I started keeping a daily journal when I was eleven. I also remember earlier attempts, scribbling in little A6 composition notebooks about the newt population in the garden pond and the neighborhood cat which I'd christened "Elsa" ("Born Free" was my favorite movie at that time), but I didn't stick with the project in earnest until 5th grade. At the same time I used to write stories (about horses, mostly) and illustrate them but I always kept them strictly separate from my diary.
|My diaries from age 11 to 12. A path into the past, but rarely walked. ;)|
The timing for starting a diary was good as it wasn't one of my best years and I believe even back then writing about it helped dealing with the more problematic stuff. I remember how some of my friends also started a diary and sometimes we would spend evenings sharing things we'd written about and read selected pages aloud. Sometimes the text felt like a totally different person than the one I knew and talked to every day; like a peephole into another world, right around the corner and yet totally hidden from view. I still remember vividly how amazing that felt.
|This Chinese notebook still has a certain appeal to me.|
One of my first diaries was one of these Chinese designs. I simply adored their colorfully illustrated pages and silky smooth covers often depicting trees, boats and pavilions. Sometimes looking at the covers was like a glimpse at another universe as well, strange and mysteriously peaceful. I still like this little midnight blue book.
|My journals from age 11 to 30, part 1.|
As puberty lurked right around the corner I found even more uses for keeping a journal (as pretty much everyone who still has a journal from their teenage years seems to agree, those texts can be a pretty embarrassing read at times but nonetheless revealing and interesting). Soon it had become a habit. I took some breaks in my early twenties and there was even a period when I used the PC for journaling, probably due to the fact that I'm much faster at typing. Since about 2010, however, I've been back to fountain pen and paper.
|My journals from age 11 to 30, part 2. Doesn't look as much as it feels when carrying them around!|
I definitely have forgotten a few but these are the journals I filled from age 11 to 30. Of most I recall suprisingly clearly when and where I bought them or who gave them to me and what my life was like while I filled them with my thoughts. Most of them are bound in paper, some in cloth, others have hand made covers or even spiral bindings (I hate spiral notebooks). There's one with a cover made of thin aluminium sheets and even - yes, I'm going to admit it - one depicting a horse. Most are A5 size which is still my favorite size for a notebook.
I rarely look into them but wouldn't toss them all the same, not only because of the occasional letters, photos and keepsakes between the pages. Should anything happen to me, however, I definitely don't intend to leave them to anyone and would rather have them burnt (has anyone ever heard of a ghost who has returned because of being to embarrassed to rest in peace?).
Do you keep a journal and what do you do with the filled books?