Who Says Men Can't Give Birth?


My first journal entry, more than a year in coming!

It seems appropriate to use this first entry to talk about how I got into this in the first place, and what I want to get out of it.

A bit over a year ago, I was invited by a friend who had married a British woman to a Boxing Day party. A few days before Christmas, I started to wonder about the traditions, if any, associated with this holiday. Should I show up with wine for the hostess? In costume? Dressed for the outdoors? (I was pretty sure that swim trunks and big gloves would not be needed...).

So I turned to the Internet, where as usual I got four or five different theories on how the name evolved, etc., but almost nothing useful. But one of the things that turned up was an entry by viv, titled 'Boxing Day'. I read this with some interest, and then noticed a link. I pushed the link, and found myself reading about Dec 27th. Before I knew it, I had read about four months of her life, but still knew little concrete about her or why she was writing. By concentrating on the web addresses in the browser and making a few lucky guesses, I found her jornal home page, and found out a few sketchy biographical details.

But the question kept nagging at me: "Whatever are you doing? Why are you doing it? Are you real or fictional?".

So I emailed viv, and got a nice reply. Oh. Web journaling. I used to read the late and lamented Herb Caen in the S. F. Chronicle--I guess this is kind of the same thing, but on the web.

I asked my kids, ever so much more hip than I. Turns out they knew all about web journaling--one of my daughter's college friends was an avid journaler. My kids weren't too turned on by the idea--they are still too busy inventing their own lives to have much energy around trying to figure out what they or other people are doing.

So, now I understood. Web journaling. That's nice.

I put the matter out of my head. For a day or two. By this point I'd found and bookmarked Viv's 'today' link. And she was updating pretty regularly. So when I had a few moments, I'd check out her life. And soon discovered some other journals as well. From time to time, I'd email. And usually got wonderful replies. Then something I said in an email got quoted, and I got a thrill.

Some really big clotty issues surfaced and had to be dealt with. Anonymity. I hated it, but hated the alternative even more. Truth. I had become so good in my marriages at hyper-attending to what my wife wanted, and having no idea what I wanted. In a journal, I could speak my own truth.

Well, not exactly. Speaking the truth without the fear of discovery is an illusion. First of all, the Internet isn't hard to pierce for someone who is determined. And secondly, for me now, speaking the truth when it's hard has a lot more appeal than taking the easy way out. So I'll be honest here, but pick my topics carefully. I like viv's ground rules--if you want sweaty discussions of body-part interactions, wrong place. Relationship issues are fair game, within reason. And while I'll mostly write as if my mother was reading this, I had a pretty interesting mother with a lively mind. So I hope you'll not be bored.

What do I get out of this? Practice writing. Giving something back, I hope, to the community that has given me many fine moments in the last year. Getting to know myself better. I intend to explore dreams, exhume some stuff from my childhood, talk about topics from Jung to Hawaiian Huna as they happen into my head. And I hope, every now and again, to evoke that spark of interest, the remembered story, the excited email, the aha experience, the compassionate reaching out that I've felt from other journals. If so, I will be truly blessed.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.