October 22, 1837: “‘What are you doing now?’ he asked. ‘Do you keep a journal?’ So I make my first entry to-day.” This is the first line that appears in Henry David Thoreau’s journal, his immediate response to Emerson’s question about his writing practice. From there, he filled journal after journal over a period of 24 years with his detailed observations of nature. And so today, I, like Thoreau, make my first entry as well. I’ve been keeping a notebook for years, in a very similar style as Thoreau’s, but this is my first public foray. We’ll see how it goes! My intents: to keep my own writing practice active, to share previously written pieces, to praise the Creator for, as e.e. cummings put it, “most this amazing/day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees/and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything/which is natural which is infinite which is yes.” You’ll see the influences of everything I love: authors who inspire me, nature which sustains me, God who authors my life.
The picture is of my own Thoreauean writing cabin, located on our 17 acres in Indiana. In it I write, I peer at nature, I escape to myself. On the day it was finished, as I stood inside that back-flung door with dusk creeping in around me, I felt a current of excitement racing through my nerves, jump starting my heart in a rhythm running fast and clear. This would be a space for me, a space for my writing. Words would wait for me here. When I open the door, words will rush to meet me. They will fall like late leaves upon the pages of my open notebook, or I will pluck them from the air in which they swirl and press them between the white pages, collecting language like beautiful specimens of thought. And, if you want to read over my shoulder, you’re in the right place.