"From the Sky Down"    [ 06 ]   
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May 2016

I kept a journal for 35 years, give or take (1978 to 2013).

I don't share this to brag ~( anyone can fill a bunch of notebooks with scribblings )~ but to address today's topic. My original purpose at age 10 / 11 / 12 was to learn the craft of Writing through study and practical application, leveraging the upcoming years of high school as a smorgasbord of source material. Simple as that. But as those years rolled into the next, I found exploring life so immensely provocative that I just kept chronicling one adventure after another, honing my narrative voice with each completed spiral notebook. Daily accounts mushroomed into topical treatments of every stripe. (Talk about your 10,000 hours..!) At times when I may have felt compelled to abandon the discipline, I continued if for no other reason than to process my changing priorities, passions, and choices in life. I moved around a lot, by design, to experience living in different towns and cultures, gaining experience in a wide spectrum of vocations — all the better to gain Writing Experience! And so it was until the end of 2004 when Something Happened in our family that blew the wind right out of my sails for a couple of years, reflected graphically below by a couple of grey years. This was followed by another stint that seemed needful to document at the time not only for myself, but also for my maturing children.  :-)

Then in 2010 I launched this reconfigured website. Despite other creative inclinations, this blog grew to become the heart of TomboStudios. Later that year (by my 44th birthday), I figured that by now I had likely achieved my original learn-to-write goals — ya think? — and set aside my 'journal pen' for good. Or so I thought.

A 1-year-long devotional project in 2013 occasionally lapsed into Journal territory. And writing about our adventures during trips and vacations yielded surprising rewards. One of these 'mini-journals' played host to a pair of Hawaii trips set nine years apart (2005, then w/Ann in 2014), quite the bookends for a long and trying season of our lives. A couple of recent incomplete journals also begged for resolution, so I filled those pages as well. These 'Finishers' as I call them (2013-2016, underlined below) serve as a denouement of sorts after all these years of formal journaling:

 daily devotional  Hawaii 2005  Hawaii 2014  journal 102b  journal 106
All of 2013 +
3½ months in 2014
Two trips to Hawaii!
2005 / 2014
Two months
in 2014
All of 2007 +
4 months in 2015
   2 months of 2010
7½ months of 2015
+ 2 months of 2016 
1978
 1978
1979
 1979
1980
 1980
1981
 1981
1982
 1982
1983
 1983
1984
 1984
1985
 1985
1986
 1986
1987
 1987
1988
 1988
1989
 1989
1990
 1990
1991
 1991
1992
 1992
1993
 1993
1994
 1994
1995
 1995
1996
 1996
1997
 1997
1998
 1998
1999
 1999
2000
 2000
2001
 2001
2002
 2002
2003
 2003
2004
 2004
2005
 2005
2006
 2006
2007
 2007
2008
 2008
2009
 2009
2010
 2010
2011
 2011
2012
 2012
2013
 2013

2014
 2014

2015
 2015

2016
 2016

If you're interested in a bit of history and/or one HTML layout solution for an index of this nature (not to mention a slow but amusing evolution in musical interests), here is a direct link to the Journal Index page ─► and a link straight to the 'Finishers' section. Please be patient: these take a while to load with a LOT of journal covers & time [year] graphics . . .

 "From the Sky Down" blu-ray (U2)

Now I stand at the precipice of FINALLY COMPLETING drafting journals as a regular part of my life, though I will still capture trips &/or adventures in long-ranging notebooks. (But no more TIME WARPs ~ what a headache to index!) Vacation accounts are fun to write and actually enrich the experience.  :-)  Oh, and exercising those spontaneous 'chops' can inspire new creative stylings, phrases, and narrative methods. In my last post, I blogged about venturing into New Writing Territory. Capping off these journals is an essential step in that direction. In a recent documentary commemorating the formation of U2's groundbreaking 1991 album "Achtung Baby", Larry Mullen Jr. (i think - it was one of them speaking offscreen) summed up this type of refocusing transition by saying:

   "You have to reject one expression of the band first before you get to the
     next expression. And in between, you have nothing. You have to risk it all."   

~   Risk all of who you are, creatively, and what you're all about   ~

Bono describes Achtung Baby as "the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree." It is both thrilling and not a little unnerving to let go of a tether to which one has held fast for a lifetime, just to reach out in one decisive swing for another untested vine. Beyond the requisite creative chutzpa, a move like this requires fistfuls of hope, trust, and faith. You may end up inventing a revolutionary new product and identity. Or you may just produce a 'Pop'. But you're making something ~ and that inexorably leads to continued growth and development, both personal and public. From the synth/techno experimental stylings of Zooropa to their confident return to form with All That You Can't Leave Behind and beyond, U2 have proven themselves time and again as a trustworthy ensemble crafting reliable sonic elements for the soundtrack of our lives. Every writer (of songs, screenplays, novels, non-fiction) hopes to positively inform at least some reader(s) and somehow connect with his or her audience in this vast world... Now (so long as long as I don't get sidetracked making more U2 mix CD's) I hope to finally step up onto that immense world stage and play my small part . . . but first I do believe I will have to take an afternoon and merge my favorite tracks to a single killer disc drawing from three of their most pivotal albums of that era. I'll combine their titles into something appropriate like “Achtung, Joshua! ~ The Unforgettable Baby Fire Tree!” Which will likely necessitate another three-album combo from their post-2000 years, something like: “How to Dismantle a No-Line Atomic Bomb That You Can’t Leave Behind on the Horizon”.

06
(2016)  07