Thursday, April 14, 2011

Journaling can be a risky business




I had dinner last night with three of my former work colleagues whom I get together every few months or so. We talked a bit about the workplace I left just about a year ago, making me feel very glad I made that decision to leave. 

Toward the end of our evening one of the women shared with me that she'd like to do something besides work -- something creative. I suggested classes at El Camino City College and South Bay Adult School – in jewelry making, pottery, painting, or even a language, but she said she’d like to get into writing. I asked her if she journaled, and she actually physically moved away from that subject. She said she couldn’t write down anything private for fear of it getting into the wrong hands.

Of course that’s the fear of all of us who journal, but it hasn’t stopped me. At first I wrote in notebooks – the finer the better. I especially love the ones I bought in France and later found at Banner Stationer’s in El Segundo – Clairefontaine. The pages are very thick and slick and don’t show through to the backside when written on in ink. Also the covers are in beautiful jewel-tones. I always feel like I’m writing in a very special place when I write in those notebooks. 

However, a few years ago – after being so careful to clutch my notebooks close to my chest any time I was out and about – I left one in the seat pocket in front of me while on a flight home. And personally going to the airline’s lost and found didn’t get the notebook back. Now I use my notebooks for taking workshop notes. I write my journal entries on my computer. Of course that doesn’t guarantee privacy. To combat that I have a separate folder for my journal documents only accessible with a password.  The only way I’ll ever forget my password is if I lose all my marbles – probably not very likely.

So I told my friend not to be daunted about starting her journal writing -I suggested she start wrting about fifteen minutes a day. I’ve been doing in regularly for over twenty years and have never felt violated. Also I've found it to be a good way to kick start any kind of writing piece. My forthcoming memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, all began with my journal entries. 

2 comments:

Barb said...

I, too, journaled daily for a long, long time. I have (literally) boxes of notebooks. I like the idea of journaling on the computer better, though I haven't done much of it. As for the notebooks, I'm considering shredding them. I'm not sure I want to leave my innermost thoughts for my children and grandchildren to read. You are very busy leading up to your book's release - good luck and stay well.

Madeline Sharples said...

Thanks so much, Barb. Yes sometimes I feel overwhelmed. But if my book has the slightest chance of being a resource for others it will be worth it.
I like the idea of shredding your notebooks. My son and I have a deal about his getting rid of mine when I'm gone - and getting rid of my computer journals too.
You take care, too.