"Journal writing is a voyage to the interior." Christina Baldwin
My previous blog led me to think about another favorite hand written activity. I have kept a journal since I called it a diary. My collection of journals spans grammar school crushes, high school dramas, college adventures, loves that flourished and flopped, a lot of moves, successes and my children's lives from pregnancy onward. They have captured the moments my friendships were made and the moments some of them ended. I find myself transported back in time with every re-read.
In my HS we had to write in our journals at the start of every English class for all 4 years there. These counted toward your grade and were checked, withouth being read we were assured and pretty much true since no action was ever taken to my knowledge, by our teachers. It was after all the previous century before cell phones and beepers so these were our text messages. They were left in lockers, our own with shared combinations, for friends to pick up read what you were thinking and comment on their day. They capture a lot of time planning "accidental" meetings with boys we had crushes on, pushing a lot of limits, dances, leaving the borough on our own and lots of complaining about how we were bored and had nothing to do all while doing a lot of nothing in alley ways, candy stores, and school yards. People appear in these pages who I would not recall otherwise, as well friends who are still an integral part of my life. They are mini time capsules (remember the walkman, the vcr, Atari, playing video games outside of your house for quarters, cheap cigarettes, capezios, 45s, Friday Night Videos, non-cable tv tat ended at some point, mc jackets, hoodies with dungaree jackets, ear cuffs, roach clips...). They help me remember our innocence and loss of it. Last year I went to my 25th (gasp...how the hell did that happen?!) HS reunion passing by these same lockers, walking through the place that I had written about in the journals, the place all of us who had at one time felt as we could not leave fast enough now crowded with those same people who could barely pull themselves away when the reunion ended.
The post HS ones chronicle lots of dancing, very little sleep and a lot of travels with friends that make me smile even as I write this. These have less angst, less boredom but more passion and understanding. They capture my very long on and off relationship with my husband and those who held his place when we were not together. My children's milestones in utero and as they grow, chronicled with the love and awe I feel at having them in my life.
My journals are everything from marble notebooks to beautifully crafted bound books. Some are a few books I wrote, some are poetry and all are very much a legacy of my life. If my boys ever read them, it would tell them their Mom was more complex than they may have thought and give them a sense of a girl and woman who loved her life even when her life wasn't loving her back and who appreciated all the good things it had to offer.
"Every man's memory is his private literature" - Aldous Huxley