I’ve written in one journal or another for 40 years. Here’s a picture of them. You can see my very first one, a paisley print on the far left tucking out from beneath a dark blue leather journal. Fourth from the top. Amazing that before they were colorful, bound or wire-ringed books, they were trees.
But last week, with a very full glass of wine that I filled twice, I went through my journals, reading some passages, skimming others. And then, I thanked each one, ripped out the pages, built a fire and fed the pages into it.
Here’s what it looked like in its early stages:
The fire burned for four hours as it consumed rants, to do lists, plans for the future, vents, wishes, dreams, annoyances, story ideas, rage, gratitude, doubt, praise, doubt, uncertainty, fear, doubt, whining, joy, relief, and more doubt. Me, usually with a pen, working things out. To get to here.
You can see it burn here:
I couldn’t let go of them all. I saved both of my pregnancy journals for my daughters. And I couldn’t let go of my first one from 1973.
I also kept the covers. I have an art project in mind.
But I wanted to remember the burning. So I can remember the mix of emotions I felt as I watched: light, strong and giddy.
In the morning, in addition to my memory and the images I’ve shared with you, this is what remained. I’m going to take the ashes and bury them in the earth where they began so another 13-year old girl will have paper on which to practice her writing and work things out.