Thursday, May 18

How Important is the Journal?

by Margie Senechal

I've never been a good journal keeper. My diaries as a teenager were filled with the names of boys I liked and any snip of conversation, "Blank said hi!" And just for the record, how did they expect you to fit anything of substance on five abbreviated lines???

I was never one to write down my feelings or deepest thoughts just in case someone--and I'm looking at you, Deb--happened upon it and exposed me to ridicule--which was deepest, darkest teenage fear.

But, now I wonder if I've been derelict as a writer by not journaling. I always thought I had to write about my day--and just for the record, my life is kind of ho-hum. But, now they have journal suggestions or prompts. Hmmm, who knew?

And now that chinese curse--may you always live in interesting times--is running rampant, I wonder if I have a duty to keep a journal? No matter where you fall on the politcal spectrum, you can't help but wonder where we might be headed. We are today's witnesses to history as it's made.

Technically, history happens every day. Usually it sneaks right past us like a thief in the night. 

Had Anne Frank not shared her experience, would we be as invested in the victims of the Nazi regime? This is not to negate any experience by the Jewish people or what happened. But, Anne Frank's words gave us a connection that made us feel as if she were a friend, a cousin, a loved one and thus, gave us an intimate connection to the horror of that time.

I know I regret not having documented my daughter's lives as much as I should have. I thought I'd remember the details, but I've come to realize, I remember well the stories I've repeated, but the other stuff has faded over the years. Some stories are lost forever...

Which leads me back to journaling. History is written by the winners, they say. And God, Goddess, I pray that the union as we know it survives and my thoughts and words won't be needed.

But, what if....

And isn't that where all of our stories begin?


  1. yes, what if... I was never a good journaler, either, mostly because I didn't know what I was supposed to write about. I've done a decent job of writing down the silly/funny/cute things bebe has said (or done), and this year I bought a reading journal, and that has been fun. I write down what I like about a character or plot or setting (you know, when I remember to fill in the pages).

    Fun post, Margie!

    1. I've saved some of those moments, just not enough, I fear. I love the idea of a reading journal because these days, books kind of blur together. Lol

  2. I've never been much of a journal writer either. I also kept a diary as a teenager, which I destroyed when I left home. But I've never considered keeping a journal a duty because my life is so ordinary. You've made a lot of interesting points that have really made me think. Diaries from the past give a glimpse of the way ordinary people lived their lives. We are witnesses to history as we live it. By all means, Margie, keep a record. I'm sure your daughters will appreciate it in the future.

    1. I still have my diaries. lol When I was in grade school, Wilson Rawls, he who wrote Where A Red Fern Grows, visited my school and he advised never throw away anything you wrote. lol I have four filing cabinets to prove I took that advice to heart.

  3. I love journals, and have several of them, but I'm not good at journaling. I also have a gratitude jar, where I write notes on things I'm grateful for, and I'm better than that. Hopefully, that will be my contribution to posterity. :-)

    1. I love the gratitude jar! What a great idea.