Before I Forget

Alicia Guo

A journal asks a question every time you write in it: what has captured your attention enough today to be written down? What is worth remembering? Journaling is an engagement, a conversation with oneself. It's about noting what we're occupied with, acknowledging what draws us in and what pulls us away. In its pages, a journal becomes a flexible, personal mirror. For a year I journaled every minute detail of my days—every interaction, conversation, and activity. The food I ate, the friends I saw, and the thoughts I had. How great would it be to have a repository of my existence in a way that I could search for fleeting memories? We journal not to forget, but forget that the act of writing also gives us permission to forget in a world where our brains are constantly overloaded. When everything we encounter desperately tries to grab us, journaling is a way of letting go. In trying to document every minute detail of my life and focusing on everything at once, I reduced my days to a template, losing track of the story. But to zoom in on one detail, one sentence, is to find a beautiful poem. In the endless choices and stimuli fading into alternative paths and conversations, what do you write about? What is the endless poetic soup of you?