I write in my journal every morning for forty minutes, or I try to. My first writing teacher, Kim Trengove, was a fan of Julia Cameron’s book, The Artists Way. Cameron recommends the ‘Morning Pages’ as a way of ridding your mind of the dross, and helping you uncover your real thoughts and feelings. Journaling also helps develop the ‘writing muscle’.
In writing memoir, the ‘pages’ help me drill down to my hidden beliefs, and uncover any fear being them. In clearing my mind of daily minutiae, I am better able to discover what actually lies there. Mentor, Kaylie Jones, says memoir is about creating the ‘eye’ that watches the “I”.
As I learn to detach, ironically I can go deeper into what I am most afraid to write, find a way to express it, and allow a structure or at least a pattern to emerge. Miles Davis once said: “You have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” This is true for me. It takes me a long time to learn to write like myself; a long time to find my own voice. But any glimmer of that individuality emerging is well worth the effort. For in the single story, they say, lives the universal.