The Isle of Man
Mingling in a group of people who had attended a seminar together, I laughed when one of the women said she was from The Isle of Man, though it sounded more like The Isle of Men and only the most merciful of gods kept me from blurting out, “Oh, right, and I’m from the Isle of Wo-men!” She went on to say she came here 38 years earlier for a vacation and never left.
Back at home that evening I looked up The Isle of Man on the Internet to find it is a real place. The website I found said this small island located in the Irish Sea has one mountain from which one can view Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland on a clear day. Further hunting showed me post cards I could have e-mailed from the website, which I promptly did send off to a few friends. I was getting excited about this place I had never previously heard of and still on the same website found some journal writings done there in around 1863 which I could hardly tear myself away from.
A few years later I was taking a class in memoir writing through the Greater Cleveland League of Poets and Writers (since disbanded) where I met a woman who strongly recommended that I read Alexandra Johnson’s Leaving A Trace. She felt the book might be helpful to me because at that time and until the end of 2012 – 19 years in all, I had been journaling and pulling anecdotes from that writing to compile four page letters every six to eight weeks which I would mail to 20-30 friends and relatives to keep them apprised of what was going on in our lives plus my opinions of various events. One friend called them my writing practice. This would spare us lengthy phone calls which no one had time for anyway and was my way of keeping in touch with many people.
After a couple of times suggesting I read that book I finally got a rather badly abused copy from a library and read it once to get the gist of it and a second time to let it sink in. One of Ms. Johnson’s points was that you may never know who may one day read your journals, and find them meaningful. This thought brought me back to the writings from the Isle of Man that I found so intriguing.