Reading Old Journals.

I am one of those people. Even before blogging, even before the advent of computers, I kept a journal. I didn’t write every day, and often skipped months at a time. I started at age thirteen, and back then, I wasn’t actually writing about my life. For the first six months or so, I wrote about what my best friend was doing, since my life was so dull.

Over time,my journal became the place I could vent about things like how unreasonable my parents were (in hindsight, they actually were sometimes) and pick apart my latest relationship (“Is he too needy? I think so. But it’s nice to be needed. But his best friend is so cute, too…”).

My journals were the places I could be myself. In a life where I was expected not to rock the boat, all my ecstacy and vitriol and fight had to go somewhere. It went into these books. They were spiral notebooks, but I decorated their covers religiously with pictures from magazines, headlines from The Weekly World News, and stickers from the cannery.

Over the last decade or so, I have periodically weeded out the journals I didn’t need anymore. The ones from ages thirteen to sixteen went quickly, (Too embarassing to even exist; I burned them) but I have kept some of the later ones. And, may I just say, I’ll be chucking most of those soon as well. Holy Self-Absorbed Girl, Batman! Also, why was I so in love with Loser X, or even Needy Boy Y? How did I ever think Z was cute at all? My God, he looked like Mr. Ed!

I’ll be keeping a few pages where the writing doesn’t suck, or ones that have funny stories. And I’ll be keeping the covers. Some of those are pretty cool artworks.

10 Comments to “Reading Old Journals.”

  1. By sarah, January 15, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

    Wow! I don’t think I could do that.

    I will be carting around boxes of high school crap poetry and crushes on losers forever. My kids will have to do the weeding and throwing out.

  2. By Liz, January 15, 2007 @ 11:46 pm

    I didn’t want the posthumous embarassment. I can just see you all going through journals, thinking, “How come she can’t come up with a metaphor that isn’t strained?” And E, thinking, “Six months’ pining for a guy who cared more about having a clean car than having her?”

  3. By Pam, January 16, 2007 @ 1:04 pm—Burned, you say?

  4. By Beth, January 16, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

    I wrote a novel at 14. I was a Beatlemaniac so the novel was about 4 girls (me being one of them) who started their own band. We even appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. The only part of that book that doesn’t make me cringe was the name of the band. We were “IT” which I still think isn’t a bad name for a band. I found the book again when I was in my twenties and burned it with much glee. Ooooo, bad bad stuff.

  5. By cheesefairy, January 16, 2007 @ 9:40 pm

    I, like Sarah, cannot let go of the journals. Even the grade 5 diary w/lock which contains the Original List of Boys I Like.

    I think it was the summer of grade 7 that my best friend and I wrote a novel about a rose bush. It was an apartment building for bugs. It contained tenants like “the homosexual spiders” (one of whom, I remember, was named Keith) and the “teenage mother ladybug.” The landlord was a beetle.

    Kids are weird.

  6. By Liz, January 16, 2007 @ 10:41 pm

    OOh, Pam, I almost wish I hadn’t burned the really sophomoric efforts. They would do well at a Cringe reading!

    That is, until I read about Beth’s Beatlemania, and remember I wrote a story about Duran Duran when I was 12. I burned that one close to first, but the shame still rolls over me. Especially when I remember telling my mother the main character’s name was ‘Chickadee’. (cringe)

    Cheesefairy, I like the idea of Keith the homosexual spider. May I use him in something, if he fits?

  7. By cheesefairy, January 17, 2007 @ 7:59 am

    Sure. All Keith ever wanted was to fit in.

  8. By Pam, January 18, 2007 @ 9:03 pm

    Your journals/juvenalia burned, whereas a ton of today’s will bit-rot until kingdom come on MySpace.

  9. By stephanie, January 29, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

    I was in this crazy weird bad relationship for awhile in college and I kept a journal of it. I got mad once and burned it. I wish I would have kept it, because the journal I kept in 7th grade about the clothes that Brian Kehlert wore to school that day is boring.

  10. By Liz, January 31, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

    Stephanie, sorry, you got hung up in moderation. I went through a really messy relationship and having a journal really helped. Of course, when I read it now, the main theme is that I was an idiot, but…it’s not boring.

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