I heard the call. It wasn’t a whisper or delicate voice or loud words urging me to transcribe thoughts to paper. But the call did sound like an alarm, telling me it was time to awaken a dormant spirit. I was ready to give voice to my ideas, the beginning of my story telling.
When I was fifteen, a pink hardcover book invited me to fill its blank lined pages. A latch was glued to the back of the book and fit snugly into a lock glued to the top. I held my first journal in my hands.
I never felt I had to keep my journal locked, though. Under lock and key meant what was enclosed between the front and back covers was too private— that I had something to hide. It also seemed self-righteous, as if my words were sacred, only to be opened by a holy one. Such a book, shrouded in reverence, reminded me of the Holy Bible at church. When I was a child and Father Sullivan would say Catholic Mass on Sundays, the Holy Book traveled from opening procession to the pulpit for the Gospel, thento sitting atop the altar in celebration of the Eucharist. Father would hold the Big Book up to the congregation, signaling the start of the Mass; the large golden clasp sparkled in the overhead lights, revealing an ornate design. The Book was unlatched and opened in ceremony. The holy words were set free as the pages were read aloud. I could almost see a spirit rise and travel from the altar to the congregation.
Neither out of reach, nor out of mind, my pink journal rested on the middle shelf, middle cubby of my bookcase atop my desk in my bedroom as if it was the center of attention from which all things surrounded it. I lifted my book of words from its place, held it firmly in anticipation and carried it to a sequestered spot in ceremony, ready to commence writing upon release of the latch. The pages would be free and my words released. I didn’t want my written words to be cloistered. I wanted them to be open and available, to expand. I wanted them to breathe evoking a spirit to travel to others.