“How to Keep a Journal: A history of the discipline, and of myself”

by alyssapelish

Reading these pages more than two decades later, it’s hard not to wince. I’m embarrassed by the young person who filled every single page of VOLUME I, making sure to begin on the very top line of every ruled page and to end each entry at the very bottom line, leaving no gaps or asymmetries. I pity her blithely compulsive tally of each day’s obligations and incidentals. I’m exasperated by how she glosses over almost everything that might actually matter. But what did you actually feel? What did you actually think? Can’t you explain it any better than that? It’s me you’re talking to, I want to say.

Happy to have this essay up at The Paris Review online.

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