A Black Notebook


Not too long ago, but what seems ages ago, I made a decision to start a diary in shorthand gah stroke burp wrong word longhand. I searched far and wide for my favorite notebook, a moleskine. Not too long ago, but what seems ages ago, I started writing in this moleskine–things I could not post in non-anonymous public, but still needed to write down. It was an “overflow” writing center.

By “not too long ago, but what seems ages ago,” I mean a month ago, right before I had my stroke. In hindsight, this decision was incredibly momentous and timely–just a few days after starting a written diary, I had a stroke.

This written diary has now become my lifeline and link to sanity. It has a huge role in my healing. I write in it everyday–grateful for its hidden, underground nature. Before my stroke, I wrote things I did not feel comfortable writing about here. After my stroke, I took advantage of the anonymity of this journal and wrote despite my handicaps, despite the hardship, in incomplete sentences, in bullet points. There is no audience for a journal, there are only the words. It is really pure, sometimes rough, sometimes the words are gems.

I wrote in it while in the hospital, and it contains thoughts and experiences I don’t remember very well: the hospital, my confusion in the hospital, people’s names! It contains things like test results, and reminders to myself, and little factoids I have to remember, and questions I need to remember to ask my doctors. It contains my darkest moments, and my sense of victory. I jot in it while parked after an appointment, overwhelmed with feeling. I jot in it while at lunch with a friend, my mind flashing with a fleeting thought. I write in at the end of the day in bed, unfurling my thoughts until my mind is a flat lake.

It doubles as my “memory book,” something therapists urge stroke victims to take up, a journal to jot down reminders and thoughts and memos.

Thank goodness for this black notebook.



Filed under The Stroke, Writing

5 responses to “A Black Notebook

  1. Reading this made me very emotional. This is the way I used to feel about my notebooks, but don’t anymore. I am so glad for you that you have this black notebook.

  2. mel

    I think writing in a diary is very therapeutic (I wrote in a journal almost every night from ages 10 to 17). I’m glad it’s helping you heal.

  3. Research shows that writing in a diary is good therapy. In your situation it operates on many levels, knitting together brain connections, helping you remember things, as well as providing emotional succor. But this post reminds me how important a diary is to any writer, not just one recovering from stroke. You’ve inspired me. Thank you.

  4. LeRoy Dissing

    I think diaries are good to have. Everyone I know has had at least one in their life. Whether diaries, blogs or notebooks, writing down ones innermost feelings, thoughts and experiences is an expression. Expression of oneself in the moment. And while we might not remember what are expressions were, our journals (in whatever fashion) remind us that we passed this way.

    Someday Jade, those notes could become the basis of your journey. I find it refreshing that you are keeping one. As the others commented, I am glad it is helping you heal.

  5. Pingback: Fiction Expectations « Writing Under a Pseudonym

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