Someone in my writing group said the words – Bullet Journal. Of course I had to check it out, wasting hours of time online to find just the right journal, pens, rulers, stencils and stickers. Oh, but I can now schedule that writing time on a monthly, weekly or daily calendar. I can track my writing goals, every book I’ve read, every movie I’ve seen. And my weight. And a reasonable diet and exercise routine. The weather. You name it – there’s a page for that.
Unlike all those fill in the blank kind of goal journals, calendars and planners, I get to choose my own set up. And every week I can change my layout to match the predominant personality trait of the week. It only takes an hour or so each Sunday night to prepare for the week. It’s quite simple: Check Pinterest for a new idea, trace it into my notebook, put in a couple of stickers (because I have no artistic talent), pen in the appointments (blue for work, green for JJ, purple for red hat, red for the important stuff), transfer all the To Dos from the previous week that didn’t get checked off because I was too busy looking for a better layout for the following week, add new To Dos for the current week, and decide what I might want to track for the next seven days.
Some people choose to keep a daily page. I’m not going there – yet. Well, truth be told, on my first week, I did keep sort of a daily journal. But, that required sitting down each night, regurgitating all that happened, noting all the important events, feelings, calories, weight, To Dos that did get done, and finding some small thing to be gracious about. Honestly, it’s that gratitude thing that put an end to daily pages after the refrigerator quit working during the heat wave and hubby got bit by a pit bull.
The big advantage to spending the money for a Leuchtturm1917 journal, is that it comes with an index and nice little dots that help keep things lined up. The index is important. The journal will soon become a helter-skelter of disorganization because you work on it page by page. No leaving extra room for this or that. Just keep on going. That’s the general idea. Without an index it will be impossible to find that growing check off TBR list of books to read or the last time you weighed in. Problem is I’ve yet to figure out the proper way to list that index. By subject? Date? For now, I have left my index blank and tagged the important list pages with cute little kitty tabs purchased at Daiso for a dollar.
I thought since a writer brought this bullet journal subject up, it must be the best tool for getting a writer’s work done. I promised myself that my bullet journal would serve a writer’s purpose. It would contain all my scenes, possible themes and book titles, characters, story arcs, and goals. When I reach the end of this journal, there will be just enough pages remaining for that book tour calendar. And when it becomes a best seller, I’ll afford a whole new set of top of the line bullet journal tools.
So you see, it seems I have another procrastination technique, just like Social Media, E-mail, errands and laundry, to keep from writing. Now you know where I’ve been. At least now I get to check off that nagging little box that has been forwarded for the last four weeks: √ Write Blog Post.
“Your mom is very sick.” After five years of marriage, I can read the tension on Eric’s face and feel it across the kitchen table in the grasp of his hands.
“And?” I ask. I know there is bad news to come. News that I don’t want to hear.
“Maybe you would like a cool drink. It’s been a hot day,” Eric stalls. We are in the middle of a heatwave and yet I feel a chill run down my spine.
“No. I think I know what you’re going to say.” I had been visiting Mom at Letterman Army Medical Center at Presidio of San Francisco for months, watching her fade away. Dad had mentioned a week before that Mom would be going to Stanford University Hospital to be evaluated by Dr. Shumway, a pioneer of heart surgery.
“Your dad called earlier and asked me to tell you something. Dr. Shumway says there is nothing more that they can do.”
Eric moves his chair back as I shift around the table and fall into his tender hug.
Don’t cry, I think. I’m twenty-four years old and can’t dodge the recurrent reminder of Dad’s words, “Big girls don’t cry.”
“How long?” I ask, trying to maintain composure. My temples pulse.
“Maybe a few weeks.” His words trail off as the tears come. His tears. Not mine. There’s a swift kick in my belly as I try to digest the pain. My mother will not live to see this baby, I realize.
Is Dad crying now? Is that why Eric is the one to break this news? Only Eric will witness my tears.
Four months later I sit in stoic silence at the memorial service as Rev. Boring offers words of comfort at Carmel Valley Community Church. It feels odd to have someone other than my father at the pulpit. My sister, a blossoming teenager nine years younger than me, buries her tears in a lump of tissues. I see my older brother brush his tears away on his coat sleeve. My head pounds with backed up tears. Did I imagine Dad’s gasps and sniffles?
After the service, we gather at the house. It was Mom’s dream come true, this house on the hillside above Carmel Valley. With a glass of wine propped on my growing belly, I feel the touch of my mother’s sister. Her hand is on my belly. “You are so strong,” she says. “You will make a good mom.”