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Spo-fans know I have long kept a paper journal. I started writing them in 1978 – at least that is the year of the oldest one I still have. Every year, usually between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I go to a bookstore and buy a new one for the upcoming year. As bookstores disappear (as do paper journals) I now get them whenever I happen to stumble upon one.*  Last week, Travel Penguin (the dear!), sent me one. On its cover, written in gold, is “Bad Ideas”. It is a large one, bigger than and frankly better quality than the ones I usually allow myself to buy. Its finesses made me wonder if this one might be ‘The Last Journal’.

For some years I’ve had a fancy to splurge and buy better one, one bound in leather with special paper. I see them time to time; some of them run into the hundreds of dollars. I would use it as ‘The Last Journal’. I would put it up on the shelf with the finished journals, allowing a large gap from the current one (on the left) and The Last Journal leaning up against the right side of the shelf. When would I write in it? In an ideal world, I would know I am dying and this is my last year alive. Then I would stop buying the simple ones. I would write – for the last time – using The Last Journal, knowing what I write would be my last. I would not fill it with mundane daily doings (as is my wont) but with ‘parting thoughts’, whatever they may be. 

Of course, I have no idea when I will die – may it be a couple of decades from now! People seldom have the luck (good?) to know ‘this is the last year’ to plan accordingly. Chances are I will die quickly or even suddenly and not have a chance to use The Last Journal.  The purchase of The Last Journal and putting it up where I see it with the other ones, slowly growing and closing the gap between them, serves another purpose.  It serves as an “momento mori”, something that reminds me of my mortality. I think this is a good thing. It reminds me to write well and to fill these yearly journals with as much life events as possible. 

I’ve changed my mind about Travel Penguin’s recent gift. “Bad Ideas” will be Journal 2023. When I write in it, I will think of him everyday. In July Urs Truly turns sixty. I fancy my birthday prize to myself will be The Last Journal, large, leather-bound, with metal adornments (like my men). It goes up on the shelf and starts serving its purpose.  

*This works better. I remember the place and situation when I purchased the journal. 

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May 2022

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018