Monday, October 17, 2016

Writing Journals - and answering questions

Here are my answers to the six questions I asked about journalling last week:

1. Do you have stacks and stacks and STACKS of journals?
Yes, I have stacks and stacks and STACKS of journals. I began keeping journals in the late ’60’s, so yes there are stacks and stacks and STACKS of them.
2. Do you write in haphazard notebooks and stuff in napkins with jottings OR do you use the printed "Journal" sorts of books?
I do write notes here and there, and yes, have used napkins, though I do not find writing on napkins, satisfying. If I need to remember something I will grab any piece of paper, write, write, write and then slip it in my pocket and hope it comes out of that pocket before the clothing goes in the wash. My printed journal is a 1 or 2 or 3 inch binder, and the paper has been printed, hole punched and slipped in there. So to answer the question, I don’t buy a book that is already bound, since handwriting is so slow and I need to say a lot more than I can if I hold a pen and try to write neatly to the bottom of page where my wrist is not comfortable and the book is beginning to slip and slide on the table.
3. Where do you keep them?
Previously I kept them in my bedroom on a shelf that rimmed the top of my room, something like a plate rack. Since renovating, they are in boxes in my garage, but I need to find a place for them inside. That is on my to-do list.
 4. Do you ever read back over them?
Yes, I go back and look at certain years when I can’t remember something about what was going on at that time. Reading those journals brings back to my mind many other unwritten events. For example, if I want to read about when a certain child was born, it is easy to go back and see what was happening then. Or I want to go back and read about the last few months before my father died, for example. Then I can add other details that are trigger by the words I read but which I didn't have time to write.
5. Are they journals you plan to leave behind for your offspring,
I am more interested in people looking at them now, than after I am dead.
Bonnie came to visit and began to read from the beginning of my journalling. I think she only finished the first year of my writing. She spent the whole day. She kept coming to me to ask me questions, which I thought was a bonus. Better to ask those questions now than to have the questions after I am dead and to hear answers from people who don’t really know.
As to leaving journals behind,  Catherine asked me for them, but she said to wait until I am dead. Bonnie came to read them. I don't think others have either the time or perhaps the inclination.  There are, of course, far better books to read out there.
Rebecca said someone else can have them, but she wants all of the old essays I wrote. I have collected those in a binder for her as I have been throwing out all of the notes from those classes I took at university when I was older. My Memoirs Class  teacher told me I should offer the journals to the Glenblow Archives as they are an excellent example of the growth of a Mormon feminist, from the 1960’s to the present. That idea was not appealing to me. I know that books and papers get buried in archive boxes that way and never surface. Since my “journal” was always sent to my kids and meant to be read by them over the years in the form of a letter, they have already read the stuff at sometime or another.
6. Were your journals personal venting or a bit of both?
The voice in the journals is personal.  It is about the daily life, the comings and goings of an ordinary woman.
I have some books of personal ventings. If anyone asked to read them, I would let them. I have never shown them to anyone. I don’t think they would be useful to others. If I happen to pick one up and read a bit, even I don’t want to bring all of that back up. They were useful to me when I was writing them.  A hard call, between what should be forgotten, and what should be preserved so that others can learn from it.
Arta

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