On Journaling

“If you keep an open mind, your brain will fall out. Open your heart, and risk coronary thrombosis and disillusionment.”

That’s a bit from my new book, The Power of Negative Thinking. I’m going on tour next week and will be giving a little talk about it at UCLA. Here’s what I plan to open with: “Los Angeles is like an expensive proctologist’s office; there are so many bleached assholes here.”

It feels good to get things off our chests. Not just painful underwires, but feelings, too. Bringing the inner life to light, however, is pretty scary. How do we let people in without pushing them away?

We’re all familiar with the initial stages of getting to know someone: bobbin’ our heads like Cain in the land Nod, showcasing our versatile facial expressions, and asking questions which require more than one word answers; think What does it mean to be a generous person? versus Can I have a thousand dollars?

But then, the dangers of ease emerge. You’ve made fondue together, acted like tourists in your own city, and of, course, gone on “The Coupon Date,” where you only eat or do activities that you have coupons for. And after you hand Mrs. Chesty Sweetwhip your voucher at the Golden Dragon, you turn to your partner, smile, and say, “You know, everytime I had a math test in fifth grade, I used to worry I would start lactating. FUNNY, RIGHT?!”

And that will be that. Another bridge burned, another lap dance poorer.

On most mornings, from the moment I wake up from to first cup of coffee, I’ve had roughly thirty unwanted thoughts. My friends-may they rest in peace-used to find them funny, but lately, I’ve been getting new and kind of rude feedback:

“Have you ever thought about journaling?”

“It’s an ancient tradition, dating back to at least 10th century Japan.”

“I think it would be really beneficial to reducing your stress.”

To which I say, “Make like a Robin Goodfellow and go Puck yourself!” Telling someone to write down their intrusive thoughts is not helpful. It is a bullshit, New Age way of saying, “I am really sick of hearing you talk about yourself. Why don’t you get a fucking pad and pen and leave me alone!”

And I guess they have a point. Our friends are not our therapists, though they might as well be considering how expensive they are.

So, I got a diary, OK?! There’s a koi fish on the cover, with a speech bubble that reads, “Water you thinking about?” And I will fill it with biting humor.