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Monday, December 29, 2014


The Public Diary

Buried in the back of my closet, a box sits, unopened for the past eight years. Inside,  a dozen or so bound books - diaries, if you will - from various points of my life. The first, a leatherbound tome that my godfather gave me when I graduated from college. I filled it with quotations and poems and frivolous stuff that, at the time, seemed so important.

One of the others is a book I began when I turned 40. I called it my happiness journal. That book became my therapist, my reason for not letting depression get the best of me.

Each of these journals is an interesting read from a certain point in my life. While some entries are generic, either in content or point I'm trying to make, and suitable for public eyes, other entries were written for my eyes only. And that gives me pause. What will happen in 50 years (yes, I'm going to live to age 100 - positive thinking), I'm not certain I want my daughters to read about my escapades.
Or perhaps I do.

That's got me thinking lately. In a time when most of us are on Facebook or Twitter or write blog posts, we're leaving a digital diary trail for anyone to read. Our autobiographical online journals/diaries are broadcast to a worldly audience, an intimate expression of self-disclosure.

I'll admit that I don't write in a physical diary as much as I used to, but I'm not sure if it's because after writing and editing newspaper stories all day, I'm tired and don't have the creativity to write at the end of the day or if it's because I'm using online versions more. A hundred years from now, will someone hold one of my diaries and use it as an educational tool about life during two different centuries and the hardships endured and joys encountered? That's difficult to do with a Facebook post.

One goal I plan to work on is keeping an updated, physical chronicle of what I find important. Diaries and journals play a key role when it comes to first-person research, a tool for self-discovery and a means of self-expression. A lot of times, that takes more than a 140-character snippet.

Do you keep a physical diary or journal?

by LuAnn Schindler

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Blogger Margo Dill said...

I don't. But I do scrapbook and try to journal what we did at least, to keep track of for my kids. I also am thinking of doing Mari's 27-day journal challenge starting Jan. 1. I have the workbook already. Just have to sign up.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Judy H said...

I hav e kept journals since about 1972, while in high school. Sometimes more off than on. Currently, I have a large box of journals. From college days with swatches of quotes from Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (which I was told by my English professor was typical) to current times with semi-retirement and the second half of my life.

5:57 AM  
OpenID said...

I keep a paper journal. Each morning, I read a nonfiction book, and I write my thoughts about it in my journal. I include thoughts about what I want to achieve that day, and bits about what happened the previous day. It doubles as my gratitude journal. I find it cathartic to write with a pen in hand. The things I journal on paper are too personal to include on a blog or Facebook. No one really wants to know what my goals for the day are! Like LuAnn, I sometimes wonder what people may think if they ever read these at some future time.

8:16 AM  

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