Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Building Memories ~ Journal Writing

You never know if there will come a day, perhaps in advanced old age, that you will sit down and write your memoirs. I know of several people in recent years that have burned their diaries. Jane Austen's sister burned all her letters and papers after she died. I do not understand why. Perhaps there was an unfinished manuscript or a letter that would have revealed more to us about Jane.

I wish my grandmothers had kept diaries. I would have loved to have read their history. I have kept one since 1989. And event though there are ups and downs in it, some good times and some bad, I cannot imagine burning them. So much history in just 23 years is in those pages. My boys when they were little. Family gatherings. My marriage. My father's journey through Alzheimer's, and my notes on the day he passed away.

Here is what I have included in my journal today.

Yesterday we had an awesome Easter get-together. After feasting, we gathered in Mary Ann's living room in the chocolate brown old house in Burkittsville, MD, and Paul and Jim tuned up their guitars, banjos, and Paul's violin. They played some gospel tunes, and we all sang, some of us off key, others clapping our hands and tapping our feet in time with the music.

We had church in the Quinn's living room, family, friends, acquaintances. All the little kids sat on the floor wide-eyed, some cuddling in someone's lap. Then the guys played some lively Irish tunes. My niece's friend is an Irish dancer and she danced for us, in the middle of the floor with all us gathered round in chairs, on the old couch, or seated on the floor. Then Annie danced, then Renee, and before you know it, lots of us joined in.

My great nieces, all under six, put on their dress-up gowns and took their turn on the 'dance floor' twirling round and round. Was a wonderful night. I could see in Mary Ann's eyes how much it blessed her, how her longing to have them play some music was not only meant to soothe her soul as she is battling cancer, but to build a memory for her family.

I know I'll never forget it.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thank you for sharing such a vivid scene.

I've got a stack of spiral notebooks with life events, prayers, writing ideas, and everything in between.

I should go back and read them. Many devotionals were birthed in those pages. Perhaps a book hides in them as well.

MommaMindy said...

I remember making a conscience decision to NOT keep a journal because I didn't think anything interesting would happen in my lifetime. How wrong I was! The beauty of journaling isn't about the greatness of the times, but the smallness. It's those small, precious memories and answered prayers that slip through your mind, even though you strain to keep those things close to your heart.

I recently started going through old emails I've written and putting them in chronological order, just to give me my life back. I've been so blessed to be reminded of how the Lord ministered to me through the years.

You journals must be your most valuable possession.

Rachel O'Regan said...

That's a lovely scene you're describing and then the end is slightly, disarmingly sad but holds hope in a strange way, you only just taste it.

I don't keep a journal, but I do have a computer. I don't know how I feel if I die and my family takes my hard-drive, reads the contents and perhaps even publish it. Not all of it is my best work, and most incomplete. And then, what if it became posthumously successful and I wasn't there to see it? Of course, I wouldn't be there to muse on this, so it wouldn't matter either way. These are the things which I think about, but probably shouldn't.

I also find it so intriguing that Jane Austen's letters were burnt. The thought, if expressed to no-one, dies with the person, and perhaps so does the real truth of their existence.

Dawn Herring said...

I totally agree with the importance of our personal history written on the pages of our journals; I've kept a journal since I met my husband 24 years ago.

I love the detail of your entries, encompassing place, emotions, action, and your connection with family. Makes for a rich tapestry of words transformed into personal art.

I have chosen your post, Building Memories: Journal Writing, for the #JournalChat Pick of the Day for all things journaling on Twitter.
I will post a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog and website Refresh with Dawn Herring, and in Refresh Journal, my weekly e-journal: http://www.refreshwithdawnherring.blogspot.com/.

You're welcome to join us for #JournalChat Live on Thursdays at 5 EST/2 PST for all things journaling on Twitter; this week's topic is Your Journaling: Stress Busters!

Thanks again for such a heartwarming peek into your personal and for your interest in journaling for history making.

Be refreshed,
Dawn Herring
JournalWriter Freelance
Host of #JournalChat Live and Links Edition on Twitter