Thursday, May 19, 2016

Journals, Old-Fashioned and Modern

For almost two months now, I've been experimenting with different types of journals, most of them offline.  Today I started yet another one--I've written 3 pages of my new 10 day shred journal (my 10 day shred is an elimination diet of sorts:  No gluten, no dairy, no alcohol.  Lots of veggies, fruits, and lean protein, plus nuts and seeds.  One or two protein shakes a day.  Start the day with a detox tonic:  1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar, 2 T. lemon juice, 4 T. cranberry juice.  Only one caffeine drink a day).

Why another journal?  I wanted to delve into my process and my thoughts, and I didn't think it would be of wide enough interest to write extensively about it in this blog.  Indeed, some of you might already be saying that I've delved into it quite enough.

I did something similar with my retreat week journal that I started as I went to Mepkin Abbey.  I knew that I couldn't pick up a signal and thus couldn't blog, but I wanted to record my thoughts.

I kept it separate from the offline journal that I keep, just so that I could find it easily; the same is true with my 10 Day Shred journal.  I now have a separate folder in my Documents file on the computer that is labeled "Journals of Various Sorts."  I have my offline journal there, along with my spiritual journaling that's a picture of each sketch I make, and my dream journal.

I no longer keep the journal I once had in a big, 5 subject, spiral bound notebook, but when I travel without my laptop, I do keep handwritten notes.

If ever I am deemed important enough for scholarly study, and if my handwritten papers and offline material still exists, it will be a lot for some future scholar to sift through.  But that is not my problem.

Longtime readers of my blog know that I periodically wonder how our online records will be processed by future scholars.  Many blogs are similar enough to old-fashioned (offline) journals that it's not a stretch to see future scholars analyzing those.

At Beth's blog, I responded to her post about the future of blogging with this comment:  "I love the blog as a place for both long and short formats, for pictures, as a sort of daybook or sketchbook or idea incubator or journal--a road map of my creative self, of all my selves. I would continue to keep the blog even if I knew I would be the only one reading it, because I use it to store ideas, to be my journal that I share with the world--and because in grad school, I was taught the importance of this kind of writing (less formal, more free-form, more collection of ephemera than polished/finished work) as a window to the artist's world, and as art itself (I think of the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth). I like the blogs of others for these very reasons too--they make me feel less alone in the world, and that, for me, is a compelling reason to keep blogging."

I do wonder how future scholars will deal with our Facebook sites along with Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and all the rest.  They do seem a sort of journaling too.  I know that there's been a lot of discussion about how honest we can be if we're putting our lives out on the internet.  I'm fairly honest, but there's plenty that I consider off-limits, which is why I have my offline journal. 

It seems like our online records might be preserved forever, but anyone who's had any sort of online presence for any amount of time knows how quickly things can vanish.  I used to take great joy over being published in online venues--but then some of those disappeared.

Of course, I realize that few of us will lead lives so accomplished that we're of interest to future scholars, although it's often hard to know at the time.  I think of people like Keats, who died when he was young; he died with no idea that he would be seen as one of the most important British poets of all time. 

The real benefit to keeping these daily records is to the record keeper.  And that's why I don't hesitate to start a new journal here and there.

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