I'm not talking about a Dear Diary sort of thing, not one with dates and days of the week that required details of every day. I'm thinking about the blank book - hundreds of empty pages waiting for anything that you're willing to commit to paper.
My first ever journal entry, dated June 12 1985, was 2 lists: Guys I Love and Movies I Love. (Kevin Bacon & Footloose topped both. Sigh. They're still up there.)
The very last entry in that same blank book was the night before I got married - in that one book I have documentation of the most intense, silly, and emotional years of my life. (And no, now you mention it I'm not sure where it is. Yikes!)
What, me? Write a lot? Um... maybe?
So I've been trying to unravel a bit of a knotty issue in my head in recent weeks. (Not naughty, sadly. Just...knotty.) The sort of thing that's isn't front & center in your brain, but the kind of abstract thinking that pops right up if you have a quiet moment in the shower, or as you drive to the pool or wait for water to boil.
I find myself eyeing my current journal - the leather-bound thick-papered book that has laid on my bedside table since I was pregnant with Cecilie. Haven't written a blessed thing in it since I was newly pregnant with Annika - almost exactly three years ago. And yet my thoughts lead me to the creamy blank pages: waiting for lines of slanting black ink in which I slowly untangle the mental morass.
Is there really a place for journaling when there's a blog?
Up to this point, I would've argued No. I would've argued that blogging is quality-control - a necessary check on the maudlin, the whiny, the self-indulgent. It forces a discipline on the writing that ultimately makes the content more interesting not only to a reader, but to me.
But awareness of your audience also forces the writer to leave certain content on the sidelines. Believe it or not, even a blogger has limits about what she'll share. Here is where a journal leaps up for its time in the sun: a journal offers total, open acceptance. It's just me, the page, and the pen. Honesty - and ideally, a little clarity - is the only way forward.