Monday, January 31, 2011

The Longetivity of Journals

I stumbled across this article Tales of Lives Richly Lived, But True? on the online version of the New York Times and it made me want to hop on a plane and jet to New York. The Morgan Library & Museum is featuring an exhibit, The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives, that makes me drool.


The exhibit features diaries of many famous people. Wouldn't you love to have a look at the personal journals of John Steinbeck, Nathanial Hawthorne, Bob Dylan, and even Albert Einstein? I know I would!

It got me to thinking about journals in general. Most writers keep journals. Maybe they don't keep one at every stage in their lives, but at some point it's likely they had a diary or two.

I've written on looseleaf paper, in a Hello Kitty diary complete with lock, on a journal of homemade paper, and in a Microsoft Word file. I currently have journals all over the house for various reasons. One is to record reviews of the books I read, another is to jot down ideas for books, one is for impromptu sketches, and--the mother of them all--I have my journal of spew.

Yes, I keep a journal to vent. In it goes every doubt, irritation, and bit of craziness my brain can no longer contain. I don't write in it all the time, but let's just say that if Morgan Library & Museum found my tome in one hundred years, the curator would be horrified.

Mental note to self: Burn all spew journals before death.

Do you keep a journal (or more)? Would you be embarrassed to have future generations read it in a museum?

Have a wonderful Monday!

31 comments:

  1. I think when you're famous no one cares about about the spewing in journals. They just want a glimpse of the real person. I keep a writing journal - on a word doc. :)

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  2. Umm...yes! I would be mortified. Very private stuff in my journal, there is! And now I'm talking like Yoda. You and Robyn are all in sync today with your posts. :)

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  3. I keep prayer journals and notebooks for when I'm studying the Word. I love to go back and see where I was the year before. I also keep file folders full of book research. Some have scraps of paper with one or two lines, but I seem to remember what I was thinking when I read it. I don't keep venting journals anymore because I had a rather humiliating experience with that in my teenage years, but the prayer journals sort of cover that. Hey, you can say anything in the form of a prayer request...right? :) jk.

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  4. I have a prayer journal and I was keeping a journal of funny thins my kiddo said or did when she was a baby/toddler. But that's it. :)

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  5. I love the idea of a spew journal, partly just because I love the name. :) I still have journals from when I was a little kid. My daughter just turned four and got her first diary as a present. She's already busy filling it in. Now she just has to learn to spell more words than just her name!

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  6. I've begun keeping art journals. There are a couple three or four works in progress. Some are places to experiment with techniques, others are a teaching aid, and another to count my blessings. Truthfully, I'd be thrilled if my art journals ended up in a museum
    (-;

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  7. Funny you should ask, I'm picky about the journals I select to take notes in for each of my novels. I usually head to TJ Maxx to shop the deals, but the outside needs to reflect something about the book I'm writing.

    Otherwise, I scratch notes and thoughts in anything that serves as paper. Napkins are not below me.
    ~ Wendy

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  8. I don't keep a personal journal. But I do keep several others, one for my to-do lists, one for each writing project, one for music/concert notes. That exhibit sounds so intriguing, I'd love to sneak a peek inside some of those entries.

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  9. Good morning!

    I knew you all had to keep some sort of diary! I was right!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  10. I don't journal and maybe I'd better not start after this. Wouldn't want anyone reading my ranting. :O)

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  11. I have always kept a personall journal but there are some that too should probably be burned before my child is horrifed:) Actually, I love going back to see how I've changed.

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  12. I'm not a big journal writer - however I do have a few to go back to from my "younger years" that make for some fun JR HIGH entertainment :)

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  13. Ha! Ha! Sounds like we all have a skeleton journal in our closet!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  14. A journal of spew! Oh boy! Yes, I have journals--most of them are from when I was younger. But right now I journal on story ideas and I have a journal for song ideas.

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  15. I've always wanted to keep a journal, and have purchased several to inspire that goal. However, I am never consistent with it. Every now and then I'll write something on a whim, but that's usually it. :)

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  16. I love to keep journals. I would probably be embarassed by some of the older ones though. I try to curb my tongue and be a bit more mature in my current ones:)

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  17. I haven't journaled in a while. I love doing it... especially on trips or during intense times in my life. I just haven't had a chance to do it recently... I miss it!

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  18. Yes, I recently started keeping a journal again after I long break, and I would be horrified if anyone ever read it. It's my safe place to say whatever comes to mind. Although, it's such a complete mess that I doubt anyone could ever make sense of any of it.

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  19. I've kept journals off and on over the years, usually writing in them when I'm on wilderness trips. I have a notebook where I jot things down about my writing and just life. It's pretty disorganized :-)

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  20. I never thought of keeping different journals for different subjects. Interesting idea. I just keep one big one (in a file on my computer....I'm just not into writing by hand anymore!) And it's definitely a "spew" journal. And I definitely wouldn't want ANYONE reading it. Ever! Note to self: destroy computer before personal expiration!

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  21. I haven't kept a journal in a few years, but when I think back on my journal entries they were my therapy.

    It was long before the writing journey began, but now I can see evdence that God was laying the foundation for the calling:)

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  22. I have kept a journal for several years now. I write in it to record daily events, writing conundrums, and also to vent. I don't know whether to have them destroyed after I'm gone or not. The thing is, if you write with an eye to someone reading it in the future, you won't be entirely honest with yourself and your writing won't reflect the true you. So I can see the benefits of having a "spew" journal!

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  23. Been sick here the last few days, but I've loved reading your comments!

    Thank you all for stopping by!

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  24. LOL, I totally agree--there must be a way to burn these before death. I'm thinking a "destruct" button if you sense it's time. Oh no--I so don't want anyone reading my private thoughts. At this point, though, I only have a prayer journal. Fairly innocuous, all things considered.

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  25. Hmmm. If it weren't for journals and letters "left behind," we wouldn't have some inspiring, life-changing reads, like "Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune," which chronicles the life of Robert Gould Shaw, captain of the first Negro Union Army brigade in the Civil War.

    Shocking. Mesmerizing. A must read.

    I've MISSED this place!
    Blessings!!!
    Patti

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  26. I kept journals most of my life. When I moved a few years ago, I got rid of them. Reason? They had spew in them. No, I didn't want anyone reading that sort of thing. Now if I need to spew, I just pray. At least if doesn't leave any marks.

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  27. Hi Jill -

    I've been journaling for eight years. Regular spiral notebooks serve my purposes well. They're messy, not of any literary value, and contain notes from my Bible Study time, prayer, and personal items.

    Recently, I pulled one out from 2009. It must have been a boring year because it literally put me to sleep. :)

    Blessings,
    Susan

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  28. Ha! Either we keep boring journals, safe journals, or please-burn-them-now journals! Love it!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  29. I do have a 'spew' journal (love the name you created) along with others. But do throw out these personal, 'just need to figure it out' or vent spiral notebooks once completed! I've heard of a novel where the MC knows her husband is reading her journal so writes constant lies. Makes for an intriguing read.

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  30. I've been keeping journals for a little over a year to track the process of my grieving. I'll be posting some of it on my blog. Maybe someday I'll even publish them.

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  31. I would be lost without my journal. I wish I were organized enough to have different journals for different things, but mostly I keep one into which everything goes--the "spew," (love that word), ideas, snippets, plans for the day--everything. I really don't understand how people get by without a journal. And, oh, how I would love to see this exhibit.

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