William James

working class poetry // punk rock performance

1.15.17 // CHRONOLOGY

Personal journals: November 29, 2006 - September 30, 2016

photo provided by the author

photo provided by the author

For over a decade, I've kept a journal. I don't always write in it religiously every day; some days I write profusely, other times weeks, even months will pass. I estimate that roughly 90% of my poems have first taken shape in a handwritten draft found on one of these pages. Some have since gone on to the Great Abandoned Drafts Sub-directory In the Sky, never to be considered again. A few have found homes in various literary journals, magazines, my first book...

It's wild to look back & see a literal decade of my life unfold in moments. It's sobering to think that so much of my entirety as a human is documented & bound in not more than a pound or two of dead trees.  There are times where I don't recognize the person who wrote the words I read - I suppose this is a good thing. I suppose this is a marker of progress.

As the years have gone by, I've gotten less & less formal with my journaling. Was a time long ago that I would meticulously chronicle every event, every thought, every observation I had; these days, there are haphazard notes, ideas for poems, bits of flotsam & jetsam that I scribble down only for the moment so I remember it a day or two later. One thing I haven't let go of - the instinct to write everything out by hand first...the drive to "feel" a poem leave my thoughts, to take on corporeal form of sorts, the desire to build muscle memory out of creativity, if for no other reason that that it just seems the right thing to do.

I remember thinking years ago that maybe one day, if/when I was a Famous Poet, someone might take an interest in these old journals...would want a glimpse into the mind that created the work I had chosen to publicly share. How quaint! How narcissistic, really! The poems I write, the ones that make their way to the laptop, to the Dropbox folder, to the submission portal - those are for you as much as they are for me.

Let these dusty old memories stay in the dust. Let them be that fodder for my future self to dig up once more, to peruse with the fascination of an archeologist, and then to return, one more time, to the drawer from whence they came. The day will come when I can no longer remember what I did in the misspent years of my youth! What fortune awaits me, to have this archive to show for it.

W. James// 1982-XXXX

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