December 31, 2021
Until I finished my first novel I didn’t think of myself as the kind of writer who would or could write a novel. But, after I finished the first book I started in on the second without even thinking about it, or enduring a moment’s uncertainty about whether I could pull it off. The same may go for memoirs and journals. Outside of a less than half-hearted attempt to keep a journal back in high school this is the first time I’ve tried to write one. I enjoy autobiographies. But the truth is I enjoy autobiographies because I enjoy learning about noteworthy people. Bobby Jones wrote about himself when he was still in his 30s, or maybe even younger. Then again, he was Bobby Jones. I’m 60 now, heading for 61 in April. Things have changed, and a definitive change is coming at the end of 2022. My longtime employers will be closing their law firm. It’s time. Their decision is understandable. One of them is 66 and I think the other is pushing 70. One just lost his wife to cancer and the other’s daughter is battling a form of lymphoma. When the end of the firm finally comes I will only have one emotion…gratitude. Both of my bosses have been more than employers to me. They’ve been friends and will remain friends until that other end. I’ll have more to say about both of them later on, I think. The point is that this journal is about a particular transition, from one job to another, at the time in life where I now find myself. The determinate nature of the transition period allows me to focus and plan for the future but also to experience the days of the coming year in an unusual way. Most big changes hit without notice but this one has announced its impending arrival quite conveniently.
I don’t anticipate this to be a traditional journal. Then again, I don’t know what a traditional journal is like, having never knowingly read one. My anticipation is that it will include more than a few ideas about things I’d like to write. I’m also thinking that it will look back more than I want it to but I’m going to try hard to keep my eyes looking forward. They say a writer has to know the beginning and ending of a novel before sitting down to write it. I agree with that. A journal is a different proposition. No one knows how anyone’s journal will end, even and perhaps especially, their own. There’s a kind of freedom to writing without knowing the ending.
It should be interesting anyway. The year, I mean. No promises about the journal.