I’ve kept a diary since I was about 12. Most of that time it was a daily diary too. I still have most of them in a large trunk and occasionally I come across them and sit for a while pondering the minutae of my life.
‘Latin today. Boring. Who cares about all these wars?’
‘I think B loves me and he is lovely but J is just sooo cool and I think I fancy him.’
‘Why won’t this baby stop crying? What is wrong with him? Or is it me?’
‘Thinking of going to Church. I know! Can you believe it? Me going to Church? What shall I wear?’
At some point, around my 20s I think, it stopped being a diary and became more of a journal. More thoughts and feelings than merely recording events. And then it all starts to peter out at around the time I was ordained. Probably this was become I was so unbelievably busy that I didn’t have time to journal. Which was kind of ironic when you consider that TISEC (the Theological Institute who trained me) would keep banging on about us being reflective practitioners. I did start to keep a Quotes Journal at this time which became a place to write down prayers I’d found: poems; quotes; passages from books; and I am now on Volume 3.
And of course it was about this time that I started to blog. Now blogging must not be confused with keeping a diary or journalling. Although to begin with my blog was pretty boring and full of ‘things I did today’ entries which didn’t elicit much comment. And journalling of one’s deepest fears and hopes is definitely not the sort of thing that the world needs to hear about. So blogging became more about comments and observations and reviews of books and movies. The only time I journalled was when I was on retreat and the dreaded silence drove me to my fancy notebook and trusty purple pen.
But lately I’ve found that I miss my journal. I miss working through problems on paper and going back over them when solutions are found. Seeeing the journey written down can be very helpful and there is something really powerful about spilling your guts out (in other colours if need be) and ‘getting rid of it’. I often tell other people to keep a journal when they are going through tricky times, and advocate the use of the ‘unsent letter’. (This is absolutely something that should NOT be blogged.)
So I’m going back to my trusty journal. (Lilac linen cover, plain watermarked paper, stitched and bound in case you’re wondering.) I’ve found that I can’t write as much as I used to without my wrist getting achey and my handwriting is not what it was when I won a prize for the neatest writing with a dip pen.
Now if I can just find someone who will promise to come and destroy them all when I die, I’ll feel much more comfortable about it all.