Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Journal: My A to Z Wish List

I wish I had consistently kept journals over the years...and never thrown one away. My history is in bits and pieces, some stashed in files containing handwritten letters, some in notebooks, a little bit in bad poetry and essays.

During some part of my childhood I kept a diary. I have no idea what happened to it. A couple of years ago, three or four letters I had written a friend when I was a high school sophomore were produced by the friend. They were revealing, and a little embarrassing. My handwriting was atrocious, my spelling not much better, and I wrote mostly about boys.

There's a folder containing letters from two wise uncles (my dad's brothers) who wanted to show their moral support during a very rough time in my life, but I don't have copies of the letters I wrote to them.

I have copies of most of the letters I wrote to my mother during the two years I lived in the South of France, although I think they read more like a travelogue than a journal.

There are two notebooks containing my feeble attempts at keeping morning pages, the primary activity I took away from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. The notebooks are not even close to being filled. I think I have an aversion to writing about my feelings.

There's one notebook where I kept notes on my trip to Norway and a driving trip my husband and I took through several countries in Europe. Some of those entries are entertaining, but not terribly introspective.

And the poetry and essays? Most of those have a date with the shredder.

If you don't keep journals now, I recommend you begin. Someday you'll be my age and wish you had a better grasp of your own history and what you were thinking back when. It's surprising how much we forget along the way.

9 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Journals really are interesting and such rich ways to connect with our younger selves. Lots of historians use them too to do their research. What a neat addition to this theme....

Karen Walker said...

I have all my journals since 1978, when I started keeping them. I am so glad I saved those even when I got rid of everything else in my life. Twice.
karen

Patricia Stoltey said...

Margot, journals would certainly help me write a little history for my kids.

Karen, you did a very wise thing to hold on to those journals.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I tossed some of my early journals and regret doing so.

Stephanie V said...

Like yours, my journal attempts have been in fits and starts. No ongoing success. What happens for me is that I read some old fragments that I have - yes, I did the morning journaling, too - and it's too silly. Or it's meaningless after so many years. Or I don't even know why I wrote what i did. I'm pretty sure by now that my deeper feelings aren't something I want to share.

Lynn Proctor said...

you are blessed to have kept them--wish i had--of some of the years:)

Jemi Fraser said...

I kept a journal in high school/college. I remember vividly burning them all in a bonfire one night! :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

So it appears I'm not the only one who wishes she'd kept journals...

On the other hand, after reading Stephanie and Jemi's comments, perhaps it's just as well I kept my inner thoughts and feelings to myself. :D

Medeia Sharif said...

I kept a diary from childhood up till my early twenties, then I kept one sporadically. Also, I threw out and shredded my journals ages ago. Now I sometimes ask myself how I felt at a certain moment of my life and I can't recall.