Saturday, March 6, 2010

Of Journaling, Greyhound Adoption, and Time Travel

Last week we had the pleasure of hearing Phyllis Theroux speak at the Library of Virginia, to kick off the publication of her new book The Journal KeeperI had read the book and was re-reading it by that time.  I have been an extremely sporadic journal keeper since college days, but I still have those pages and I treasure them, even the silly, whiny, self-absorbed ones.  One entry lets me know that at age 36 I exclaimed dramatically “I feel so terribly alone, sad, and old.”  Thirty years out, I want to put my arms around the lonely, sad young woman and sympathize, except for the “old” part about which she knew nothing.

Thankfully, by the time I had finished recording that entry, I had concluded that in comparison to some other people in my office I at least had a spark of  joie de vivre, and wrote on at some length in self-congratulation.  The great thing about a journal is that you’re allowed to be self-absorbed, and you might even be able to cheer yourself up by the end of the page.

I love reading other people’s journals and memoirs, and I can never resist at least looking at a new one in the bookstore.  If you are like that too, or think you might be, I highly recommend this book;  and if you know you will never journal but wouldn’t mind meeting someone who knows how to express many of the same inner thoughts and struggles you have, I recommend this book. 

Roger Mudd (remember him from CBS News?) introduced Ms. Theroux.  In case you thought, as I friend of mine did, that he had died, I assure you that is not the case.  He was a hoot, and entertained us with his own very first journal entry, written as a bored Private in the Korean War.  

About rescue greyhound adoption:  we are in the process.  How did it happen that two old ladies looking for an old, small dog seem to be about to adopt a young, tall greyhound fresh from the racetrack?  The story is somewhat convoluted, but it involves being at a Pet Expo a couple of weekends ago looking for the old, small dog and meeting two rescue greyhounds who cast a spell of enchantment with their angel faces and sweet ways.

As we’ve learned more about retired racing greyhounds, we continue to be enchanted as well as quite nervous about rescuing a dog of this particular breed.  We’ve always gotten dogs that we more or less put in the car and took home without a lot of forethought other than “I want a dog and this one seems to need me.”  This time is different and we are reading too many books, in my opinion.  I comfort myself with the memory of reading all the major how-to baby books before my child was born, and then pretty much never referring to them again once she made her appearance. 

And finally, about time travel.  Sheila doesn’t like science fiction or fantasy, and neither do I, although I enjoyed science fiction when I was a young teacher.  That was back in the days of Ray Bradbury and not very many other well known science fiction writers.  There was no such thing, as far as I know, as a vampire genre. 

Anyway, recently I had read a novel which I enjoyed and passed along to She, who also liked it very much.  I had gone on to read another novel by the same author, and was telling She how I didn’t care for that one and she wouldn’t either, because a major plot device was time travel.  “Oh, I wouldn’t like it,” she called out from the other room.  “I have enough trouble traveling through time myself.  I don’t need to read about it.”


  1. Lovely post. I have kept a journal regularly for 33 years now. These days, I write "morning pages" -- 3 pages, at least, every day. One of my best friends has adopted 2 or 3 greyhounds, and they are, in fact, sweet, gentle creatures, usually with "issues," but amenable to love and good care. They are SO beautiful, too. I can take or leave SciFi, but liked the Matrix movies, mostly, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Independence Day and Close Encounters and ET. I currently have District 9, as I'm trying to see as many Oscar Nominees as I can prior to tomorrow night's awards. In my undergrad days I took a class on Science Fiction for one of my English credits. And I LOVED "The Time Traveler's Wife," and can't wait to see the movie, once my Oscar frenzy has calmed down (Precious and Up in the Air are coming out Tuesday, and I also want to see them).

  2. Make sure you go to this blog:

    She has a fantastically funny and cute blog written from her two adopted greyhound's perspective and makes the cutest things for them! I am sure if you send her an email she will fill you in about the dogs, she knows so much about the breed!!!

  3. And now the vampire genre has taken over the world, or at least the imaginations of all the 11s-18s I teach. Sigh.

  4. Greyhounds are such terrific, sweet, gentle dogs! At any age, they're just slothful couch potatoes (just like some people I could mention, including myself). Your new girl will reinforce the meaning of "Nap Without Guilt".

    Hey, if you haven't yet read Barbara Kingsolver's latest *The Lacuna*, run-do-not-walk to get it. And A.S. Byatt's *The Children's Book*, too--oh my god, they are both just stunningly wonderful. After reading *The Lacuna*, it took me a full week to be able to start another book--it was that good and that filled with image and story.

    xoxo from here, chicas.

  5. Reading your post makes me wish I had kept a journal. I used to buy those pretty little blank books with the intention of keeping a journal, but I'd write on the first two or three pages and that would be the end of that. I do have a number of extremely depressing poems from my teens and 20's that are quite awful, but I keep them because they are my history, after all.

    Speaking of memoirs, I just finished The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson (the advice columnist). It's a very entertaining and enjoyable read. I guess, if you think about it, memoirs involve a sort of time travel.

  6. What will I do with 35 years' worth of journals if I die tomorrow? That is the question. I don't know who'd want 'em, taking up the space that they do. I've heard there's some place in the States that collects them.
    I would love it if any of my ancestors I never knew had kept journals; maybe I'll have a great-grandchild or something who will find them of interest.

  7. I think blogging is such a great way of journaling because you can share it with others and get feedback.

    I wish I kept a journal of my life. I tend to forget things quickly like when my kids got their first tooth and other milestones a mom should know.

    I did write up the story of how my husband and I met and made a scrapbook of our first year of dating. It's a great record and I wish I had kept it up.