Why Keep Writing a Journal?

I’ve been working with Christia to downsize and prepare to move to Kendal.  Christia discovered that she could tear the pages out of the spiral journal notebooks so they could be recycled.  So she’s been doing that, and it gives me moral support when working on something else.  I had saved the originals from 1959 (my first journal) to 1970.  They were written in hardbound notebooks, and I had named each notebook (I was copying Anaïs Nin).  Names like “Collision with California,” “Sight of the Sea.”  She tore out the pages, leaving the cardboard covers.  I saved the pages to burn and the cardboard can be recycled.  Burning is a ceremonial way of letting go of something.

Today we did another round of dumping printed pages, and tearing pages out of spiral bound notebooks.  I discovered that I have three crates of spiral notebooks from the years 1995 to 2003 where I wasn’t typing up.  I want to go through them and type things that are meaningful.  And why, why do I want to do that?  Do I imagine someone in the future being interested?  No, actually, I think it helps my own work of integration.  I want to be able to see my life as a whole.  Do I ever go back and read all those journals so carefully typed and printed?  No.  It does feel like meaningful work.  I guess it has meaning in itself.  I can’t imagine not doing it.  If for nothing else, it also gives me a chance to look at the events of my life again.  I suppose I really don’t need to type up all the stuff about the dog, and my health.  I know I was thinking that a record would be helpful — but to what? to whom?  I guess I imagined myself going over them to look for improvement…  as I walk the dog more regularly?  I’m not going to do that.  Maybe I don’t need to type up all that kind of information.

Things I have saved:  a big binder of Ritual Year — though I don’t have a digital version so I can’t edit it, but would have to start over.  Ritual Year is a project in which I put (usually edited) passages from my journal, one for each of the 365 days.  I also have three binders of dreams.  Not ready to throw them away, but am I likely to reread them?  I see that I can’t imagine a future in which anyone would be interested in the record of a life lived by a highly intelligent, well-educated woman, living mostly in the 20th century, and struggling with PTSD from infancy.  Who would be interested?  Who would care?  I see the world having to change radically, whether by people taking back the government, or by nuclear war, or financial disaster, or environmental disaster…

Writing and typing up later is a devotional practice.  It’s honoring the wounded life of Jenny.  I’m a little horrified that I can’t see a viable future.  I don’t want to “hold a vision” of the world being destroyed, but that’s all I can see from here.  At least I can continue praying “May all beings be safe, may all beings be happy…”

Often a help in times of doubt, I went back to Matt Dancing around the world…  A wonderful image of peace, health, happiness.

This entry was posted in Journal, Present Day, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.