Men Who Journal: A Lifetime Series Special

It’s hard for men to share their feelings. Not for these three.

Irving Ruan
Apr 6, 2017 · 3 min read
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The following is a narration transcript of the opening scene in Men Who Journal, a one-hour documentary special that aired on the Lifetime channel. It followed three American men from all walks of life, chronicling their upbringing to understand their deep love of journaling. Footage contains tears and frequent themes of catharsis. Viewer discretion is advised.

Fred, 27-year old tax accountant from Boise, Idaho

Raised in the outskirts of Boise, Idaho, Fred Connolly has always been a small town boy. Growing up, he loved to help his dad tend to their family potato farm. But most importantly, he loved to journal.

“I just knew it in my heart,” when asked where he first knew.

“My grandmother gave me a handed-down Moleskin notebook before she passed away,” he said. “It still smelled like her.”

Fred, a devout Episcopalian, first started journaling during his time at church, often committing the age-old sin of sneaking away during sermons to jot down a few thoughts. Shortly after his relapse, he would journal everyday.

“It helped me understand myself better,” Fred continued. “Journaling became my Oprah.”

A tax accountant by day, and journaling addict by night, Fred’s heartfelt sensitivity knows no bounds, unless he runs out of paper in his notebook.

Caleb, 35-year old hedge fund manager from Queens, New York

Caleb Manchester didn’t get in with the right crowds while living in Queens, New York, with his single mother and seven siblings. Drugs, violence, and Dungeons & Dragons were frequent themes of his teenage years. Though a young chess and math prodigy, Caleb always knew something was missing in his life.

“I blazed through my classes just fine, but deep down, I felt a void,” he lamented as tears streamed down his face. “Dungeons & Dragons tapped into my imagination, but my emotional needs weren’t met.”

When Caleb realized in the fourth grade that he had a photographic memory, he no longer needed to take notes in his nonlinear algebra class at Cornell and instead journaled about his feelings.

“It felt right,” he said. “My emotions finally found a home.”

Attributing his daily journaling routine as the biggest influence of his success, Caleb is now a wealthy manager of a hedge fund worth trillions in assets.

He’s still participating in Dungeons & Dragons tournaments.

Irving, 26-year old computer scientist from Mianyang, China

A Chinese immigrant from a Chinese immigrant family, Irving Ruan was destined for a life of science, technology, engineering, and modeling (STEM).

“I knew I was destined for math,” he said. He broke down in tears shortly after when he confessed that his tiger mom had forced him to say that.

After enduring a life shackled by numbers, logic, and yearly performance reviews conducted by his parents, Irving couldn’t take it anymore. In a wake of drunken rage, he rummaged through a dumpster behind a Kohl’s in Burlingame late one evening and found a stack of unused Moleskins.

“I went to town,” he said as tears streamed down his face.

Upon discovering that life existed beyond the world of numbers and summer SAT prep courses, he journaled his feelings from the depths of his emotionally and sexually repressed childhood.

“It was pure catharsis,” he said as he put down the book, SAT Words to Use Everyday to Sound Smart.

Even though he’s a late-bloomer in the world of journaling, Irving has excelled at the new art and even qualified for the 2017 World Journaling Championship. He still deals with parental validation issues, but he’s no longer emotionally repressed.

The sexual component is to be decided.

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Irving Ruan

Written by

SF-based comedy writer. Words in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Funny Or Die, CollegeHumor, and elsewhere.



Medium humor. Large laughs.

Irving Ruan

Written by

SF-based comedy writer. Words in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Funny Or Die, CollegeHumor, and elsewhere.



Medium humor. Large laughs.

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