A Writer's 21st Century Memoir.

“J” is for Journal

J

Writers of Kern Blogging Challenge (A-Z)

On my eleventh birthday I received a fuzzy blue diary with a special lock and key from my mom to keep all of my thoughts and secrets. I was inspired to keep some sort of journal with me after reading a series of Dear America books about fictional children from different time periods who kept a journal of their experiences during historical events. I was fascinated by the way history came to life through the eyes of these characters.

They weren’t books just stating facts about different eras in American history. They were magnificent stories that included images and experiences with the added value of getting the sense of how people may have felt during those times. I looked around at the events that took place in my own life and began to write as if my diary was going to be found one day, long after I was dead, by someone who was interested in the time period that I lived in. My first entry was about how I came to be, my eleventh birthday, and the events that just happened on 9/11 when the Twin Towers fell.

At the time, I felt as though the first diary entry was the most significant piece of writing that I have ever produced so far. I was encouraged to write more about my life, my surroundings, and the way I lived (although not every day). I would discuss major life decisions, such as deciding what I wanted to do as a career in the future and why, where I wanted to go to school or travel to, and how I felt about major life events.journal

At times I would consider my journals personal letters to the universe and documentation of my life if I ever lost my memory. My journaling became scattered pieces of a rough draft to my autobiography, and something more in value to me than just inexpensive journals you pick up from random stores.

My collection of journals became so important to me, that when people would ask what you would save from a fire if all of your family was already out, I would say that I plan on grabbing my journals and my cat. Parts of my life have been gathered slowly on pieces of paper that have been sandwiched together. I was gifted art journals for sketches that I kept, and I began keeping written story ideas, poems and short stories together in some journals, and allowed them to get disorganized with thoughts written on napkins and loose-leafed sheets of paper. Even various entries in my blog became a publicly published journal.

All of my journals became some of my most prized possession in a way that old photos, not yet scanned onto computer or any other device, are for most people. And over half of my life, nearly 12 years later, I’m still keeping a journal and writing everything that I can down, and I hope to continue journaling until I can no longer journal anymore.

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5 responses

  1. I kept a diary from grade school which later evolved into a number of journals for many years as an adult. I came across my diary a few years ago when we were moving and was amazed at all the entries and forgotten moments.
    I haven’t kept a regular journal for about ten years and want to get back in the habit. The dad-to-day things we don’t think are important really are bits and pieces of our lives that will have significance some day.

    Like

    October 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM

  2. Way to go, Jasmine! Those journals are important to you now and will be all of your life. And to your kids and grand children, too. If you’re in The Bake on Oct. 26, you may want to be sure to come to the WOK meeting. The topic is Journaling.

    I love this: “At times I would consider my journals personal letters to the universe and documentation of my life if I ever lost my memory.” and I can picture a pre-teen Jasmine writing and thinking this very thing.

    Thanks you. xoA

    Like

    October 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

  3. I keep an intermittent bedside journal. I go spells of writing every day and other times I’ll go months without a word but it’s fascinating to pick up one of my journals from a few years ago and to realize how much I’d forgotten of what was happening then, what head-space I was in, etc. I didn’t start journaling even semi-regularly till college and find myself wishing I’d started earlier as you did. Very nice post.

    Like

    October 12, 2013 at 10:12 AM

  4. I was never good at journaling. It was never an everyday thing for me. I used scrap-booking as a way to hold onto the period of time that I lived in. I too thought about someone finding my stuff and learning what it was like to live in my town. Great Post!

    Like

    October 13, 2013 at 11:26 AM

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