Back to the ‘journals’. I’ve documented a great deal of my life, as if anybody will care. I’ve done it for me, and I must say, I do enjoy reading back over the entries – one sentence will bring an entire day back.
For over 20 years I have written pretty well every day – in a diary - ‘details’ rather than journal. It’s very strange to see a big chunk of your life lined up in a bookcase.
I have other journals too … quotes, and thoughts, ideas sprouting and random memories. My first ‘beautiful’ journal that I bought was in 1983 – a red leather look, Kahlil Gibran one. I was writing in when I got confirmation that I was pregnant with Ashley. The entry says: "The rabbit died.” And no, I did not cut off its feet or tail.
With three young children, a demanding job and an ailing father, I couldn’t keep up with even a few lines of daily writing. But rather than desert my beautiful book when it was empty from March on, I ignored the dates and just wrote about our life in general. I would stick it away and not come across it for four or five years at a time. I was 29 years old when I started it and 46 when it was filled.
It was the new millennium when I got to buy my next journal. I found one that was similar in size and feel. The store clerk said to me: “oh, I don’t think you want THAT one … it’s $25 – we have some that are much cheaper.” “I’m worth it.” I replied. I didn’t mention that it would do me for the next twenty years.
I don’t work in it regularly. Just like the previous one, I re-discover its existence every few years. Yesterday, when I found myself having time and being drawn to writing, I remembered it. I was not overly surprised to find that it had been 4 years ... a wedding and two grandchildren since I last wrote.
It’s a shame that I don’t do it more often – I wish I did. It’s amazing to sit and read one’s entire life sandwiched between the pages of a couple small books. Children and grandchildren born, parents and siblings lost, kids growing up and me growing old. It’s a humbling experience to sit with a book in your hands that contains your life … to touch the actual paper that you wrote on, to see the actual words from your own hand. And more so, from your own heart. Reading it on the computer just wouldn't be the same.
Instead of writing, I spent the afternoon re-visiting my life. It confirmed for me that I have indeed made the right decision to get back to writing. To writing.