Saturday, April 3, 2010

keeping a record.

[also posted at The Exponent]
I am an obsessive journal-keeper. Always have been. For most of my life, the record I kept was pretty banal: the minutia of daily life turned into faith promoting stories. There came a point several years ago when my journaling changed, I was working out serious life questions and no longer had what it took to write out nice safe faith promoting endings. It all became very raw. There were no answers (definitely none of the expected, prescribed answers one was supposed to find when 'searching'). At a certain point, I realized my journals were... dangerous? Meaning, I was no longer safe if anyone happened to pick one one and snoop. Well, I never would have been too thrilled to know someone had snooped in my journal, but now it was full of deep dark secret questions that I felt I really wasn't supposed to be asking. That I didn't want anyone to know I was asking. Dangerous.

The typical Sunday School line about journal keeping is that it is for posterity's sake, we are to keep records like Nephi kept records; faith, testimony, guidance for future generations blah blah blah...

I keep a journal as the last line of defense against insanity. I cringe at the thought of others reading these raw, misspelled, grammatically incorrect ravings of a mad woman, utterly un-prep-ed for public consumption.

Also I journal much more during my low times, therefore my book has very few of the puppies and unicorns and rainbows type entries. Mostly gloom and pain. Reminds me of a quote from The Hobbit:
".. but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much listened to; while things that are uncomfortable palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale and take a good deal of telling anyways."

I joke about having these dark dangerous ramblings all burned when I die. But truth be told, I love these books so much, I don't think I'd have the heart to. It's all part of the weird narcissism that urges me to record these things in the first place. Which reminds me of another quote, one by Simone DeBeauvoir that I have inscribed on the first page of my journal as a sort of warning/reality check to myself:
"Her Memories become fixed, her behavior stereotyped; she reiterates words, she repeats histrionics that have gradually lost all context, hence, the poverty of many diaries and autobiographies written by women; wholly occupied in burning incense to herself."

Anyhoo.... that's me. Do you keep a journal? What purpose does it serve in your life?

1 comment:

Stella said...

love your journal since the first time you posted it for all to see last year on your blog.

i journal. sadly, I blog more lately, but I do journal.