My pens.
My pens.

It is very encouraging that I am far from alone when it comes to keeping journals.

My recent post to Google Plus unearthed a whole slew of people who love to write as much as I do. That gives me hope and makes me happy.

My journals.
My journals.

I started that post with a photo of my pens. Unfortunately you cannot post more pictures on Google Plus threads. A strange oversight by people as obsessed with cat gifs as the Gundroons.

So I had to post here with the second pic, which is of one of my archive boxes filled with my journals.

Before the great Brisbane flood of 2010/11 I might have had three hundred journals. Now I have five of these archive boxes, each holding around eight books. I am jealous of M Sinclair Stevens’ Leuchtturm acquisition, but my books tend to be whatever I can get my hands on.

In the left foreground is a current journal, topped with my reading glasses and my Parker Jotter. In those boxes is laughter, heartbreak, despair and exhultation. In the journals lost to me now are lives begun and ended, wars and murder, and all the things that make a man what he is.

This post is for Sinkers and Giselle.

Sorry the photos are so crappy. but I don’t have a camera at the moment.

5 thoughts on “Journalling”

  1. My face goes white when I think of your journals lost to the flood. But 300! I had no idea. I have maybe 50.

    I think the better part of my intimate writing is in letters. I moved when I was a teenager and during my first two years in Texas I kept no journal except what was recorded in the letters I wrote to my boyfriend back home. When I finally returned home, and we ended up breaking up, he threw my letters out rather than return them to me. An unforgivable sin, in my eyes. I always felt that those two years were erased from my life and, at various times, have made some effort to piece together what had actually happened.

    So you have experienced one of the things I fear the most: the loss of all I’ve written. I don’t know how you bear it. I would be adrift. The only solace would be that there is nothing that can be done. For some reason, that makes things easier for me. It’s the situations where something could have been done differently to prevent it, especially if it done by me, that make me crazy.

  2. It is unthinkable – until you have no choice but to face it. It is bearable only by recalling that it it might have been a life or a limb that was lost.

  3. Peter and Sinkers,

    A New Year’s Day computer crash filled me with fear that I had lost everything I’d written in the last 15 years. Whether by pen and paper or via computer, all writing seems so very perishable to me. My own love affair with hand-written letters started when I was quite young. My parents had been inveterate letter writers and my mother’s desk drawers were stuffed with ones from Dad she had kept since they first met near the end of WWII. But when she died in 2004 I discovered even more – literally shoe boxes full of letters from him to her (Dad loved to buy her shoes), and from his family in Italy to him dating back to WWI (my father was much, much older than my mother). Almost all are on now quite yellowed parchment, but still entirely legible and I have since unfolded them and put them each in protective sleeves with their envelops. (My stamp loving brother cut off almost all of the postage stamps.) They make up four huge binders, which, when the tornado sirens howl in Spring and Summer and early Fall her, I imagine could easily enough become Gone With the Wind.

    There are only a few things that I have that I cannot bear the thought of parting with, so I am white-faced like MSS when I think of losing my father’s Civil Air Patrol medals and pins and his flight jacket, an lovely pen and ink he did while in Italy, all of the art and black and white photographs that my mother gave me…and scores and scores of letters between my parents and from my Italian relatives. At their core my parents’ letters are a testament to love (to say that they are romantic would be a major understatement), but beyond that they are also a serious and open investigation of their religious and political beliefs and non beliefs, and an examination of their sentiments about their families – the freedoms and prisons they created for each of them in different ways.

    In my apartment in New York there is an old beat up vinyl suitcase that I used when I was in college that is filled with all of the letters, postcards and notes I received when I was a girl, teenager, college student and young woman newly moved to New York. I kept virtually everything anyone sent me, but never ventured to ask whether any of my pen pals saved the letters I wrote to them. I would feel the same as you, MSS, at a beau who had thrown out my letters. There is something about that action that is downright soul dismissing.

    To be honest, even before my surgery, writing letters had begun to feel lonely to me, something I have only recently begun to understand. I can no longer write that way with any regularity. And, I suppose, now that I am no longer adding to our family legacy of written letters, I hold on tighter therefore to those I keep from my parents. How awful am I for having taken every last one I could get my hands on? I left not a one for my sister and brother. Nor did they express any interest.

    “In the journals lost to me now are lives begun and ended, wars and murder, and all the things that make a man what he is.”

    And that make a woman who she is, Peter…that make a woman who she is.


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