Cataloging vs. Retrospective Writing

The trouble with trying to catalogue every waking moment of your life, as is the goal of the journal section of this webpage, is that, once you start writing every day, you begin to tell stories before they’re really ready to be told. There’s no time for the kind of reflection you’ll find in K and Beth’s recent posts on the demise of their one-time apartment/hang-out, or the deeply introspective “confessions” you’ll find at Billy Corgan’s site. When you blog every day, as I’ve been doing since January 1, 2002, you’ve already told all of the stories that are there to be told.

Sure, I still have a year’s worth of paper journal entries to transcribe. And then I have to tell the stories of the sixteen years or so of my life before I kept a journal. But I can’t help recalling that adage that’s been regurgitated to me countless times, by countless writing professors: “If you write your autobiography at 30, what will you do for an encore?”

Perhaps there will come a time when I give up on writing every day, when I go back to writing the kind of confessional, retrospective memoirs I composed about Tracy, Nydia, and my band. For now, I guess I’ll just continue to operate as usual. But the question that drives this entry, one of the many that plagues my mind during the quiet times, is: Why do some journalers feel the need to catalogue every waking moment, knowing full well that what they write will never be as good as it might be if they just took a step back and only wrote when inspiration was overwhelming them?