Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Diary/Journal Challenge

You may have made resolutions for the new year.
Perhaps you've already broken a few.
Not to worry.
Tis never to late at your own crack at immortalizing your life.
For preserving for future generations, whether they care or not, to put thoughts of this time at this era, onto actual paper.
(I know; it's now hard for me to use handwriting muscles; my hands now ache when writing for a lengthy period when gripping an 'old fashioned' pen. My muscles are strong for the keyboard.)
But it can be a completely satisfying thing to articulate in written form.
And here's a plan as to how to do it.

For FORTY YEARS I have kept a daily journal.
My first entry was February 1970, the month/year I met my hubby.
Since that day, I have committed to the writing of snippets of my daily goings ons.
Most of it drivel and unimportant, but some of it, historical.
Guess who my friends call when trying to remember closing dates on homes long ago purchased?
I am a virtual time line in human form.
An importance reference to a life lived.

One day, Eldest/Admin was lying on my bed, recuperating from a bout of morning sickness, when she noticed my assorted diaries/journals/notebook casually (messily) perched atop my bedroom bookshelf. (see photo)
She says in a moderated rage (post morning sick) "MOM! Is that all your diaries up there? Gathering dust and vulnerable to fire or flood? (okay; I made that last part up) I answered in the positive, concerned she was going to chastise me for my disorganized assembly of notebooks.
When I start to apologize, she clarifies, 'MOM, those books hold all my childhood and my brothers and sister! It's all your and dad's life together! What are you thinking not protecting those things better?'
What indeed.
Until that moment, I saw my scribblings as a rambling mess of ink on paper, compulsively copying the important and mundane of my day to day life for nearly 40 years. My daughter showed me the importance of those casual entries.
I see them now as an archive. A legacy to my children when I am long gone. I can picture them trying to decipher the hieroglyphics brought on my a string of sleepless nights with asthmatic children. I can see them understanding a pattern of hidden love language.
I can see them laughing about the thrills of recipes gone good and the heartache of friendships in transition.
In short, never underestimate the power of your life and the importance of preserving it.

Do you have a journal/notebook in your home right now? If not, plan on getting one tomorrow. No excuses; you can get even the most utilitarian notebook for less than a dollar. More fun to have a grand one from Borders but we can go economy.
A good pen you particularly like?
Put it on your bedside table. (What? You don't have a bedside table? really?)
Before you shut off your light, take less than three minutes to write in phrases (complete sentences are not necessary) highpoint, low spot of your day. Of course, date it an include the day of the week.
You can get lengthy but brevity is more successful for the long haul.
Four lines, tops.

The best new year's resolution you can make...For you and others....
Trust me; this is a good practice.....

Tomorrow, a different kind of journal....


  1. wow. really, those diaries are worth gold to all of us. cant explain to you how much we appreciate them. and that is now!
    i cant let my mind go past that, but thank you for years and years of little time given to be able to look back at your and dads life, and ours in that as well, and be able to relive it all over and over and over again.
    let written documentation never go extinct.

  2. before i even met you i knew about these wonderful journals. sheila told me all about them.


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