Friday evening. A last minute project came up at the company and I was worried I might not make the Journalcon dinner, but everything went together quickly and I was able to get out the door and onto BART. The dinner began at 7:00, so I figured I'd arrive on time.
6:43 - OK, so I'm early, having humped the cameras from the Embarcadero station. Probably should have gotten off at Montgomery, but what's a few blocks? Reservations for 71 and I am the first fucking person to arrive. How rude and uncool and embarrassing. Did I do that in Napa, wine country, home of the three days on the back burner slowly simmering chicken sauce? Oakland's probably the culprit, I live like an, um, bachelor. Maybe everyone is staying together at the hotel and coming as a group, all of them raising hell over in North Beach at the moment, drunk as skunks. Maybe dinner at seven means dinner at eight. Maybe I've gotten all I'm going to get out of this riff.
6:56 - Hmmm. Still the only journaler here. Maybe these people do stuff other than write. A strange thought. I have another cup of tea.
The dinner went well, people arriving in small groups. Chuck and Beth evidently had to cancel at the last minute, but I was able to say hello to Steve and Jill and talk with Lucy as we happened to be seated next to one another.
Saturday afternoon. The hotel sits a short walk from the Montgomery Street BART station, an easy trip from Oakland, and the first panel discussion I attended was "Can't Help Myself: Thematic Journals". I had no idea what to expect, wasn't sure what a "thematic" journal was (the obvious Garden Journal example somehow not registering) and it was good. One journaler kept a restaurant journal, a detailed focused report of her experience as a newbie working in the kitchen of an up scale restaurant. Another maintained a "kink world" journal. "Kink world". Nice phrase, I suspect there's an entire underground (underground on the web?) kink world vocabulary. All were thoughtful and articulate.
The restaurant journal, a journal account of a woman's personal pursuit, made me a little jealous. Passionate pursuits have been hard to find. Yes I keep a journal, yes I post often, yes I take pictures, but I've always understood there was a certain lack of total application, a missing last inch (or foot or yard) of commitment. A year working in a kitchen without pay to learn the craft, a year of doing it for the very doing of it, gets my regard. Doesn't get my own ass off the dime, but it gets my regard.
Jill and Steve were panelists on the second discussion, "Full Disclosure: How Much is Too Much?" and I found myself feeling uncomfortable. They outlined the pros and cons from their own experience and, for whatever reason, thinking about this journal, I began to wonder if I knew what I was doing. (Maybe I should just come home and pull the whole thing down.) Steve made an off the cuff comment afterward (we were talking about whatever) that chemistry probably determined our moods and life's passages more than we understood and this comment, in combination with the Full Disclosure discussion, sent me off into some kind of weird uncomfortable chemical-like late Sunday night wide awake staring at the ceiling mood except it was the middle of a San Francisco afternoon. Weird. Unusual. I decided to head home and return for the readings before dinner.