Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Journal Writing

I am an advocate of journal writing, which is one of the reason I have a blog. Blogging is one of the best ways to journal where I can post my thoughts, feelings and happenings of my life and people can read it...or not. Even if no one read my blog, I would still write on it faithfully, the same as I write in my journal. I'm not great at writing in my journal, after all, it's usually about 1 a.m. when I'm climbing into bed and my eyes can't stay open long enough to ensure I'm writing between the lines and I'm so exhausted or laying in a weird position that my handwriting is barely legible. Still, I do it, because I know that there is some importance in keeping a record of my life here on earth.

I write my journal entries as though I know someone will one day find them interesting enough to read. That means, of course, that I don't always confess things straight out, or I have to take extra time explaining something that I would know instantly. Still, I'd be mortified if someone came into my room and just picked up my journal and started reading. Despite what some may think, I do actually censor this blog for who I know is reading. My journal, however, is different.

That of course doesn't stop me from flipping through and reading old journal entries. I wish I would record happier things. I've noticed that this latest journal (one that my old roommate, Maria, made for me for Christmas with a picture of things that we enjoyed when we still enjoyed living together) which spans almost 2 years, has basically the same themes in each entry. Apparently, I am using my journal as a way to scold myself. As if I don't get enough scolding from friends and family who love me dearly. The biggest difference of course, is that I'm mean. I berate and belittle and name-call and write things in my journal that I would never give voice to anyone else but myself. It's disheartening to think that really if someone did read my journal, they would think not so well of me because my journal portrays me as a fat, lazy, unmotivated slob who isn't able to take control of her life or make changes. There are vows and commitments that have been abandoned by the next entry - mostly because I had forgotten that I had even written down that goal by the time I close the book. Occasionally there is mention of a boy that I hate - hate, because I secretly liked him and he never noticed -- or worse, did notice and then ignored me still - and a date sporadically. Other times there are great testimony builders and recorded scriptures that meant something to me. And in the end, I think i am the only person who will treasure my journals.


The whole reason I've even been thinking about my journals at all is because I just finished reading These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. It's probably one of the better books I've read recently. And it is written in the format of a journal. The journal of Sarah Agnes Prine who write the tales of her life as a pioneer woman living in the Arizona territory just before the turn of the century. She write about the Indian wars and shooting guns and losing a father, a brother, two husbands, children and all sorts of calamities and mishaps with the land and its people. I read her journal entries (it's fiction, but very well researched from what I can tell) and think that her life is by far more interesting than mine will ever be. Not that I'd want to lose my brother to a rattlesnake bite or discover a man who had been trapped under the rotting carcass of his horse for a few days... But even when she talks about mundane things like doing laundry, or the cistern running low on water or making a trip to town or the passion she had for finding a wagon full of books I was so enthralled with the life that she was living. I can't imagine anyone caring about the TV shows I like to watch or the fact that I've been working on one class for six years of my life or how I desperately need money to accomplish the things that I am quite certain I will never be able to accomplish.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction. This has everything. Romance, Indians, shootouts, death... etc. I may have even welled up once or twice.


But still, I continue to write. Because one day, maybe our world will become like the Jetson's, and people will wonder what it was like to drive down I-15, yelling and cursing Utah drivers instead of cruising through the atmosphere like it was nothing. Who really knows?

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