Monday, November 06, 2006
I have been keeping a journal for many years but I’ve never kept one continuously. There will be a few months in 7th grade or all of 1998 but nothing for 1992. The college years are represented in spurts reminding me that I was miserable.
It’s strange to look at the years of half begun notebooks and Moleskins. An entire Moleskin will be blank save for 5 pages- it stops as quickly and mysteriously as it began. What do you do with all of these loose journals? I thought about consolidating them all on the computer but that seems like being a little to focused on the past.
Rereading these journals is fun and sometimes a bit unsettling. Creativity will flow in one set and depression is obvious in others. Should these be saved? If so, why? I will not become a celebrity in which these journals will become a fascinating look inside the man. The only people that will have interest in them are my family. Should they have an unedited look inside my head? The thought of having my great grand fathers journal would be interesting but I don't want to know everything about him.
Does keeping a journal mean we have automatically signed away our privacy after death? If these journals are around after us the answer is yes.
I remember years ago, I was living in Chicago. One drunken evening I was looking through my junior high and high school journals and thought, “I need to get rid of this shit” and I did. I burned them all. It is not something I would have done sober but ultimately I think it was the best decision. Since I no longer drink the editing of any journals will be more difficult.
If I were to die tomorrow I would want all my journals, diaries, short stories, poems and any other written evidence of the inside of my head burned. Unless I do this myself there is no guarantee this would happen. The problem is that it's difficualt to destroy memories even if some of these memories are disturbing.