Monday, April 14, 2008


I'm going to be packing all my old journals away into a storage box. Before I make them so difficult to access that I may not bother to read them again until the next time I move to a new home, I thought I'd give them some blog space.

First diary, 1983, age 10:

I thought it would be fun to share some examples of my writing from back then, but reading it now, it mostly makes me cringe. It's clear that I wasn't a happy kid. Add to that a lot of anxieties that made me uptight, prissy, and judgmental, and the result isn't terribly charming.

Looking for something interesting... Ah, here we go. A glimpse of my life at 13:

Tues. Nov. 12, 1985, 10:00 pm

JM is such a bastard! I'd like to see him get hit by a truck. In music class I sat down in the middle row. J walked up, stuck his nauseating butt in my face and as soon as I turned away he sat down on my lap. I thought I would vomit. He is a vile toad.

I didn't swear back then. I thought that made me a better person. But honestly, "vile toad"? That's so lame. I think I would've felt better if I'd used a few strong cusses instead.

The Pierrot diary from 1989, age 17. It's full of weepy stuff about my stormy relationship with a boy.

The journals of the next few years repeat the same themes. Ups and downs depending upon the varying affections of boys. Feeling trapped at my parents house. Wanting to be more popular. Predictable teenage stuff.

Thu Jan 11, 1996

(I had recently moved in with my ex.)

I weigh one thousand thousand pounds and I can't feel a thing. I'm dizzy. It's so quiet + dark + cold + I can't move. I'm not quite frozen but the snow lies heavy on me. If I thrash around my body doesn't move from the outside - my bones just thrash around in their aquarium of wet fat. I can barely open my eyes. I'm waiting for someone to come + help me, but who ever ventures so far out into the arctic tundra on such a cold night? Who could possibly be looking for me? I wish I could move on my own, but I sat here too long + fell asleep + while I was asleep I grew fatter + fatter until it was too late. Being awake is only frustrating to me + I hate myself.

Yeah. I had problems. But at least by then my writing was getting better.

1998, The Fairy:

It's not that I never had fun. There were good times with friends, adventures, parties, etc. But in these journals, I always returned to a resting place of melancholy.

Jan 29/99

I spend my life procrastinating as we all do. I put off truth, I put off emotion, I avoid the pain of really seeing. The truth hurts. All truth hurts. Even beauty is pain because of its transience. Every time I open my eyes, I weep.

Sometimes I want to dump every last volume onto a blazing bonfire.

2001: Curious George. The Listless Panda has notes in it from some creative projects across several years.

My all-time favourite journal ever, from 2004: Evil Bats!
I bought this at a crafts show. Now I wish that I'd bought the matching Evil Bats! handbag, even though it was pricey.

I am now desperately searching for something positive, anything at all remotely happy, to insert here. Let's see... depressed... bored... tired... afraid... angry... For Pete's sake! OK, to be fair, these writings are not a true representation of my life. I used my journals as a way to blow of negative steam and work through confusing problems. When I was happy I had no urge to write. I just wanted to hang out and enjoy the happiness.

Ah, here's something...


Dream: I am in shallow water under a tree covered in white blossoms. The sun is coming up and the colours of the sunrise (gold and pink) are reflected in the water, which is not merely a pond but covers the ground as far as I can see in all directions. As the sun rises the white blossoms furl open, which is beautiful. Other people have joined me to watch. Suddenly a huge swell in the waters, like a tsunami, approaches, lifts us all, and carries us out to the open sea. Just when I am almost to the point of no return, the water carries me back to safety.

Classiest journal so far, from 2005: Cranes

I'm not writing much in my journal these days. Blogging does a good job of scratching the creative itch. And also, I'm relatively content. There's not much steam to blow off. I'm as happy as I've ever been, and I'm grateful for that.


unsigned said...

Evil Bats! Watch out! We're in bat country!

Nicole said...

I threw my journals away.
Wish I wouldn't have.
I doubt they were very positive either. That's what journals are for, no?
Glad you are much happier now, I can say the same of me.

Leighann said...

I was once told that I should "write the negative out". Which means you write until it turns positive.

I realized that for me, negativity breeds negativity. I wrote almost constantly for a week!

Okay maybe I exaggerate just a stitch. ;)

Karen said...

I keep mine in a box in the attic. But I did record a lot of the "highs" of growing up. And the heart aches seem sort of silly to me now. Only the writings about my mom being sick still have ability to get at me.

Great post!!!

Tink said...

Does anyone write happy stuff in journals? I have at least seven books filled cover to cover with rants and laments and really bad poetry. :)

Thank you so much for sharing.

Dianne said...

Every one of the journals is lovely. All mine are B&W composition books. The early ones are full of hating parents, siblings, boys. Then they all seem to be about my son.

I haven't looked at them in a long time but I like knowing they are there.

Sparkling Red said...

Unsigned: Well, that explains everything.

Nicole: I threw away a sketchbook I had filled with all sorts of morbid images... but once it was gone I remembered some cool stuff that was in there too, and I was sorry to have let go of it. I won't do the same again. :-)

Leighann: Too true. It's easy to get caught up in negativity, and I've been a repeat offender. Blogging is much better, because I know there are certain commenters who will whup my ass if I throw a pity party for myself.

Karen: You had good foresight, recording your highs. I'm glad to hear that those memories are more powerful than the heartbreaks. :-)

Tink: If the respondents to this post are representative in any way of average journal writers, then the Writers of Happy Things are definitely in the minority. I'm glad to say that I mostly stayed away from writing poetry. I think I might implode if I had to read pages of florid verse from my teen years. ;-p

Dianne: I've heard it said that one should not invest in fancy journals, because then we are more likely to be judgemental of our writing. Like, some inspirational scratchings might be fine in a spiral-bound workbook, but seem Not Good Enough for a bound volume. I can see the wisdom in that.

R.E.H. said...

Wow! It's got to be fun to have so many years of thoughts written down though. I know I wrote a diary for a couple of months when I was 13... would be fun to find where that darn thing is!

Aurora said...

What beautiful photos of your journals. Their covers are so fascinating; you could read so much into the images without even reading the words.

Jenski said...

I love how all of the diaries/journals are different and great. It is slightly painful to read what I would write about too. It is definitely a good way to get out worries. I have a lot written about boys. I also tried to write regularly while I was abroad.
Thanks for sharing!

1218Blog said...

I wish I would have kept my journals over the years. But I was always afraid someone was going to read them, so I would literally burn them when they got all filled up. Talking about having problems....

Nicole said...

Neither would I.
My stomach still hurts when I think of it... :(

Sparkling Red said...

R.E.H.: I'd love a peek into your mind at the age of 13. I still don't understand boys of that age.

Aurora: Thanks. :-) Some of them are fancier than others, but they are all my beauties.

Jenski: Keeping a travel journal is smart. I know I wouldn't trust my memory to hold everything good about a special trip.

1218blog: I can understand why you would do that. Once I had someone close to me read my journal, and then confront me with what he'd found inside it. That was a terrible day.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Oh. Wow.

OK, now I'm happy I never kept a diary while growing up (as an adult is a different matter). You have done your good deed for the day. ;-)

Nilsa S. said...

I used to write in journals as a kid and teenager. And you definitely said it right - we tend to write when we're feeling down and need an escape or closure. These days, I write because I enjoy writing, so you hopefully get the ups as well as the downs.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I guess my blog is my first real journal. Maybe guys just aren't encouraged to keep a journal as much as girls are? I think your journals are cool and let you look back in time to who you were so you can appreciate who you are now.

Sparkling Red said...

Keera: There you go! No regrets. :-)

Nilsa: I also love to write. I find writing for an audience is totally different from writing just for me. It's a much more positive experience.

Ron: True, I'm surprised when I find that any man kept a journal as a boy. But adult men, writerly types, have kept some famous journals. I don't think anyone will want to publish mine after I die!

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