Dear Makeshift Journal

Ever since I was 5 or 6 years old, I’ve written in a journal. It’s offered me a sense of perspective and has been consistent when everything feels like it’s out of control. I know that I’m a person before I’m a creator, but sometimes it feels like it’s the other way around. And I think it’s time that I share all of this in this period of overwhelming uncertainty.

Dear Makeshift Journal is something I began this year when I ran out of pages in my high school notebook and I began writing on sheets of scrap paper from the library or in the notes app on my phone before I fell asleep at night. Soon, I realized that it comforted me to write to an entity, even if it is a future me.

What I want from you is your thoughts, your unedited, unvarnished thoughts, about everything you’re going through. And I know this is hard. We’re coming from a place of academic writing and needing to sound smart and pretending to be educated on stuff for 12 page papers and to shift to the mindset of being honest and real can be difficult.

It took me probably two years to be unafraid of my voice. And I’m still nervous. Every day when I write my journal entries there are some things I refrain from saying, there are some things I polish to sound better. But that’s not what this is about.

Allen Ginsberg said “To gain your own voice, forget about having it heard.” It’s the same as to dance as if no one’s watching. Ignoring the editor in your brain will give you the space you need to create honest work.

What I need from you is your work. Your Makeshift Journal entries about how insane this world we’re living in is. I’ll start us off so you can hear what the voice inside my head sounds like.

I’ll do what I usually do and write based off of emotion. What that means is I’ll write if I feel like I’ve got to get something down, it’s what’ll make me feel better.

If it feels like it’ll help you to write, and to put stuff here, send me everything. If you feel like you want to write and not share, I’m just glad you’re writing. This is a no-judgment space. My own personal entries are about everything from smart-sounding things like how I worry about emotional unavailability to as seemingly trivial as wanting to be kissed.

Write what is in your head. Write what you’re actually thinking. Write like you’re quarantined and have nowhere to go.

And when you’re done, email me what you’re writing at rrosenthal@stetson.edu. You can tell me what you do and don’t want me to post. And we’ll work together to define terms that are best for you.

Dear Makeshift Journal Entries

From Paul Guest’s “Post Factual Love Poem” by Jacob Mauser

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