the compulsive newyorker – 080820

I’m keeping a different kind of diary these days than what I’m used to. You do know that I’m a journal-maker – in video, audio & text; and that, when life is through with me, I’ll have 50 YEARS JAN’s…

I’m keeping a different kind of diary these days than what I’m used to. You do know that I’m a journal-maker – in video, audio & text; and that, when life is through with me, I’ll have 50 YEARS JAN’s JOURNALS. I will hopefully be 100 years old at that time. But diary, if semantics is your game, it is mine, is, for me at least, a different kind of animal than journal. Diary is for me more concerned with events in specific time & place while journal is a broader larger view of time & place. But that’s just my personal interpretation. ‘Just’ is a diminishment of what truly is my meisterwerk, my lifework, which is explaining the fifty years in the life & times of Jan, myself.
So the diary which I am now also keeping, besides my very essential exercise diary, is my heart rate monitoring diary – I have three electrodes around my heart attached by lead-wires to a sensor, watch size, that hangs around my neck like a black necklace. I have had it for ten days and will continue for another ten. Not to get into too many granular details, I had a patch the size of a baby’s hand adhered over my heart for a couple of days but the glue was so strong that for me to take it off it pulled so hard at my aging 87 year old skin that I feared stripping my chest-skin off. My chest was bruised. So now I am happy although people in the park, when I’m exercising naked torso because of the 90ºF plus [32ºC] New York heat waves, may be frightened for me or themselves when seeing all those wires on my chest. It’s temporary. Life is also temporary, but this is for just three weeks while life, if I am fortunate, may be five decades. My heart rate diary is events in my daily life that influences strongly my heart and my heart beat or pulse – climbing stairs, biking, singing, inverting, sleeping. These singular events are correlated to the electronic sensor’s recording which transmits via wi-fi to a monitoring office in Chicago and is uploaded to my cardiologist from time to time.
On the question of diary, one of the more significant diaries ever written was Samuel Pepys Diaries in London’s mid 17th Century. For ten years, from his age 25, an upper level British navy-department employee wrote in code ten volumes about politics, wars and fires in that important European city’s life, as well as his own with home and family, mistresses and taverns. He is reputed to be a bawdy singer, played several instruments and fucked his wife’s maid. They separated temporarily.
Then there’s the French Marcel Proust’s seven volume writings A la Recherche du Temps Perdu [In Search of Lost Time] in early years of the 20th Century to his Paris death at age 51 in 1922. His mother was Jewish. He was raised in his father’s Catholic faith. While Somerset Maugham calls this work fiction, I say his writing, externally and internally, is essentially journal-writing. I like to believe that I am now, or posthumously will be, the third most important journal writer, chronicling my life in America in the last half of the 20th Century and first half of the 21st. I have at this writing 16 volumes, 1983-2000, and 8 volumes, 2000-2010, so far. And the last and largest quarter century of my journal works is and will be autobiographic films and audio-books. JAN’s AMERICAN JOURNALS, to be commemorated in Guinness Book of Records.