Many moons ago, my primary role was a mom raising three kids. My partner and I were busy building his career and a house in the country. I was thinking about what to do when my kids grew up. I hadn’t become a songwriter yet. I hadn’t started writing books yet. I was about to go back to school to get a Masters degree to find out if academia still had some value.
Recently I found a journal entry from back before I became a songwriter and was planning to head back to school to get my masters. It was my birthday and I declared the year ahead would be “The Year of Finishing”. I read through it and felt I'd received a call through time, the line was crackly but I could make out the voice. She was someone familiar reminding me of who I was and how far I've come.
The memory of me then is an interesting contrast to the me now. I used to get up early every morning before everyone else and light a candle and lean over my journal and write without self-editing. I'd just let all the words spill on the page. This is the journal entry I read, and I'm I'm sure I had to finish because I heard family members stirring and knew it was time to make breakfast:
November 28th, 1995 How many times have I begun to write something? I have a multitude of beginnings and nothing is finished. Perhaps this is the year to look at all of the ‘unfinished business’ and call it what it is – unfinish-able, untidy, unworthy, forgettable? Or maybe I’ll call it ignored, inspired, temporary insanity, messy, frantic; parenthetical, forgone, illegible, unintelligible, and so on. And go on from here. I did throw out all of the old stuff that felt like useless clutter which I have recently been carrying everywhere with me but somehow have forgotten this week. It is my birthday today. My eyes popped open at 6:12 am and then my body responded to the thought, ‘It’s too early to get up.’ Fortunately I remembered the promise I made to myself to begin this day with purpose. This is a beginning , this day – and an ending – an indivisible number – I want to call this year the year of finishings. I was going to say endings but I’m afraid of how close it brings me to the idea of death. But perhaps that’s what it is – time passing is a death and we must learn to send it on its way into the light as in the Tibetan Book of the Dead; send our thoughts, ambitions, desires, ego worship, insecurity, fed-up-ness, tiredness, energy, every part into the light. And open up to new light and respond. This idea of being a channel makes sense. Letting the universe take care of us. Am I ready to finish things. Let them die and go into the light? This is my year of finishing. I shall call it that – my goal. The Year Of Finishing. And what specifically? Am I a singer? Yes. But do I want to go in front of people alone and sing? No, but I will keep working on my voice so I can sing with others. Choir, Group, Band? Am I an actress? I have been, not given it my all, was not coming at it with love, strength, letting go and I need to make more money for school and I have this little ego voice that wants to be really popular, respected, etc. Is that what I really want? I will exercise more, get into better shape and see how I look in the New Year. I have to decide. Please help me universe. I need more money, is this the way to get it? I want to get better at writing – I want to be a writer – I will go to school and will be writing every day working on putting words together. Will continue teaching. Gardening and practicing playing piano. Being a good mother and making travel plans. Plan my children’s future. Finish moving house. Finish what I start. Writing – stories, poems, plays.
There you have it. Since writing this I've written dozens of songs and performed them all over the world. And I write books, am currently working on a manuscript called ’The Importance of Being Important.” the book I’ve committed to bring to the point where I know I have a book to stand behind or not. I still journal, but not as often as in the past when I needed to sort through a multitude of competing ideas.
Writing has always been the way I figure out the world. Writing in a journal gave me a way to have a dialogue with my brain, to sort through the debris, and even, as I just found out, speak to myself over time. Now it helps me see how far I've come. If you’ve never kept a journal I hope this inspires you to try it.