What To Do With Old Journals

1. Leave them to sit in your basement to ferment among the natural elements (most popular method).

2. Save them for your family to read after you are dead (honestly, an okay idea only if you never wrote about anyone -or- you are a sociopath who doesn’t care about other people’s feelings).

3. Get them out and re-read them… so you can either feel good about much you’ve evolved, or feel slightly foolish-to-damn depressed for still having the same issues you had decades ago.

4. Note: Old journals can make you feel quite sad if you are reading about sad times in your life, or simply remembering times, places and people that no longer exist. Make sure you are in the mood/have tissues.

5. Annoy loved ones who don’t appreciate the amount of real estate your boxes of journals take up in the house… and mayyyybe to make a point about your identity as an artist, and art being chronically undervalued by society. Respond with: “My writing is my ART and my ART is my SOUL. If the house burned down and I only had these two arms to carry things out I would take only my journals!!!”

6. Let them sit around in boxes for years… until the fated day you decide to pull them out, only to discover that you can’t even read your own sloppy handwriting (true story).

7. Save them for the memoir you plan on writing much later in life. Ask yourself: How much later? Realize your age. Verify this by looking at your driver’s license, because sometimes you forget- that’s how old you are. Come to the conclusion memoir may not get written, EVER. Decide to keep the journals, just in case.

8. Ponder the worth of your recorded history, your small lifetime of experiences. Do they merit such real estate in your house (of course!)? Where do our experiences go, anyhow? If YOU don’t record it, do they disappear? Does your past even exist? Did it really happen, and if so, how will anyone know? What’s the sound of a tree falling in a forest if no one is there to hear it? And so on. Become existentially exhausted. Make a cup of tea. Decide to leave your journals where they are.

9. Get the old journals out, set in a little corner of your study, and ask them: Now, what ever shall I do with you? Wait for them to answer. It may take awhile. They are used to just sitting there after all.

10. Decide to make art out of your old journals.

-Jessica Shepherd
healer, artist, author of Follow the Moonlit Path

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