The Scandalous Red Journal

Red Journal by Kim MarchesseaultOnce I saw it, I had to touch it. The soft, embossed red cover spooned the gently curving pages as I lifted it from its shelf at Barnes & Noble. I felt its wonderfulness as I flipped through its fine, lined sheets. I believed this journal could make me a good writer -Owning it would make great words tumble out of me into it.

I showed it to my husband who was browsing nearby and indicated I wanted it for Valentine’s day in anything but a subtle way. I was excited when Valentine’s day arrived, anticipating my new life as a fabulous writer.

There was no journal.

The emptiness became bigger for a few days until I couldn’t take it any longer. I drove to Barnes & Noble, walked over to the shelf and picked up the journal I desperately wanted. It was $24.95. More than I would usually spend on myself for a non-necessity and certainly pricey for a book that hasn’t even been written. Like when you go to The Melting Pot -a fondue dining experience. You pay huge bucks for a meal that you have to cook yourself.

The red ribbon page marker called to me. I opened the journal. Inside the front cover it said, “This journal belongs to _____________________” and my name belonged there.

I bought it. It was mine at last. But there was something wrong with it. I felt guilty about going back to the store and spending that money on myself without saying anything to my husband. We are comfortable financially so being able to afford it wasn’t the issue. Not being forthcoming about buying it, resenting my husband for not giving the journal to me after I made it so clear I wanted it, these were the issues. Did I not deserve this journal? This scandalously red journal…

I took the empty book home. It was tainted. I wrote something brief in it and then hid it under my bed. I thought about my magnificent journal often, but never pulled it out from under my bed…until yesterday. It was pressed into a curled position from sitting for so long against an old chess board under there. I flipped open the cover. “This journal belongs to __________________”

What had I written in it? I couldn’t remember. I turned the page. “I am no one. I know nothing. I was never here.”

Yesterday I placed a weighted box on my wonderful journal to flatten it out and today…

My beautiful journal, I forgive myself for needing you. You are out in the open now. I am different from the day I brought you home.

This journal belongs to Kim.

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6 Responses

  1. To me, there’s nothing more tempting than a book of blank pages waiting to be filled! (btw, I’m back… at least for now)

  2. Ah yes, the ancient art of writing in a journal. Back in the days before the internet people used to actually write. I still have my “text” journals with me but haven’t transcribed a written word for five years now. Funny how things change so quickly these days.

  3. Those dang Swedes and their plans for world domination via melted cheese recipies!

  4. I never thought of that! But here it is, melted cheese recipe was in invisible ink the entire time, page 89 of this “blank” journal. I wonder what else is in there.

  5. I loved your post! I actually have a red leather journal which I write in nearly every day and which, after a year, I’ve nearly filled. So, the other day I was in a local stationary store buying a box of notecards, and there I saw…..another red journal. This one is smaller and slimmer than my current one, which is nice because it will fit in my purse and I’ll be able to travel with it easily.

    All of which is to say, I’ve been keeping journals for years…decades! And I was really touched when I read your post.

    I’m so glad that you’ve decided to bring the journal out and begin using it. Journals become something of a best friend with whom we can share out good days and bad, and all the stuff in between.

    -Suzanne.

  6. Suzanne,
    I aspire to fill my red journal so I will someday need a replacement, like you. It’s a freedom I never felt I had before.

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