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Journals, Volume X

I’ve been keeping a journal long before I started this blog. I started in 1977 when I was a mere whelp, and I’ve been writing on and off ever since.

Unfortunately all my journals got soaked when the floodwalls failed and New Orleans was flooded. Like an idiot, I’d left them in a box on the floor in the lower level of our house. It is one of my biggest regrets.

I thought they were gone forever, but through the miracle of technology I am bringing them back. Today I am proud to announce the publication of Journals, Volume X. This is the tenth volume of my journals, written during the summer of 1989 as I hitch-hiked around the United States.

You can get your own copy from Lulu now. Although the download is free, I recommend popping for the $15.98 printed copy if you want a unique art-book. The reason it’s so expensive is that it is full color on all 75 pages. The PDF just doesn’t compare with the experience of holding the book in your hands. It’s like holding a sodden mess plucked from the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina. Only it doesn’t stink, and you don’t have to wash your hands after touching it. Plus I get a one cent commission for each copy purchased. I don’t want to make any money folks, I just love to sell books.

Allow me to explain a little more. When I unearthed my sodden journals from the wreckage of our home, I couldn’t bear to throw them away. When they dried out, many of them proved legible. I took Volume V back to Indiana, where we had evacuated, and photographed each page with a digital camera. I put those pictures on Flickr and also made a book with Lulu, but the quality of the images was not quite high enough to satisfy me.

Later on I figured out how to get much higher quality by scanning each page. I won’t bore you with the details of image processing and then creating the PDF. Suffice it to say that I got frustrated and put it aside for a couple years. But all this time the files were still waiting patiently on my hard drive for me to finish the job.

My main goal was just to preserve my journal for my own satisfaction, and for my family. But I do think the end product is weirdly compelling in its own right, even to people who don’t know me — maybe especially so.

Every page is actually legible, some more so than others, depending on the pen I was using at the time.


I showed this book to a student here at the University today. He found the entry written on the day he was born. That made me feel old.

Will I ever get the time to give my other journal volumes the same treatment? I don’t know. I hope so. I see that Lulu now offers a scanning service that could save me labor, but it is more expensive. It bears investigation.

A tip of the hat to Jon Konrath for turning me on to Lulu with his book Summer Rain.

Published inGeekyKatrina


  1. Glad to put this bug in your head! And I am happy you did this – I like to read these sorts of things, but not on the computer. I have been thinking of doing something similar, but I have been scared that a scanned image per page would result in a 200-gig download per notebook. Also, my handwriting is unreadable.

    I still think if you ever wanted to do a poor man’s OCR on these, you could volunteer us faithful readers to transcribe a page or two each, and you’d be done in no time.

  2. pathwise pathwise

    Wow, the reference to Don’s Guns brought me back to watching WTTV, Channel 4, as a young’n. Man, that guy was always creepy. I’ll buy you a beer if you can guess (without using the internet), which business is located at “exit 149A, Richmond, Indiana” I’ll trust you to rely on memory and not technology!

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