Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I'm a journaler. Have been since high school. I have an entire storage bin filled with old journals. Unlike Natalie Goldberg, who states that she routinely burns old notebooks, I cannot bring myself to destroy any of them. I find it useful to be able to go back to a particular year to look something up, and it can also be interesting to randomly pull out a volume and read what was going on in my life during that period. Sometimes I'll remember the events clearly, other times I have an, "Oh my God, I forgot about that!" moment.

This afternoon as I was working on something sort of writing related, I found myself wondering if I had a volume from a certain year that could verify a fact. Not only did I find the appropriate journal and subsequent entry, I found myself skimming pages from my high school years for more than an hour. A few of the recorded conversations with friends had me laughing while some of the writing had me groaning. I used to write scads of poetry. We're talking tons. Most of it was pretty awful (hence the groaning), but there was some that was pretty good. There are also a lot of beginnings of short stories, but few completed works.

I also found a couple of sketches doodled inide these notebooks. Yes, notebooks. These days I prefer 5.5 x 8.75 hardback spiral journals. During those early years I usually used college ruled notebooks. They were cheap and blended in with the regular class notebooks. Thankfully, I never lost a one, though it was many years before a few friends (AT, CB, KB) forgave me for a certain group notebook being stolen from my locker freshman year. It contained some group writings and -- at that time -- incriminating "surveys." At the time we were mortified, wondering how they got into my locker, who could have taken it, and what might happen as a result. We never did find out and, thankfully, nothing came of it. Were we the characters of some TV show or teen movie, the contents of those notebooks would have been all over the school. Thank the merciful heavens that was pre-internet and cell phones! Now, we would probably laugh and groan over the contents of that notebook. At the time, though, it was quite serious.

Anyway, this is one of the pages scanned from one of those ancient journals. I don't remember doing these, and have no idea why I did, what they were for, or what prompted them. Maybe I was listening to The Stranger too much. I have no idea. Click on the pic for a larger view.


Nina said...

You know, going through a couple of boxes the other day I found my old journals. Probably not all of them, but a handful at least. I put them on bookshelf for future readings. It's fun to reminisce like that. I'm not as an avid journaler as you are though. Especially these last few years. I write very randomly. I've been writing so many other things like papers and stuff. Oh well, some day I might be good at it.


Heather said...


Yes, it is fun to reminisce sometimes. However, while most of the stuff I read today was good, there was one event that wasn't, but it was one I had been thinking about again recently. One I had not thought about in years until recently reminded.

I also frequently use journaling as a way to work through problems, mild irritations, anger, frustration - I can't tell you how many times my journals have saved a friendship. Journaling can be extremely cathartic.

Jana said...

"Journaling can be extremely cathartic."

Amen to that!

I've kept a journal since I was about 14, I think. Started out in one of those paper fill clasp folders things and like yours, has evolved to the hardback journals, usually spiral. I love buying journals as much as I love writing in them. lol

Man, I usually get embarrased when I go back to read mine. They're filled with all the angsty self pittying thoughts I'd never share with another soul, not to mention all the snotty things I said about my sisters that I'd never say to their faces. lol

I made my mother promise that if I die before she does, she's to burn all of my journals without reading them. She'd probably still read them but what would I care? I'd be dead! ROFL

Really cool masks you drew, btw.

Heather said...

I love buying journals as much as I love writing in them.Me too! I love picking out a new journal. *g*

Angela said...

You still have "the notebooks"? I'd better be careful! Those sketches remind me of one of the cover of Expressions, were you maybe coming up with ideas for that?

Heather said...

Angie - Yup...I still have all my notebooks and journals. Be grateful I purged old letters and notes when we moved into the new apartment fifteen years ago. *WEG*

And you're right, I might have been working something up for Expressions. Now that you mention it, we did have one cover with a mask, didn't we? I had completely forgotten that, and of course all my copies are currently packed away. I also found a sketch of a castle I did that I know was used for the arts mag. Huh...

BTW, I also found my sketch of the "Bowling Dwarf" tucked in with my journals. ;)