I am constipated. And the word “favorite” is utter crap. On the first day of class, we get a questionnaire from the teacher that reads "What's your favorite color?” And "What's your favorite number?" "Favorite movie?" "What’s your favorite book?"
I get uncomfortable as people around me say, "yellow," "green," "Titanic," "100," "Inception," "17," "red," because I'm still deliberating and have nothing to say, but it's almost my turn to get up in front of the class and introduce myself.
I realize what is really frustrating me: neither Ms. Bern, nor even I, would discover anything interesting about or noteworthy of me as a person from my favorite thises or thats. I suppose “favorite books” would offer more insight into my character, but it runs into a similar problem:
See, I love Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals... and Curious George. Two totally different books for two totally different reasons, so I’m sitting at my desk, still mentally constipated over what “favorite” even means. And as unnecessarily anal all this deliberation sounds, I take it quite seriously. I devise for "favorite book" a rubric of four qualities, qualities that would holistically constitute such preference:
1. it teaches me
2. I am well-versed in its contents
3. it embodies me as a person
4. I will cherish it forever
This book is my journal. My habit of self-documenting began for two reasons:
1. Reading almost exclusively non-fiction for pleasure meant I grew more interested in learning, but it also meant I lacked originality. For example, I studied Bentham, which led me to read Kant, which led me to read Nietzsche, which brought me to Darwin, then Freud, et cetera, et cetera.
And that’s all cool except I eventually started flipping through my thoughts to find only a small cluster of them that I could truly call my own. This made day-to-day adolescence troublingly bland. What are my ideas?
2. I was hit by a car, which, by the way, was arguably the most interesting thing ever to happen to me in the dull, northeast, American-Dream-esque suburbanism that is Millburn.
Since retrograde amnesia totally bonked my memory, I needed to get a journal and record everything. Who are my friends? For how long have I known them? Why am I in a fight with... What’s-Her-Face? This proved to be a very frustrating task, and eventually, I just gave up.
I kept the journal though, bringing it wherever I went. For the past year, instead of recording memories, I have been using it to document any noteworthy contemplations. After an evening stroll, a disciplined session of journaling would churn an excited slew of verbosity; I would learn to articulate muddled thoughts in ways others would understand. I would talk freely about my opinions, however controversial and unwelcome they would be at school. My journal, in these ways, is the embodiment of me. I can say, "this one reflects me." For these reasons, it is quite fitting that my favorite book is my journal.