Day 375

In Fiction on January 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Forest, view from above

Day 375

I dropped my journal into the river this morning.

It was swept down the falls as I washed myself, and when I searched the pools it was not among the rocks. I took it badly—I will not pretend otherwise. Yes, I wept.

The journal was my only record, the only thing approaching proof. I awoke in this forest. I have been here—alone—for 374 days. I have seen no one else; I speak only to myself.

Where I go I leave no mark. Though I retrace my steps and visit the same spots, I’ve never found so much as a single footprint. Though I cut wood for my fires and build cairns to guide me, my campsites are lost to me each morning—no ash, no embers, no sign.

But that journal was my record. Other than these thoughts, and this page, that journal was all I had to prove to myself that I exist. Now I start again and I wonder: was I truly alive yesterday? Was I here? Was I anywhere? I have memories of these things, as I have a memory of the journal, but a memory can be false. Perhaps the journal never existed at all.

No. I cannot accept that. For 374 days my sole intention has been escape and (should such a thing prove possible) an explanation. Now I add a third task: the recovery of that record. Before I leave this place—even if I never leave this place—I will find that record.

It is day 375.


I thought the new year was the perfect chance for a little metaphysical musing. This is my response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge: Intention.

Leave your comments, criticism and whatnot below!

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  1. The journal was a route to freedom through expression, and now even that has been denied. Clever!

  2. I completely love this…

  3. Intriguing idea. I liked this.

  4. Very good! I think the Trifectan’ overlords have bitten off more than they can chew with judging these this week. Everyone has such creative take on the prompt. This is very well done.

    • Thanks! Not only are all the stories high-quality this week, but the list of responses keeps on growing. Soon they’ll need extra editors just to keep up!

  5. This is so so so good! Gah, so many awesome entries so far this week >__< I can't compete lol

    • Hey Draug – sorry your comment got filtered (my filter’s been a little overactive on this post for some reason!) – but thanks so much! I’ve neglected my reading duties this week (in favor of, you know, work — boo) but I’m going to make the rounds over the weekend.

  6. “Where I go I leave no mark. Though I retrace my steps and visit the same spots, I’ve never found so much as a single footprint. Though I cut wood for my fires and build cairns to guide me, my campsites are lost to me each morning—no ash, no embers, no sign.”

    This makes me wonder if he’s really there. Perhaps he is dreaming or in a coma. Gives one a lot to think about. Good job!

    • Thanks, and to be honest I haven’t landed on an answer myself. I think that’s because there’s a degree to which I think his argument is right — I was a philosopher in a former life I guess (I just can’t remember)

  7. Your ideas are fresh and engaging. I love the doubt of his existence without written proof. It’s that whole If a tree falls in forest… kind of thing. Another great piece. I am neve disappointed.

  8. Fantastic response – What a lot of questions you raise here!

  9. mourning over the potential loss of self-ness through journaled memories – perhaps we should all take the cue. 🙂

  10. Wow!so beautifully etched!”Other than these thoughts, and this page, that journal was all I had to prove to myself that I exist. Now I start again and I wonder: was I truly alive yesterday? Was I here? Was I anywhere? I have memories of these things, as I have a memory of the journal, but a memory can be false. Perhaps the journal never existed at all.”A wonderful piece-reminded me of “The life of Pi”:-)

  11. I loved reading every word here. I also love the concept, if there is no record of it, did it happen? Does it exist? Do I? Well done!

  12. An unreliable narrator – the best sort – what’s real and what’s not? And he wants an explanation – of what I wonder – the meaning of life or something more immediate. I love that you have created a story that prompts so many questions.

  13. This story is interesting because we don’t know his situation. Is he dreaming? Is he really lost in the forest? Is he mentally ill? We don’t know, but would like to find out 🙂

  14. The journal was in some ways keeping him alive or atleast keeping him sane. With that security blanket also gone, it’d be tough but then maybe the journal never even existed. Great story.

  15. Oh this is great. A wonderful beginning to a novel!

  16. what a scary idea – being unable to prove your own existence, with only the continued writing in a journal to prove to yourself that you were around yesterday and the day before and the day before to write.

  17. I’m a sucker for journals! Really nice piece.
    Congratulations on your mention!!

  18. That was great!! I would be devastated if I dropped ANY journal into the river, but this one seems extra special. It’s awesome sharing the winners circle with you!

  19. It is when I read writers like you that I fully recognise how much ground I have to cover to reach a decent place. Good piece that drew me in from start to finish.

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