Monday, February 21, 2011

Diaries, journals and childhood keepsakes

Lately I’ve been reminiscing about my child/teenage-hood diaries.
Most of them had cheap locks on them, that if you pulled with even the smallest amount of force, it’d practically fall open. I’d also often only write on half the page, or until I made a spelling mistake; and then frustrated with myself, I’d either tear the whole page out, or start again a few pages along.
I was a girl obsessed with perfection, and to some extent, I still am.
And the content? When I was young, it was random rememberings of beautiful days; as I grew, it became a collection of crazed rantings in which I fixated on the unfairness of situations and things, or in rare entries, the boys I liked.

There is one thing that I’m sure set me apart, in terms of journaling - that is, once they were full up with all my secrets, I burned them, one page at a time, in a stone furnace in our backyard. For some reason, I remember looking forward to this (almost) yearly cathartic burning – it was almost like by doing it, I was able to shed the skin of the previous year, leave behind all the nonsense, worries and craziness of the previous months, and start completely anew on paper.
And in terms of journals, starting anew is the best, isn’t it? Crisp blank pages, sometimes a brand new pen, neat orderly writing, and wild stabs at being poetic and/or imaginative.
I just loved those new journals; they each had such possibility.

As I got older, the burnings slowed, then stopped altogether – and now I have a small collection of journals that I don’t think I could part with, each one wrapped in tissue paper and stored carefully in a huge box in my closet. They’re sticky-taped shut, dated, and brimming with secrets and forgotten parts of my life – almost like mini time capsules. I like the idea of opening them up again when I’m wrinkled and grey and rediscovering my young, impulsive self.

Because I’ve been remembering journals and diaries, it’s made me think about whether my two little munchkins would be the type to keep them as they grow up. Granted, they’re still very young and can’t even write their own names; but if I can think of them as pseudo time capsules, it may just give me an opportunity to start a wee bit earlier.
And then, as if it was all meant to be, I stumbled across this blog post by Katie Rich, a Brooklyn based creative mum-extraordinaire, and promptly fell in love...

Ruth's journal entry from April 21, 2009 from Katie Did

Katie’s two girls, Eve and Ruth, illustrated the best part of their week in their own journals every Sunday, and with some explanations from mama Katie, produced something so beautifully age specific and special – an treasury of the best bits of their life over the course of a year, as seen through their own eyes.
Isn’t that just precious?

So, I thought I’d give it a go with Judah. At two-and-a-half, he’s able to tell me about what he’s drawing, and loves pencilling intricate spiralled objects, which could turn out to be our dog, a blue truck, or his little sister. I’m hoping that it’ll be an evolution of drawings over the next however many months and years, and an opportunity for me to pass on something I loved as a girl.


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