By Mitch Mosier
I don’t like technology. I don’t like typing my thoughts on a screen when I have paper and pencil. Yes, it’s efficient. Yes, it formats and spell checks. But half the personality of a journal is in the scrawls and eraser marks. I don’t want to write this, but I feel compelled to. Ms. Talbot seemed quite enthralled with the system as she explained it to me. She seems like the sort who would be – she’s a cell phone and daily planner sort of person.
I don’t mean anything against Ms. Talbot. She’s a nice lady. I’m just upset. Not at her. Not at anyone, really. Maybe at myself. I don’t know why I’m here. A month ago, I thought I knew why I was coming, but I don’t anymore.
Ms. Talbot encouraged me to use this dumb thing. I might as well use it tonight. I don’t have anything better to do, and I don’t keep a journal normally. I’ve started one several times, but I never keep it up. All the daily activities that keep me from writing a journal are the things I’ll probably want to read about ten years from now. Maybe I’ll read this ten years from now – if the computer hasn’t crashed and the disks haven’t gone bad. I think I’ll print a copy when I’m done.
I just looked over what I’ve written. It’s kinda jumbled. Maybe I can relate the events in some sort of order. I’ll try. There’s a lot to write when you haven’t written a journal entry for maybe five years. I’ll summarize most of that time.I survived high school, and now I’m part of this group called the Story Project. I haven’t got a straight answer about what it is, but I know I’m supposed to write, and that my lodging and food is paid for.
I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until last year. I thought I wanted to be a math teacher. But when I discovered it, I looked back and found foreshadowing throughout my past – the half-finished novel, the books kept in the van to read to and from school (before I had to drive myself), the strange excitement that gripped me whenever some snippet of music played scenes in my head.
It was C. S. Lewis who converted me to writing with The Great Divorce. It didn’t strike me suddenly; it infiltrated my soul somehow, at some time I can’t identify. But when I look back, that’s the pivot point when I switched from math to literature. My calculus teacher stared at me when I told him my decision. “Well,” he said, with his professorial smile, “I hope you find the right tree.”
I asked him what he meant.
“All dreamers need to sit in the shadow of a tree to think great ideas. You need paper and pencil and talent, too, but mostly you need a tree. A big one, with a long shadow. And it needs to be spring.”
He was an interesting teacher.
It was no effort of mine that brought me here to the Story Project. Ms. Talbot said I was requested from high up. I know that the headmaster, Stuart Lem, asked for me. I don’t know why. Maybe I got here too easy. (I always think that if I am not suffering, I’m not doing what I should. I’m absurd.)
Reading over everything, I see that I’ve still left out a lot. Remember, journals are stream of consciousness. I must resist the temptation to edit. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try to lay everything out better. It’s late – nearly 10:30. (My brother would laugh; he never sleeps until midnight, but he doesn’t wake early – or happily.)
Good night, dumb journal.