1) Go to http://ljbook.com and make a PDF of your journal. I found it works best when you do one year at a time.
2) Go to http://lulu.com and make the pdf into a book. It'll be bound like a paperback you find in a bookstore, with a shiny color cover and whatever you want on the front, spine, and back.
I combined the tail end of 2001 in with my 2002 book. I also ordered 2003. That's all I ordered, I wanted to see how they turned out before I went for the rest of the decade. I spent less than $30 for both books plus shipping.
The books showed up today and they look just gorgeous! I was so excited. Marc was out this evening so I had the apartment to myself. I made some mac and cheese and a nice salad and started reading. This was my test I'd figured out: if I could dive in and read for hours, they were worth owning. Readable font, good paper, all that. And it was a success. I really enjoyed it.
But then I felt started feeling weird. First, I felt incredibly self-absorbed, sitting there reading my own journal. Then I just felt terribly disconnected from everything around me. You know how, when you read a book with strong characters you understand, you start thinking like them? Or feeling like them? You're in that world? Well that's what happened... I suddenly didn't feel like I was in 2010. I felt like I was in 2002. I was back in my dark first apartment, where the light above the stairs flipped on and off every ten minutes. I was back to being all alone, wondering who to date next and unsure of how to handle an ex-boyfriend. I had parakeets again, and those wobbly glass tables, and the Martha Stewart bedding, and neighbors I didn't know, and coworkers I was working so hard to relate to.
When the character in the book is you, it doesn't take amazing language to get absorbed back into the world. The feel and smell of the life comes back. And even though I enjoyed those years, I didn't like re-invading it so intensely.
I'm going to order the other books, but not to read them... I know that sounds insane. They're just too intimate. I've read old lj entries before, sure, but when you flip through it for an hour it's totally different. I know the girl too well, I know her mistakes, I know she's not really supposed to be a book character because she's a real person. But maybe someday when I really forget, I'll appreciate having this stuff recorded. Or maybe someone else will.
On top of the books, I've had a weird relationship with myself the past several days because I'm so focused on my body. Every night around the same time, there's a feeling in my abdomen like a dozen tiny spaceships are hovering inside me, and I think it might be the baby but it keeps making me stop and focus and try to decide what's going on. When I do that, I'm very aware of myself. I feel my blood rushing through everyplace, my breathing, my stomach and muscles. Compared to this fetus I am a fortress of humanity, strong and independent like a machine. I eclipse it. And on top of this body I read my journal and realize I have this whole life, and personality, and connections to people. Here's this baby starting from nothing!
I will say that at the doctor today the heartbeat was more obvious. At my two month appointment we couldn't find a heartbeat at all. At three months we had to look for it, but there it was. Now at four months there was no looking, as soon as the doppler was on me there was the little rushing fetus heart at 145 bpm. It is growing.
Anyway I'm going to relax and listen to some modern music. Hold a guinea pig, do some yoga, try to get out of the weird head shape I'm in.