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Going Old-School

My new(ish) journal! Isn't it a beauty?

I started keeping a journal in 8th grade. Back then it was one of those cheap paper composition books that I was required to keep for Social Studies. I ended up using it only twice before the teacher forgot all about it. I remember one of those entries was about a volcano eruption--maybe Pompeii?--and was written in really large, sloppy writing.

So I was cleaning out my backpack on the last day of junior high and came across that practically empty composition book. I was feeling a little emotional, so on the bus ride home, I wrote an entry talking about how much I would miss my teachers and my friends. From that point on, I was hooked. I started writing in a journal regularly.

By the time I started college, I had thirteen journals, filled from cover to cover with ink. A few times in high school I ran out of pages and I wouldn't yet have the money to buy a new one, or it'd take weeks before I could hitch a ride to the mall's bookstore (a 30-minute drive), so I'd fold sheets of notebook paper in half and staple them together. Those improvised 'books' were never counted toward my thirteen-book-total.

Sometime after marriage, I stopped writing in journals and locked them all away in a small safe. Last year I burned them in my fireplace. I know that sounds shocking, and it still pulls at my gut when I mention it. I won't get into the reasons here, but I felt like they needed to go.

Which brings me to blogging. I started a blog back in August of 2009. I got really into it. It scratched my itch to journal but, unlike my physical journals, was editable and colorful. I loved being able to customize my blog and make it feel personal, and I really loved being able to edit posts as many times as I wanted, or even delete entries. I ended up keeping that blog for twelve years. But like my journals, that era had to end. Once I gained a small audience, blogging started to feel more like a chore than something I enjoyed, and I was tired of forcing myself to keep up with it. So last month I posted a closed sign and haven't looked back. Fitting, since it was December 2020.

There is a small smattering of posts here on my website which seems like I'm contradicting my own decision to quit blogging, but that's only because authors are *supposed* to keep blogs on their website so that readers can stay updated on events and new releases. I've been very clear from the beginning that this isn't a proper blog. I don't feel any obligation to write here, and definitely not with any regularity.

I don't miss blogging at all, but earlier this month I realized that I was getting that familiar itch to write down general musings again. Not every day, just once in a while. So after twenty years of not journaling, I broke down and bought the book you see above. I can't believe I've come full circle again!

Here's the inside.

Big blurry blob aside, it's lovely, right?

It's taking me some time to adjust to the fact that I can't go back and edit what I've written. That's a bit unnerving. I also need to slow down because I'm nearly halfway through the book (it has 250 pages), and it's not like a blog where the amount of writing can be infinite. I don't want to be in the habit of replacing this thing every month; as you can see, I didn't buy a cheap one. But those caveats aside, I am loving the freedom of writing in a private space again, versus writing for an audience. After a long and scenic blogging detour, I've finally got my catharsis back.

Now cross your fingers for me that I don't end up burning this one.


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