This year, I vow on the first day of January, I will keep a journal.
No, not some pretty pastel-coloured notebook, its pages filled with drawings and calligraphy and glitter—nice as that is, it’s not really my thing—but a digital one. I install an app on my phone and resolve to update it at least once a week. Most of the time, I manage to keep up with it. I log my thoughts and feelings, inspirational quotes, make lists of movies and TV show I’ve seen, upload pictures and videos, and more importantly—inspired by the guy with orange skin almost starting a World War Three on Twitter on the second day of the year—the world events. Though most of that is not in any way uplifting. Fires, floods, human rights abuses, narcissistic leaders, events strangers than the fictional plots I watch on the screen. Rich old men sending army of trolls after a teenage climate activist. From the Far East, news of a novel virus emerge. A once great nation commits an ultimate act of foolishness, based on campaign of lies and manipulation. The world shakes its head and I keep typing and tapping on my phone, snapping, screenshotting and saving pieces of news from the media, all media, real or fake; I’m creating an archive. Sometimes I save bits of conversations from WhatsApp, or texts, I talk to people. Some are concerned, some aren’t. Some can only respond with emojis, others with reaction gifs. Everyone’s glued to their phone anyway. The virus is moving closer. Then the panic buying starts and into my journal I add a photo of empty supermarket shelves.
It takes me some time to finally realise that I’m chronicling the end of the world.
Author’s Note: This short piece of prose was inspired by the song Doom Days by Bastille, particularly the line “I think I’m addicted to my phone, my scrolling horror show, I’m live-streaming the final days of Rome”, lyrics by Dan Smith.