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On Journaling

[Note: This will likely be the first of a few posts on journaling, as most of it gets consumed with the story of George and Eva (read on) and strays away from my own personal journaling methods.]

I’ve been journaling on and off for most of my life in one capacity or another. I recently organized my room and went through my old journals and found them going all the way back to 1996. In addition to this, I’ve kept blogs on and off since the late 90s (I can’t seem to remember the exact date I started, but am working on figuring it out). Unfortunately, my writing isn’t consistent. It starts and stops, usually starting after something really sad (deaths of loved ones, ended friendships, breakups etc) and then tapering off as I get over it or just get too lazy or tired to write. Another aspect I always grapple with is wondering if my writing is worth it. I read a lot of memoirs and journals and find many of them to be so beautifully written, introspective, full of insane amounts of descriptive details, etc that it makes me self conscious about my own writing. Earlier this year I decided I want to write again but couldn’t work it into my routine. Enter the One Line a Day journal.

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I first discovered One Line a Day over at Mini Penny Blog a while back. I saw a photo of it and thought “That seems cool” and then forgot until months later. I randomly remembered it one day and ordered myself one. The book is really cool, there is a page for each day of the year and five spaces with a few lines each so you can fill in what you did each day over five years. I received and started my One Line a Day journal in May. It was easier than regular journaling because the lines are so small it just takes a minute to jot something down. It felt really rewarding and I kept up with it easily… and then something funny happened. Writing in my One Line a Day (OLAD from here on out because writing it repeatedly is getting weird) book became so routine that suddenly I found myself a little irritated at the lack of space to write. I kept writing smaller and smaller until finally I broke down and took out my most recently used journal (started in April 2010, woof!) and began writing both in OLAD and long form entries. Initially, my old self consciousness crept in, judging my own writing (which is ridiculous because it’s my private journal and only I see it anyway), getting annoyed with myself, etc. But as the months went on something funny happened, sure my entries involved mundane synopses of my days but they also became more introspective and dare I say… interesting? I have to admit that although I do write primarily for myself because I find it cathartic, I also consider who will own and possibly read my journals in the future. I used to be less detailed about some, err, more personal matters in my journals for this reason but I got over that aspect of it.

Part of the reason I consider this fairly often is that I also have a collection of antique journals. One of these is my grandmother’s (and someday a handful will be my mother’s), but most of them belong to George and Eva Rudiger. I’ll explain:

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