Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Steinbeck Experiment

Happy Boxing Day, everyone!

Yesterday, one of the Christmas gifts my wife opened (and in a few cases, treasure-hunted for) from me was a pack of sketchbooks, one of which was designated for me: on the insides of an unfolding paper box placed under the tree, I explained that I'm going to be keeping a writing journal this year, addressed to Karen.  She's welcome to read from it as she likes during the year, but next Christmas I will present it to her as a (hopefully) completed gift, showing each day how I have practiced this thing that's supposed to be my craft.  She can read intensively, skim, laugh or roll her eyes as she likes -- and while she can ask how my work is going from day to day, the journal frees her from any obligation to do so in much detail, even as it provides me with day-to-day accountability for Getting Work Done.

But Matt, wherever did you get this idea of such surpassing brilliance?  From John Steinbeck, of course.  As he was writing East of Eden in 1951, he kept an epistolary journal of sorts, addressed to a friend and editor.  When one reads it today, it comes across as a proto-blog, as Steinbeck tracks his progress, wrestles with problems of pacing, plotting, and procrastination, waxes on (and on) about his obsessions with finding exactly the right pencil, and occasionally reflects on what's happening in his family life and the world around him.

In my case, the journal idea remains the same, but it's addressed to Karen.  She's not always my primary audience, but as I explained in the first post in this blog, her influence makes me a better writer, not just a better person and a stronger follower of Jesus.

It'll be interesting to see how this gift develops.  I'll try to report in on that occasionally here -- without letting such posts, or the journaling itself, become procrastination.

No comments:

Post a Comment