Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Here are my journals from 1972-2010. 51 notebooks filled with endless chatter about me and my life. These are word journals. Few drawings. I am debating whether to keep them or throw them out. They would be of little interest to anyone. Hard to decipher. I read through one from 2002 with a bit of interest but can't imagine myself reading through them all. Too painful as I mostly vented my angst about life.

Three dream journals covering about 15 years. For the rest of the time I noted my dreams in my regular journal.

Six quotation journals in which, when I was reading a book, I would note quotations that struck me. I also had some journals in which I wrote down every book I read each year but I must have thrown those out when I moved in 2004.

"The trail of words and pictures that I'm leaving is more complete than most people's but its still a trail of tips of icebergs, little slices of light and color that are all I can capture of the big masses moving underneath." Hannah Hinchman

"But threading through, in fact floating on top of all this matter, like sea ducks among the icebergs, are moments of the ordinary-made-extraordinary by the simple act of choosing and isolating them." pg72

Quotes from Hannah Hinchman's A Trail Through Leaves: The Journal as a Path to Place. Hannah Hinchman, a writer and artist living in Montana, has been keeping illuminated nature journals for over 30 years.


Aoife.Troxel said...

Hmmm. Maybe if you opened to a random page in each one and read it and if it interested you read a few more from that journal. If it didn't, you could just toss it at any stage.
At first I was going to say no, don't toss them, they represent so much of your life, but it isn't really them that capture all your hopes and dreams and angry moments, it's you yourself, so why not toss them if you don't want them? There is no reason to keep them if you feel there isn't.

Mary said...

a few years back i gathered my journals together and read here and there in them. i chose to get rid of them. to me they had become symbols of a past that i was ready to let go. i just took mine to the dump but a friend of mine had a little ceremony around disposing of hers and burned them in a bonfire.

journals are a funny thing. i let go of mine after clearing out my mom's home and my mother in law's home after their deaths. i just didn't want anyone else going through them. ultimately i think they were pretty dull, anyway.

for me, the writing of them is the helpful part of the process. now i toss them as i finish them ;-)

good luck. i'm sure you'll do whatever feels right for you....happy new year, by the way!

sukipoet said...

Thanks aoife.troxel. If I had become famous that would be one thing. I do have a son to whom I could pass these journals. I dont know if it is so much that I dont want them, but having been through so many deaths of relatives and friends and clearing out their stuff they saved it just seems a bit what is the point.

Mary, thanks for your insights. when I began these I thought i would keep them unto death, but as with you and as said above, I know that once I am gone they will most likely be destined for the trash heap anyway. A grandchild might have interest, sometimes such things skip a generation, but i have no grandchild. also I currently have no stable home in which to stick them up in the attic in. NOr does my son.

I like the idea of taking some and reading through parts to see if they draw me though.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

How funny. I am at that point that I am thinking of tossing also. They served the purpose at the time.. getting it out of the head and on paper, but now I don't want to relive them. Some are good for dates of some things happening but that's about all. I don't want others to have to deal with them either.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I boxed up years worth of journals a year or so ago. Then got them back out when I rearranged my bookcases. I didn't go back and read them. NO ONE would want to. It gives me some sort of comfort knowing I did exist back then. I do exist now. I have proof, just look at all of those journals.

m. heart said...

It's so interesting to read everyone's thoughts on whether or not to keep the old journals or not. I just went through a similar debate involving my own. Other than one I kept when I was 17-18, all of mine are childhood/pre-teen diaries and pretty ridiculous and embarrassing. I tossed the worst one in the wood stove immediately, and am still debating about the others. I think what Mary said about them being symbols of the past is appropriate. I feel similarly ready to let the past go.

Too bad we can't all get together and have a bonfire with old journals!

Annie said...

I like to keep my dream journals as I often go back and find dreams that came true, and the quotes are good to keep, but like you I find most of it too painful, best to get rid of those, I agree. xoxo

studio lolo said...

I wish I were a better journal keeper. I have a few that I've started and they all start out the same way~with wishes and hopes of improving myself in some way. And I always end up disappointing myself by not improving!

You'll know what to do with them. I do like opening random pages and seeing if they speak to you in the same way today.

Could be very enlightening.


Robin said...

Suki, I have kept journals since I was 10.... but a few years ago,
I opened a few and thought it was really time to let go of old memories - even the great ones - and move forward.

I find I keep the beautiful, meaningful times in my head and heart....while trying to let go of the painful and disappointing moments. These last two awful years were not chronicled by me....and I am really glad....it makes it so much easier to move forward. The older I get, the more I am convinced to let the past go....the future is so enticing...

Plus.... all those boxes take up so much room! (Ha-ha!)

But, in the end, as Lo said, you will decide what works best for you.... perhaps saving some and letting others go....

I see you changed your header....it's wonderful! Was that the problem you mentioned in your earlier post?

I hope you and Bibs are warm up on the Mountain....it must be gorgeous!


♥ Robin ♥

Kimmie said...

A long time ago I tossed out all of my adolescent and teen journals because they were so sappy ..... I have kept my adult journals - but never go back to them. They're just in a box in the garage. I suppose they are probably sappy too. But it is a very satisfying thing to get those thoughts out - especially when there's no one to talk to. They are like tips of icebergs though, aren't they? It is something to think about .......

patti said...

Suki I did morning pages for years and tossed them out without a backward glance. There is no point in keeping angst! Journals are simply a barometer of where you are at any given time and it's 'now' that's important. Releasing the past gives you a wonderful feeling of freedom!

Make sure you hang onto your visual journals, your art should be kept!

Anonymous said...

Oh, do you think that if all of us who keep journals were to string them together they would form a girdle around the earth? But don't ever get rid of them; no need to re-read - but what perfect fuel for future generations, and people know or unknown, what finds in antique shops, what image transfers, what re-purposing; what a wonder of life whether angst or otherwise. I too have so many scriblings, dating back to my young years, and may yet decide to slash and weave and stitch them into something else. But to destroy would be to pretend one had never existed. Lots of love for 2011.

Lynn said...

Love your latest banner! Foot prints in the snow! Lovely.

As for old journals. My DH says they should be sent to historical dispositories places that collect these journals to track what life was life when...Google it and see if they'd want yours. They very well might. Be part of history. What we think is humdrum or dull historians find valuable.

Me, I shredded some of my old ones! LOL

Katiejane said...

I have all my journals of both words and pictures dating back to 1996. I'm keeping them for when I am socked away in some nursing home and can't remember even my name! I'm hoping they can help clear up the confusion. :) I'll probably pass mine on to my neice.

...louciao... said...

Yay! You conquered the blogger block and managed to change your banner. Well done!

Those are a lot of journals. Personally, I'm mostly embarrassed or disturbed (by my lack of "progress" in life) when I come across random notebooks I've kept from time to time. As you say, lots of venting. Some pages, I'm now tearing into small bits to use in collages.

I think the important part is in the doing--the writing down and releasing of the emotion. The final, healing step may be to let it (them) all go.

sukipoet said...

loucacio, just a note. Yes, I can change my header but you can do that without going into template design. on the template design page I cant do anything although previously i was able to.

I have tossed some of my journals, the marriage journals, since writing the blog post. I am slowly looking through the others. yes, one might be good to keep to reuse in collage.

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow the church I am now attending is holding a burning bowl ceremony. I love the idea of getting rid of the old as a sort of rite of commitment to the present moment.

I used to be a very sentimental person who kept journals forever. I can't give you a logical reason why I finally started burning or shredding mine (a stack at a time every few years), only that it felt right for me. The benefits of purging came to outweigh the benefits of hoarding and stockpiling...things, memories, photographs, journals.

However, I agree with Annie that sometimes dream journals are helpful, and so I now keep mine online at Penzu.com. If I ever need to check back on what I dreamed, everything is there and not creating clutter under my bed or in my closet.

Happy New Year!