Keeping a journal

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Sunday, Newvember 1st

Welcome to my journal. My name is Willow Mae Pillbean, and I have just accepted the most interesting dare. My best friend, and usual partner-in-crime, dared me to turn November into Newvember. What's that you say? What the heck is Newvember? Well, it's all about trying something new every day in November. The new thing can be something as inconsequential as not using fabric softener, or it can be as daunting as sky diving    which I can tell you now is definitely not on my list!

To start with, I am attempting to keep a journal, detailing the "new" experiences as they unfold. The journal itself is the very first new item, as I have never in my life tried to keep one. Even as a pre-teen, when all my friends were big into the diary scene, I couldn't be bothered. It all seemed a colossal waste of time, not to mention the stress involved.

First, you had to find the right journal – something girlie, but unique to your style. Granted, it couldn't be so unique that it stood out as strange-looking. It had to have a key so you could wear it on a chain around your neck. Thinking about it makes me cringe... so many lost keys for so many journal locks, forever rusted shut by tears of agony and distress. So many pre-teen dreams lost. Well, not mine. Mine are all safely locked away, deep inside.

Good God, who am I trying to kid? That was the corniest thing I've ever read. Rusted locks, lost dreams, teenager tears of angst? I may as be writing a fluff piece for Chicken Soup for the Soul... that is, if they still publish stuff like that. Obviously, I am not much of a writer, and I have a feeling this first part of the dare is going to be the most challenging of all. It has occurred to me that journaling will be an ongoing "new" experience. Angela made it clear that while I could use the first entry as my something new, the rest won't count as a new experiences since they will become part of my daily routine. I should have thought this through more carefully before committing. Drinking wine on an empty stomach must have made me drop my inhibitions and jump in with both feet without coming up with a viable plan.

Of course, Angela argued that the journal couldn't be counted as something new, even though I have an aversion to keeping one. Truth be told, I'm not a literary person. I do like to read, but my primary interests lie in Harlequin Romances à la sexy, short, and sweet. Simple and predictable, with plots and characters that never let you down, they're a quick and dirty read that suck you in dry and spit you out wet. When you open a good romance book you know what to expect: steamy conflict, makeup sex, and happily-ever-after at the end. All this happens in a neatly bound, brightly covered, 300 page package, perfect for lazing away a Sunday afternoon.

Since I have never kept a journal before, I'm struggling with the first entry. Should I describe myself a bit? Or should I go ahead and start the adventure in the middle of everything, with no background information at all? This shouldn't be so difficult, since Angel and I are the only ones who will ever read it.

So, what am I supposed to write? Should I keep to the standard format of:

Dear Diary,

Today was a typical Sunday. I slept until almost noon, had a quick breakfast of raisin toast and coffee, showered, dressed, and made my way to the card store down the street to purchase this lovely, leather-bound volume in which I plan to store all my deepest thoughts and private secrets.

Yeah – I don't think that's quite my style. Perhaps I should try writing on the computer instead. I could create a blog and make Newvember a public event. I've seen blogs like this before. Usually, they're weight-loss inspired, or about kids, or struggles with an illness, but who says I can't share my own adventures online. This way, Angela can read everything as it happens and not have to actually wait for the physical copy of the journal. It could go something like:

Hello faithful readers!

Here I am, detailing my pathetic life for strangers and friends alike. I can only assume those of you reading this don't have a life, either. Especially if you are in any way interested in the fact that my day consisted of breakfast, showering, and shopping. Even so, I am ready to bare my soul to all of you who are willing to read about it.

Um... no. That's a little too weird and flamboyant for me. What if I do something stupid? I wouldn't want to publicize something that would later cost me my job, my reputation, or my sanity. Somehow, I was going to have to make this work. I felt pathetic writing about buying the journal, scribbling the date in it, and its role in my challenge. Part of me wanted to share something insightful or, at the very least, inspiring. Let's face it, there was nothing noteworthy about my day.

I doubted anyone cared if I slept in, wore flannel pajamas in the summer, or at Pop Tarts for supper. Adding small details, like dropping the soap in the shower or the flavour of the jam filing wasn't going to spice things up much, either. My breakfast was bland, and my trip to the store was straightfoward. Even the journal I purchased was a nondescript, brown faux leather.

Undoubtedly, my day would continue in the same way all of my Sundays do, with a luxurious afternoon nap followed by a gourmet frozen dinner baked to perfection in the microwave. Before bed, there's the usual Sunday night marathon on Netflix before turning in early for the night.

Getting up at stupid o'clock is one of the few things I don't love about my job as a government employee. Mostly, I enjoy the work with its early mornings, daily exercise, fresh air, decent salary, and limited responsibility. I deliver the mail, and it's great. Since I deal with so few people on my route – I am mostly greeted by dogs and the occasional aggressive cat – there are few to no conflicts, limited office drama, and I never have to worry about fighting for that corner office. It's a relatively stress-free job, despite the expression "going postal".

It's unfortunate a series of shootings that occurred in the 1980s has put such a bad spin on being a postal worker. None of my colleagues are quick to anger or rage, and I can't remember the last time I lost my temper. Occasionally, we all get a little frustrated, but not enough to whip out a shotgun and start knocking coworkers off. Unless, of course, those people happen to be zombies, in which case, it's probably a good idea to shoot first and ask questions never.

Regardless, my route is simple, and my life is uncomplicated.

Enough with the internet distractions; it's time to get down to business. Creating a private blog is easy enough. I already have a Google account, and the rest doesn't require a ton of thought. When I'm ready, I'll either remove the privacy filters or print it out the entries for Angela to read. It's too bad I wasted $29.99 on a new journal, but typing is faster and easier than writing long hand. Sitting quietly, I reflected on how to wrap up my first blog. In the end, it wasn't too difficult to write.

If the first entry is dry and boring, then I guess it's an honest reflection of my life on a typical Sunday afternoon. All that's left to on this rainy Sunday afternoon is sit back and see how this adventure called Newvember will unfold. It's unlikely chronicling it will have any major significance or impact on my life, but at least I can say I have done something new on this very first day of Newvember.

One entry completed, only 29 days left to go!

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