry that began last year, fueled by Very Important Scrapbookers like Becky Higgins, to take a snapshot every single day as a way of keeping a personal record.
I tried to do the photo-a-day (PAD) thing. I liked the idea because it felt simple: just a picture every day, and write about it. I photographed things like us cleaning the toy room or organizing the boys' bookshelves; doctors appointments and desserts; kids playing and kids doing homework. I made it without any failures through all of January and part of February, and I love the little details I captured. But I kept getting frustrated, because it didn't often end up that the subject of my PAD reflected THE moment or experience I really wanted to capture. Either I always had my camera to my eye, trying to capture THE most important memory, or I didn't get THE photo and I'd just write down what I wanted to remember anyway.
I always go back to writing, it seems.
This year, I am trying something new. Especially because I have realized that, the longer I blog, the less I write in my journal. They may seem like the same thing, but they are not. My blog entries are more polished, structured, and thematic than my journal entries. My journal entries are more personal and private, less about writing well and more about figuring out stuff. They are both important, but I've neglected the journaling part.
This year, I'm doing an experiment. I am challenging myself to not miss a single day of writing. To write everyday. But, in the same spirit as the PAD: simple and straightforward. I am going back to the idea of a printed diary, only it's got limited space. Space for about three or four sentences, just enough to capture one or two specific things per day. I got this idea from a patron at the library, who told me about a set of books she'd inherited from the family farm. There was one for each year---dozens of them---small books with space for writing just a few facts about the day. Her great-great grandfather had written in them, little details like how much milk they got from the cows, or how much grain they harvested, but also things like "attended Uncle David's funeral" or "cousin Mary's baby born today."
It's probably silly on my part---that portion of my personality dedicated to keeping a record. But this idea makes me excited. I'm keeping my WED notebook right next to my bed, and imagine myself writing in it each night before bed. Just the one or two details from the day.
Of course, I am nothing like a Very Important Scrapbooker. But. I thought I'd share this idea, and the file I used for making my WED notebook. Just in case anyone else wants to join me. There's still the weekend to print it, and to get it bound---mine is waiting to be taken to the copy store for a spiral binding. I printed it double sided, so I can just flip the page each week. Simple, straightforward, and fast!
Here's the PDF:Download 2010 write every day calendar
And a little promise to update my WED progress on my blog, and maybe offer some writing suggestions, or insights, or whatever.