Posted by: chlost | August 13, 2011

Read all about it

When I was about to become a grandmother, I decided that I wanted to keep a journal.

Not a blog. A real, old-fashioned journal. With a leather cover. And lots of beautifully blank pages. And a satin ribbon to mark the pages.

So, off I went to Barnes and Noble and found the perfect book. It is bound in a soft leather. It even has the word “Journal” stamped on the cover.

My entries are not daily, sometimes there will be months in between my writing. But I am on the second book of the journal, and a third volume sits in the drawer of my nightstand, quietly urging me to fill its pages, too.

I am not exactly sure why I felt so compelled to start writing in a journal again. I had kept diaries and journals when I was a teenager. Most of those (yes, I still have them) are filled with “I luv Joe” and impossibly cute little drawings of hearts and the letter i dotted with circles. I guess that is just as authentic a representation of my life during that time as my current journal is a reflection of me right now.  It is just more embarrassing.

The act of writing in this journal by hand is something that gives me much satisfaction. It is completely different from typing on a computer keyboard.  My handwriting is often illegible and the sentences may be unintelligible. As I write, more stories and information come to mind. There are times when it is hard to write as fast as my brain is working. Other times, I have to struggle to get started, and sometimes I have to force myself to stop.

When I began the journal, my thought was to provide my grandchildren with a way to have the stories of me and my family. I often tell them what they are doing. If they read this someday, they may find it interesting to know what they were like as they were growing up. I also tell them about my sister, and others in the family they may not remember or even meet.

So, why didn’t I do this for my children?

Actually, I did start to keep a journal of sorts for my kids, but there never seemed to be enough time. I was working, and/or going to school, raising kids and trying to keep my sanity all at the same time. Often I was lucky to have enough time to take a shower. Now that I am older, I’m beginning to think of the time that I may longer be here to tell  the stories. I now have more time, and the stories seem to come to me.

At times I struggle to decide how personal I should be in them. Do I talk about some of my more intimate thoughts? So far, I haven’t. I am trying not to make it a diary. I hope my granddaughters don’t read it until they are at least in their 20’s, and as most of you know, they won’t really appreciate any of it until they are at least 40. When they are of the age to read it, it’s likely there will no longer be books in the world. There may be no one who writes things out by hand any longer. There may not be anyone who can read handwriting, no matter how well-formed the letters may be. In the same way that we struggle to read the manuscripts of ancient England, the world of my adult grandchildren may not be able to read a handwritten journal.

My granddaughters love books right now. They love to have an adult read to them. Although many kids I deal with at work don’t know how to sign their names, I am hopeful that at least my grandchildren will be able to read my journals someday. And even if they don’t, I enjoy writing in them. I suppose that it is as much for me as it is for them.

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Responses

  1. Your granddaughters are lucky indeed! I wish I had something like the journal you’re creating from my parents or grandparents! Whenever I find an old journal with little everyday stories from the everyday lives of my ancestors I send a heartfelt thank-you back through time to the writer for preserving his or her stories to satisfy the curiosity of descendants-to-be! Someday your granddaughters will cherish your journals more than you can know… What a wonderful gift to them!


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