My childhood diaries, however, have gone the way of my baby teeth. Just as well. Some things are better left forgotten.
More recent journals are scattered about my home: stacked on the floor, stuffed into the back of shelves, and hidden in boxes in the closet. I wouldn't be surprised if some are propping up second-hand furniture.
Does this mean I'm indifferent to the contents of those half-remembered tomes? I prefer to see them as buried treasure. How much more poignant the words will seem when unearthed years from now. And perhaps their value will have grown during the passing years.
Consider the following description written during a morning freewrite at an oceanfront cottage:
"The way the foam dances ahead of the wave, it looks like nimble fingers on piano keys."
The line stayed in my head for years and eventually evolved into the following poem:
water washed over
cold crescent shore loosely keyed
Journaling is a valid aspect of any writer's life. Recording your observations on a daily basis provides practice and discipline. Try it for a week--just one page per day--and see if you're not convinced.
You just might realize that there's more to "keeping" a journal than choosing its storage location.
Betty Dobson is an award-winning writer of short fiction, essays and poetry. She also writes newspaper and magazine articles but is still waiting for those awards to materialize. In the meantime, she continues to run InkSpotter Publishing, which has three new books available and several more in the works for 2012.