Saturday, February 8, 2014

Leaving a Legacy in the Pages

I just wrote on the last page of my journal.

I hate it when that happens.

But at the same time it's a good thing.  It means I've written that much in my journal.  :)

Honestly, I've kept a journal all my life.  There have been times in my life when I didn't write as much, but it has been fairly consistent.  My first journal was given to me by a friend in 4th grade.  It is a little 80's looking "One Year Diary" with a lock that is now broken.  But it didn't last one year.  More like five.

My first entry was written May 13, 1994.  The pages of this diary are dated and so my first entry is actually in the middle of the book...then I started at the front again because it was annoying.  This is my first diary entry:

"Today Kendra spent the night, now it is morning.  I got (for a goodbye party since I'm moving) a bear, I name her Kendra since Kendra gave it to me. [I remember this teddy bear and I named it LYLAS later which stood for "love ya like a sister" which was Kendra and my pen-pal thing.] Emily who just came to visit on Friday with Rachel gave me this diary and a troll-shaped notebook and a purple pen.  [This entry is written in purple ink.]  Cami invited four girls, but one couldn't come so, well the three more girls who could come is Becky short for Rebecka, Gale who is a seventh grader and Honey is a seventh grader too.  Right now Becky is hitting Gale with her pillow."

And that's it give or take a few spelling changes.  :)
The beginning of my mementos.

I'm actually very grateful to Emily for giving me that diary when she did.  I remember how hard it was to get writing at first, but I really believe those five years writing in that little diary are what birthed my passion for writing to begin with and now here I am blogging on four different blogs and writing for the local paper.

Many of the journals in my stack are filled with teenage angst and the longing of a dreamer.  So I don't often look back and read them because it takes me back to days when I wasn't as emotionally healthy.  I don't like to look back too much because it's a bad habit I had to break.  But looking at my journals now shows me how far I've come, and it gets me to remember how seriously my 5th grade mind took things like crushes and boy drama.  Now when my kids are a certain age I can look back at my journal and remember how I felt at that time.  Who knows, maybe it will be a good way for my kids to relate to me too.

I see my own life as pretty mediocre, but it's the only life I've lived.  I have doubts that these journals are fated to someday be collaborated into a inspiring novel for everyone to read, but I do see them as a legacy, if not for anyone else, for me.

People who haven't ever really kept a journal always ask me how I kept it up for so long, and honestly I can say now that the hardest part is just working it into your psyche as something you love doing.  It took me five years to really fall in love with it, and I still have bought of silence in my journal entries.  So SO SO many of my entries begin with some variation of "Sorry it's been a while since I last wrote..." and honestly I think it was completely unnecessary for me to apologize to the pages because whoever reads my journal isn't going to care that I didn't write for a certain period, only that I am writing again!

So if you are trying to get that habit formed to write in a journal, just know it might take a while to form that habit.  But the only way you do is if you don't give up on it.  Stream of consciousness writing is a great place to start.