Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Journals, Jung and Jam . . .

Good Morning Good People!

Here's a lovely little example of what old CJ termed synchronicity that I noticed when I was reading in bed after posting last nights blog; my current read is "Therapy" by David Lodge, which is the tale of a middle aged scriptwriter and his quest for a life filled with more than success and a painful knee, which is written in the form of a journal.  I noticed I was reading his entry for September 21  which concerns itself with the act of writing and the difference between writing a screenplay and a novel:

"September 21: When you write something in a book, it all belongs to the past, even if you write 'I am writing, I am writing' over and over again, the  act of writing is finished with, out of sight, by the time somebody reads the result.
A Journal is halfway between the two.  It's like talking silently to yourself.  It's a mixture of monologue and autobiography.  You can write a lot of stuff in the present tense, like 'The plane trees outside my window are in leaf . . .' But really that's just a fancier way of saying, 'I am writing, I am writing . . .'   It's not getting you anywhere, it's not telling a story.  As soon as you start to tell a story in writing, whether it's a fictional story or the story of your life, it's natural to use the past tense, because you are describing things that have already happened.
The special thing about a journal is that the writer doesn't know where his story is going, he doesn't know how it ends; so it seems to exist in a kind of continuous present, even though the individual incidents may be described in the past tense. Novels are all written after the fact, or they pretend to be.  The novelist may not have known how his story would end when he began it, but it always looks as if he did to the reader."
David Lodge "Therapy" (1995)

If you substitute "Blog" for "Journal" it is scarily descriptive of the process I go through each day with these humble offerings; I sit down at a blank screen and just begin without any real idea of the direction it will take or the subjects I will cover in this slice of the 'continuous present' or, indeed , the connections that exist.

If you look up "synchronicity" you will find that the idea was postulated by Jung in the 1920's and published in the the 1950's and one of Carl Gustav's favourite quotes to demonstrate his concept is taken from "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll:

"It's very good jam,' said the Queen.
'Well, I don't want any TO-DAY, at any rate.'
'You couldn't have it if you DID want it,' the Queen said. 'The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday--but never jam to-day.'
'It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day,"' Alice objected.
'No, it can't,' said the Queen. 'It's jam every OTHER day: to-day isn't any OTHER day, you know.'
'I don't understand you,' said Alice. 'It's dreadfully confusing!'
'That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said kindly: 'it always makes one a little giddy at first--'
'Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. 'I never heard of such a thing!'
'--but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory works both ways.'
'I'm sure MINE only works one way,' Alice remarked. 'I can't remember things before they happen.'
'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the Queen remarked."
 (Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass 1871)

(Those of you unfortunate enough to know me well will see at one the synchronatic significance; I am a dedicated Carrollian and have been since the age of 5, and I have also spent quite some time in the past couple of years reading, and thanks to Alf T, appreciating Jung.)

So, on the 21st September I read an account of a journal written on the 21st September regarding writing a journal just after I had written my journal . . . 

Anyhow, maybe that's enough academic thought for so early in the morning - it is a little after 6 am as I write - although I suppose you could consider it a benefit to get thinking over and done with  as early as possible in order to enjoy the day . . . no? well, just a thought!

'til next time


Be Seeing You !


1 comment:

  1. Hello Ian :o)

    I recently read David Lodge's novel, 'Thinks', (http://www.octagonbolton.co.uk/page/145/Secret+Thoughts+/96) - it's jam-packed with things to think about, too :o)

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