In getting ready for our move to a smaller house, last night I packed away my old journals into plastic bins.

I didn’t pause to look at the journals much while I was packing them away because that would have resulted in not getting the task done, but at quick glance I noticed a few things:

  • I’ve been writing in journals with some regularity since my junior year of high school. I wrote in journals and had a diary before then, actually, but the oldest one I found was from 1984.
  • I have always written in cursive and my writing style, though always recognizable as my own, has changed over the years. For instance, when I was younger my writing had some odd flourishes and my letters were more rounded than the way I write today.
  • I have quite a variety of journals –  one with a floral cover, one with a picture of Jane Austen, another with Shakespeare that I purchased in England in 1996. In the 90s, when I went back to college, my journals were all spiral bound and most with unlined pages – if I recall correctly they actually artist sketch books purchased in the college store. I then went through a Moleskin journal phase with plain grey or black covers and unlined pages. The last several years, I’ve taken to writing in Leuchtturm journals with bright colored covers and pages filled with dot grids to help keep my handwriting from roaming all over the page.

Filling these journal pages are relationship woes, cries out to God and some really bad attempts at poetry. I also processed a whole lot of feelings and wrote page after page of what was going on with my life. I often commented on the weather and where I was writing. I wrote about being pregnant, about motherhood, about marriage. Material from prompts at writing retreats, attempts at a couple of novels, notes from classes, and a fair number of doodles. Though I have found writing to be helpful when times were hard, when my Dad died I couldn’t write at all for months on end. Eventually, I started writing again.

I have considered tossing out my journals several times over the years but again and again I’ve decided not to. I do not want anyone reading them yet destroying them feels like destroying a part of me, a part of my story. And, there are times when I do refer to them for some purpose or another related to my writing or just out of curiosity. So, for now at least, the journals will stay.