Advice to Young Journal Keepers. Be lenient with yourself. Conceal your worst faults, leave out your most shameful thoughts, actions, and temptations. Give yourself all the good and interesting qualities you want and haven’t got. If you should die young, what comfort would it be to your relatives to read the truth and have to say: It is not a pearl we have lost, but a swine?
~ Rosamond Lehmann, Invitation to the Waltz
I’ve come across the opening quote a few times, and every time I do, I chuckle. It reminds me of me. There was a time when I would write everything in my journal. I would spew out my anger, pour out my sadness, chronicle my pettiness, and share the details of arguments. Lest you think it was all negatives, you should know that I also recorded the highs of life, the joys, the wonders, the laughter, the friendship, and the love.
Near the end of the year I’d start to think about saving my journal, and that would lead me to thinking about who was going to read it. I don’t mean while I’m alive, although that’s always a possibility. I don’t think any of my immediate family members would dip into my journal without permission, but I carry it when I travel and what would happen if I lost it somewhere? Would you read a found diary? If so, how much of it would you read? Enough to try to identify the writer so you could return it? Or would you want to delve into all of the stories in that handwritten book? I suppose the answer might depend on how interesting the stories happened to be.
As the year would draw to a close, I would skim through the journal, sometimes wincing at my narration of life. I don’t mean my spelling or grammar or any writing talent I may or may not have. It was the negativity made tangible with words that I found distressing and uncomfortable. I didn’t want to pass that on to the future so I did the only sensible thing. I burned my journal.
It became a yearly ritual, a way to let go of the Yuck of life so it wouldn’t build up. I know some folks would find that a terrible waste, to consign all those thoughts and feelings and words to the flames. Usually it’s the writers who react with shock (“I could never do that!”).
There are journals that didn’t go into the fire. I always kept (and still keep) a separate travel journal. Some years I have a separate gratitude journal. Not all is lost.
Lately, during my enforced rest and recovery, I’ve been reading a lot. Some of that reading involves blogs. It’s been mostly reading with little commenting. Sorry about that. I have more time to read if I spend less time composing a comment, but I’ll try to do better so you’ll at least know I’ve been around to visit you.
I have come across a number of blogs that are so open and honest and (I hesitate to use this word because I think it’s overused) authentic. I find myself wishing I could be that way in my writing and on my blog. I want to be comfortable enough to put it all out there in some way.
But maybe I do that with my images. And maybe with some of my words. I’m pretty sure my stories are in here somewhere.
Enough of that. I’ve got too much time on my hands lately, and it makes me want to ramble in words. The 5 mile hike on Sunday followed by a 3 mile hike on Monday were a little too much so I’ve been off my feet for most of the past two days. I don’t know why I find it so difficult to laze around. Yesterday wasn’t so bad. It was cold and icy and ice pellets were falling from the dark gray clouds hanging above us. It was the perfect Pajama Day.
This morning was chilly, and the ice was still clinging to the trees and shrubs and grasses. Then the sun came out this afternoon, melting away some of the chill and ice.
Thank you for stopping by today. Sunset is looking promising. Winter has a way of rewarding us with colorful, fiery sunsets to make up for the cold, I think. I’ll meet you on the dock. Sunset is at 5:37 PM. I’ll be there early, maybe super early since I tend to mosey and dawdle instead of hustle and bustle. It’s cold so be sure to bundle up. They’re saying we might get snow tomorrow, but the weather prognosticators have been saying that every week since the Winter Solstice and barely a flake has appeared so I’m not going to count on it.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
Today’s joys: The warmth of the sunlight shining into the living room; playing cat and following the sun around the house; snuggling; lots of time for reading and writing and other sit-down activities; healing.