Remember when journalling was a thing some years ago? At the time I had already been writing in my books since I was 14. I was well into it by then. And ‘guided’ journalling in groups was not for me.
I don’t write in my journal every jour. I write when I am wrestling with something or when I am bored. Of course I have written a lot about love, especially love affairs. And self-love and love for my kids. Career decisions. Moves, locally or internationally (the U.S., Japan, and Turkey). Those are some things I wrestled about. I wrote about adventures, though less introspective writing was mostly composed on a computer to report to others.
Sometimes writing spurs me to think of more immediate, concrete things, which I then brainstorm. The last pages of my books are usually gone because I have used them for lists.
When I was young (20s and 30s) I carried my journal in my bag and would sit in a cafe and write in it. I was cool, man. This was mostly in Corvallis or Eugene, Oregon It gave me something to do and showed that I had a legitimacy for being there. It wasn’t a time for great introspective writing. That I did at home.
Now I write in my journals when I am alone. Sometimes I write when I am lonely. I often write when I am troubled or bored (usually not both at once). There is something about putting words on paper, even if they are becoming more illegible as I get older. It’s not necessarily creative writing, though sometime there is a good turn of phrase. It is definitely stream of consciousness, though I try to use paragraphs. I write in the colour of the time, sometimes in pencil. I like hard bound books, though the one I am writing in now is softer. I got it because it says things like ‘you will go far’ (check) and it was a ‘Molly & Rex’ journal. My journals these years are a far cry from the blue student notebooks I started out with. It often takes a few years to work through an empty journal, so I want the book to be something I like.
My handwriting has indeed gotten atrocious, as my mother’s did and my grandmothers’ when they were quite old. But it is not meant to be read by anyone else but me. I told my daughter years ago that she could read them or throw them out, so perhaps there may be a reader, but highly doubtful.
The box of old journals is in the back of a cupboard. A few years ago in a frenzy of downsizing, I took out the loose things in them and recycled them, something I probably regret. My first ex-husband actually threw away ‘our’ two years of journals. They were in a box by the door when I was collecting my stuff, having just left him. He was a Viet Nam draft dodger from Wichita Kansas and was into some weird ‘guru’ and sent him money (of course). He kept wanting me to look like his sister, who had been in a beauty contest. Once he was haranguing me (in winter!) about shaving my legs and I threw the razor at him. So that was mostly what those journals were about.
It used to be that a lot of people kept journals. Now they post comments (as do I) on Facebook or Twitter or wherever. Obviously a lot of mean-spirited people don’t bother to wrestle with their demons in private; I recommend journalling. My grandmother, Julia, wrote a retrospective journal when she was old. I used it as a basis for a book about her for my family. My other grandmother was given a book to write in when she was old, but it was more of a log. One did not share one’s inner feelings or thoughts, I suspect. My father did not keep a journal at all, but I found some memoirs, so those are going into the Farky stories subject to great editing. Perhaps sometime I will tell my own story from my journals.
Writing assumes a reader, but it is not clear who the reader of my journals would be. My writing is for getting more clarity in my thoughts and feelings, sharing with the ether. I would be appalled if someone else read my journals now. However, after I am dead, I don’t care. Whether or not I ever read my own journals again, I don’t know. In the meantime, I continue to fill my books for myself.