Should You Burn Your Diaries? and Other Musings

I’ve kept a lot of diaries in my time, usually with fancy covers.  I have a leather blank-page book with a flower embossed on the cover (I meant to write poetry in it),  two Jane Austen notebooks (very cute), quaint imported notebooks, spiral notebooks, Moleskine notebooks which somehow I never fill up, and a Penguin On the Road notebook.

Mind you, I do not “journal”; I write in a journal. I also dislike the verbal adjective“journaling” (a gerund).  The mere mention of a “journaling” class in an adult education catalogue repels me.  In my experience, people who talk about “journaling” tend to be breathy pre-Raphaelite types who cry in public and are diagnosed with the mysterious borderline personality.  Everyone has sympathy, because they are so outwardly feeble (tough as nails inside, though).  Alas, we are not pre-Raphaelite flowers in the meadow here. It’s the midwest, baby.  We are goddamned tough prairie grass.

I wish I could say I’d recorded the narrative of my life in journals, but, alas,  I only write in them when I am feeling blue.  And that is sad!  I have mused on the loss of a friend with leukemia, and days spent sobbing after my favorite cat was put down because her kidneys were failing.  And why hang on to all this sadness?  How can I get rid of these journals?

It would be symbolic to purge the sadness by make a bonfire of the diaries, but that is illegal:  open burning pollutes the air.   What other methods?Shredding? However, it takes about an hour to shred a single page on our Office Depot shredder.  Perhaps there are super-shredders at one of the old photocopying stores.   

THE BULLET JOURNAL.  A few days ago, when I looked up New Year trends, many magazine writers and bloggers cited the “bullet journal.” I have had trouble grasping the concept, but it seems to be a planner.  The women’s magazine Good Housekeeping claims that  bullet journals are sui generis.  “Unlike traditional organizers and planners, this method encourages authors to examine how their goals, tasks, and responsibilities make them feel. Instead of a standard checklist, bullet journaling requires daily, monthly, and yearly reflections along with bullet points and asterisks.”

Well, that is fine with me, though I’ll stick to my planner.  

WHAT ABOUT ALBUMS?  I would like to see a revival of old-fashioned albums, like the one in Jane Austen’s Emma.  When Emma and Harriet ask Mr. Elton to write in an album, he writes a romantic riddle, which Emma is sure is for Harriet; no, it is for Emma.  Other friends write verses. 

 Autograph albums were briefly trendy in my childhood.  We never met famous people, but who cared?   My friends wrote a lot of goofy stuff.

What is your favorite kind of journal?  Or do you get rid of them, in which case you must tell me how!

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