Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Revisiting a writing journal

I pulled out a writing journal last night to read some of the stuff I'd written over the past few years. This is not a regular daybook kind of journal that I use to document or reflect on the day's activities. No, this is a place to write snatches of things that I intend to develop later - usually it's just phrases, paragraphs, one single idea, a list, etc. Sometimes the fragments become something more - a short story, a personal reflection, a feature article of some kind. I like to go back and read the notebook - or notebooks, I should say, since I have several - because I am always amazed at how many fairly passable ideas I do have. It's a good place to go when the well is running dry, if you know what I mean.

I am not good at regular journaling, but I admire those who are. I figure the point would be to write down exactly what I think and feel about a person or event, but my mama taught me never to put anything (like that) in writing. What if I dropped dead and everybody got their hands on my journal - feelings hurt or boosted out of context, my wicked thoughts revealed to the people I most care about? Nope. And if I don't write those kind of things in a journal, it just turns out to be a laundry list of "what I did today."

But my writing journal is different, although there is a lot of private angst revealed throughout. If it gets too personal/specific, I usually end up tearing those pages out and burning them. A couple of years ago I went through a string of horrible events that caused me to crawl 'way, 'way back into my shell (which is totally out of character for me - shell? what shell?) to see if I could find out who I really was. In the writing journal I documented several months of distress in a sort of "Psalms from a Broken Woman." I was specific about my pain, but not about the people or events, so I saved these pages. Even reading over them three years later, they are a pretty well-written account of pain and despair. I don't read them often - geez, no - but they are a reminder of what I got through and beyond, and that's not a little thing.

Just needed to get that off my chest. I'll write something funny later on - cheers!

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