Monday, July 14, 2008

Poor-man's Therapy

I've been keeping a journal in one form or another, on and off, for quite a few years. Some have been public in a blog, but most of it has been private in my handwritten books.

I started keeping a journal simply as a way to remind myself of things I've done. I still have all my notes from middle and high school still folded up in those crazy origami patterns to make it impossible to open easy. I like to look back and laugh at that silly 14-year-old who thought she knew it all. Now the journals collect my thoughts, feelings, and recollections of crazy antics. It serves as my own time capsule.

I find that I write more often and more eloquently when I'm going though some sort of emotional change. Usually when I'm starting a new relationship or ending one, the entries become more heart-felt. The pages have become my therapist and I reveal my soul through the ink.

Samara O'Shea wrote about her keeping a journal, "So to me a journal is that place to be unabashedly honest with yourself, and it's dangerous because you won't always like what you see. You'll look at your thoughts and say, "I don't actually think that do I?" You do and it's fine."

She has a new book coming out Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits that I'm interested in getting. In it she provides some suggestions and exercises:

  • Write in a stream of consciousness: Forget everything you ever learned about writing and just write. Let it all out: the good, bad, mad, angry, boring, and ugly.
  • Ask yourself questions: What do I want to change about myself? What would I never change about myself?
  • Copy quotes: Other people's words can help you figure out where you are in life, or where you'd like to be.
  • It takes time: Don't lose faith if you don't imme­diately feel better after writing in your journal. Think of each entry as part of a collection that will eventually reveal its meaning to you.

I like to write in my journal, but I would like to be able to leave my mark with some thing more substantial than nonsensical ramblings and sporadic pearls of wisdom. I want it to be something that will be insightful to future generations of my family. I want it to be a part of my legacy.

How about you? Why do you blog/journal?


  1. Yet again, Clau, you've posted something that I've had to write about on my blog because my comments are so long! Good post!

  2. i read this post, viewed the video, went off to Huff Po and got completely lost in writing my own post. I'd say you're pretty inspiring!

    Also, thank you for introducing me to Samara O'Shea's book. I'm going to check it out.