February 2018

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Why Keep A Paper Journal?

Why am I keeping a paper journal? After I'm gone, what will happen to it/them? I enjoy nice paper and fountain pens and good ink. But what will that matter afterwards?

The weirdest thing is that I think my online journals might last longer. And be more permanent. And, well, be read by more people.

In times past, one's journal was probably never read by anyone else after one's death unless one happened to be famous or relatively so. Now, with online blogging/journaling, anyone's journal is out there, for anyone to read.

Is that good or bad? Probably good, if you want to feel remembered/not invisible/that your life meant *something*. And no matter what you say, however inane, you have an audience ... or one hopes so. You get feedback *now*.

So why keep a paper journal at all then? Just for the *now* enjoyment of ink-on-paper but not necessarily for any legacy or historical value?

I guess that even extends to: why do we do anything? We hope to be remembered, we hope to have made our mark before we leave. If you have children, you have a lot better chance of doing that. Or if you have a company or enterprise that will go on after you are gone. But for ordinary people, why keep track of the days? Why write things down? Who will see them later on anyway?

Some of this is rhetorical, but seriously, I am asking others' thoughts on this. Why do *you* keep a paper journal?


Hmm. I think there's just some types of things I prefer keeping more personal, in my paper journal, and others that I like sharing in community with other bloggers.

Traveling, especially, I tend to scribble a lot in one of my paper journals. I can remember writing in one journal, in particular, in Naas, Ireland, Moss Beach, CA, and a Greyhound station in Kansas City, MO. I think there's something more organic and spontaneous that way, sometimes.

Ultimately, I use both paper and digital journals to help myself understand myself better, and so I can understand others better, too. I like reading other people's journals for the same reason. A human life is the greatest show on Earth.
Thank you for your reply! I don't travel anywhere anymore, so that doesn't apply to me. :-p And sometimes I wonder if I'll ever understand myself better.

I will say this: one can see how one has progressed or regressed or changed over the years through one's diaries! I was appalled at my homophobic attitude back in the early 70's, when I was looking back through old diaries recently. :-( I made an annotation in that book, saying I was not like that anymore at ALL and was embarrassed I had ever felt that way! (I think it was part of the born-again mentality). So at least I can see I've progressed in *that* way!
Great point! I love that: "one can see how one has progressed or regressed or changed over the years." Very true.

Take care.