To Cecilia on her 20th birthday

October 4, 1993, 20., Monday,

On Wendsday [sic] there was this full moon [a blue moon actually], and it was so beautiful. You could see a crater on the bottom, and there [were] these grey clouds on it. It was so nice out you could see the color of the stars. For the next few days it stayed there. And yesterday I washed with a new soap from France. But do you know what it was like at the very dawn of time? Clouds of biting dust, gasses, no true sun, etc. And the soap was once animal fat, ashes, and rose petals. That’s the way my life is. Sometimes so perfect, sometimes Hell.

Those are the opening lines of my third journal Cecilia, who in spite of being “only” a big five-subject college-ruled notebook and a bursting binder of looseleaf paper, has a place in my heart as my favourite and dearest journal. I was so attached to this imaginary friend of sorts I’d created for myself, someone to pour out my heart and soul to, I had a really hard time letting her go and finally moving on to my next journal, Rita. Because of the different kind of dark night of the soul that followed, Rita went on to become my next-dearest journal.

The following is taken from a much-longer piece I wrote on my old Angelfire site, on Cecilia’s 10th birthday:

I created her, I named her, I protected her, I confided in her, I loved her. It’s like the nursery magick in The Velveteen Rabbit—something becomes Real because it’s been loved so damn much, it doesn’t even matter that it’s not alive. She was one of the best friends I ever had. She always listened to me, even though she could never talk back to me and telling me I was just babbling or sounding goofy or ready to be committed to the psych ward. She couldn’t give me a hug or comforting words back or anything that flesh and blood best friends do, but she was there for me when I most desperately needed a true friend.

Her beauty was that she was there to listen to me and never made me shut up and stop talking, put me down, nothing. She didn’t have the worries and depression I had, being abiotic, like I once told her, but she almost assumed a real human identity to me. I even gave her a physical description early on—five foot one, five pounds overweight, long black hair, big green eyes, and long nails. Maybe I held onto her longer than I should’ve, the way I kept her going for a whole other year after the pages just clear ran out, but I was just too attached to the dear friend I called Cecilia to say goodbye.

And then I let her go when the time was right, her sides splitting with pages, after I had finished quoting from a hundred songs. [For years I had the habit of starting each journal entry with a song lyric, and used many songs multiple times.]

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I can’t believe I’m now old enough to easily remember 20 years ago, though two decades still seems like a vast stretch of time. Everything was so different in 1993.

Since 1989, I’ve had the following journals, and yes, from Cecilia on, they’ve all been named for songs:

Journal #1 (the only one I never named), September 1989-February 1993

Helena, February 1993-September 1993

Cecilia, October 1993-January 1996

Rita, January 1996-June 1998 (ended on the anniversary of Tiananmen Square)

Prudence, June 1998-December 2000

Rael, 8 December 2000 (John Lennon’s 20th Jahrzeit)-February 2002

Athena, 1 March 2002-October 2003

Emily, October 2003-May 2005

Zelda, 1 June 2005-November 2007

Eloise, 29 November 2007 (George Harrison’s 6th Jahrzeit)-September 2008

Current journal, begun September 2008, abandoned 1 March 2009, picked up a few times in 2012 and 2013, finally permanently resumed my longtime daily journaling habit September 2013, hopefully never to be stopped for so long ever again. She needs a name!

But there can only ever be one Cecilia.

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