I started a journal a long time ago when my (birth) dad was in alcohol dependency treatment. It was a collection of loose-leaf sheets and the first page was a piece of paper with my visitor badge affixed to it. I remember from that visit my dad eating fried chicken – he said his dietitian said that he could eat fried chicken as long as he took the skins off. So he took the skins off the chicken before eating it (the skins). He’s since been diagnosed with diabetes, suffered multiple heart attacks been disabled by a stroke – maybe he should have listened all those years ago. Maybe I should listen now? My weakness isn’t the skin of fried chicken – I’m not even really sure what it is (macaroni and cheese?), but if my docs tell me to quit something, I hope I’ll listen.
Not the point though, I was writing about writing… Despite my belief that my journal was simply a ‘bitch book’ full or gripes about my friends and boyfriends – he said ‘x # $ ! )’ and then she said ‘uh huh!’ – stories like that, family history for good or ill, were recorded there. Unfortunately, in a fit of clutter clearing, I burned or shredded all those pages. I still have my journal from my trip abroad, but its spine is cracked and pages have been ripped out (by me) as I transferred those entries to another format. When I told my travel buddy that I was getting rid of that journal, she was aghast – she even told me to just give it to her if I didn’t want it anymore. I don’t know what it is about journaling that gives it value or interest. I don’t know what it is about blogging that makes me more likely to do it and at such length. I don’t know if my blog/journal should be given over to my next of kin when I pass (in the news recently). And I certainly don’t know or expect that my journal will be of interest to future generations.
But I do know that writing in this format somehow suits me and that I’m much less likely to delete every past entry, no matter how painful, than I am to shred or burn paper pages. I’m also less likely to open to a random page and read, though I do read a couple entries back or look for specific information at times. I hear a lot of dieters talk about opening their food journals and reading how things were going last week, month or year. I keep a separate ‘blog’ and record of my foods, when I remember and take the time to do so, but I’ve never gone to look back at what I was eating like I might with a paper journal. I like the online format there because it calculates nutritional information about my food, rather than just being a list of what I ate which it would be if I wrote it on paper. Sometimes, like right now, I’m thinking ‘why not write it on paper during the day then transfer it to online in the evening and jot down the relevant nutritional facts on the paper too?’ I don’t think I would really do that, but maybe I’ll give it another shot to keep it on paper.
Getting ready to move, I’m especially thinking of clutter clearing and my box-o-photos is much on my mind. I wish I could just move a few completed photo albums to my new house instead of this ongoing and energy depleting ‘PROJECT.’ There are days when I think of just pitching the lot, but there are also days when I think of scanning them all in like A’s dad took the time to do, so they can be shared more easily. I am thinking of making a slide show DVD to send to friends just before our reunion next fall, so that would mean removing all those photos from my album, scanning them and then replacing them – what a chore, but how fun would it be to have sent those CDs?
My mom also brought up the albums she put together for myself and my bro’s several years ago. It would break her heart to know that I took them apart and got rid of parts of them that she saved all those years. It will probably especially hurt because she already knows my brothers trashed theirs and she thinks mine is intact. Why couldn't I just keep it the way she did it? I thought I would make it ‘nicer,’ but I never took the time to do so. Maybe I just make a couple piles in my new office – ‘To Scan’ and ‘Scanned.’ I could just do a couple at a time instead of sitting around staring at the walls. And that would help me start the sorting process for putting them into albums. Okay, I have intentions. But I also still have lots of words, lots of paper, lots of photos and lots of memories.