Mario Villalobos

Doug Funnie

One of my favorite cartoons growing up was Doug. It was one of those shows I would always watch when it was on, and as I’m reflecting on my childhood, one of those shows that shaped who I am today. I loved all the characters, from Doug himself and Quail Man, to Porkchop, Skeeter, Patti, Roger, and even the Beets. But the one thing about that show that I loved the most and that’s obviously influenced me the most is that he kept a journal. The idea of a journal is one of those things that always appealed to me. From junior high and high school, and all the way through college, I tried and failed to keep a journal. I still have many of those false starts, and I sometimes like looking back at them because I tried so hard to make something of it, to explain my thoughts and emotions at that time, but I was not able to be consistent about it. Then April 2009 came.

I was living with my mom then, unemployed, supremely overweight, aimless, depressed, and lost. I read Getting Things Done, and that helped me start getting my life organized. But it wasn’t enough. I needed something more. I’m a writer. That’s what I am, and that’s the one thing I know I can say about myself with confidence. But I wasn’t writing. I graduated college almost a year before, and that was the last time I had written anything. Then I read Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. It’s one of those books that changed my life completely. The book is about developing writing habits. There’s more than that, obviously, but developing writing habits is what I remember the most and what stuck with me after I read it. She said something about declaring to yourself that you’re going to write at this time every day. There was also a part in there where she said to write right after you wake up because you’re too tired for your brain to tell you to stop. So, every morning at around seven, I would wake up, sit by my computer, and start writing. My goal back then was 1,000 words an entry. It jumped to 2,000 words a day when I wrote every morning and every evening. That didn’t last long. But what I wrote were journal entries. They were all my thoughts, all my emotions, all my dreams and fears, written down in a text file for me to keep forever. I’ve been keeping a near daily journal since then. Over 5 years later.

Doug Funnie would incorporate his imagination into his journal entries, which was one of those things I loved the most about the show. We all daydream (at least I hope so). I do, at least. But I never write those thoughts down in my journal. I wonder if I should. I’m a creative writer, so a lot of those thoughts are incorporated into my fiction. That feels separate from me, somehow. I’ve never considered writing a journal entry with some of the daydreams I had that day. I wonder if that’s even practical to do. I don’t remember all the little thoughts I have like that, and there are some I don’t want to share with anyone. But I miss being a kid sometimes. I’m always so serious. Always feel this need to try and think deeply about things.

I rarely act spontaneously. Maybe I should. Sometimes. Every day at 3:36 PM, maybe.