Journals, Journals, Hooray!

Is there ever a point when you have too many journals? I certainly hope not because I have a lot and I’m adding one more. Welcome to my online journal – or well, blog.

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and although I have a vague recollection of a wooden box with an earthen smell and a tiny brass lock just big enough for a small diary – I don’t recall writing daily recollections. By middle school I poured my heart out to friends in long handwritten letters embellished with doodles and stickers and folded into elaborate shapes that frequently included pull tabs. They sat tucked in my Pee-Chee folder until I found the perfect opportunity to drop one onto my girlfriend’s desk or slip it into her hand as I passed by in the crowded hall.

At some point I found an old green typewriter that was missing the E. I set it up on top of my hope chest and typed stories and songs. When my friends came over we would sit together in front of the typewriter and type messages back and forth. In a sense, it was like texting each other while being in the same room. Words spoken evaporate, but attached to paper were more intimate and also risky should it get into the wrong hands. It conveyed trust.

After college, I began writing in a journal and have kept the practice on and off until today. I discovered Natalie Goldberg in my 20’s and trained myself to write in the growing stack of journals without censoring. I shuddered, however, when she related that she let her friend read all of her journals before she tossed them out. I could no longer imagine sharing myself so freely with friends. Natalie embraced a vulnerability I had lost along the way.

Words matter – whether you share them or not. Journaling is a mindfulness practice – a way of having a conversation with your soul. Over time you’ll see patterns emerge and might be surprised by what is revealed. When that happens, it means this process is working.

 I’ve since added to my collection. My current journal landscape includes:

--My everyday journal

--My daily sentence journal

--My gratitude journal

--My books read journal

--My kids said what journal (funny, unusual things they said – though I was so focused on them and the next funny, unusual thing they said that I usually forgot to write it down)

--My husband’s journal (we write in journals to each other instead of exchanging cards)

--My love letter to my kid journal (I have one for each kid that I have written in or around Mother’s Day and their birthday since they were born)

I also have notes in various random notebooks, on pieces of scrap paper, and stored in separate files on my computer.

Do you keep a journal? If the answer is “yes, but it’s blank,” then take that next step and pull out a pen. If you’ve been thinking about blogging, and haven’t started – join me!