I think writing is incredibly important. I have been writing since I was about 11 years old.
It started with a story I wrote based on a literacy assignment my father set for me. The story was about a little girl who got stuck in a lift (elevator), and how she managed to escape by finding a hatch and sliding down the ropes, and exiting onto some crisp white snow through a hatch at the bottom of the shaft. I can’t remember the details – there were many – but I remember the catharsis of writing that story. You see, I had a crippling fear of lifts. I was so afraid we would get stuck and that thought was a roadblock in my mind. As an adult I am still scared… and as an adult with two young children who has to use lifts often because of having a pram… whooooooosh. Every lift journey I think about all the possible things that could go wrong and how I would deal with it… all while smiling jovially at my kids like my heart isn’t about to thrust itself right out of my chest.
After that lift story, I began to write. I found scraps of paper at first and wrote my thoughts. Then at school as an end-of-semester gift, my teacher gave me a notebook. A flimsy little affair with shiny blue flowers on the covers and paper thin enough to look (and feel!!) like tracing paper… but I treasured it and wrote in it religiously for a month… until the paper ran out. The entries are so childish now, when I read them back sixteen years later, but to me they held a glorious feeling on their pages. I had just discovered Lord of the Rings, you see, and we had got out hands on the video tapes of the movies. My mum’s friend had recorded the movies that played on the TV that afternoon while we were all at school. My pages were filled with that stomach-churning eleven year old excitement .. that excitement that you rarely feel as an adult. Why is life so exciting to an eleven year old?
Anyway. Since then I always kept a diary. Sometimes I would have breaks from journalling… if life got too exciting or I was doing something nefarious… but for the most part, I recorded my thoughts and ideas and feelings most days.
Fast forward to today, and I now have a yearly diary. A page per day entry. Mainly to record important events or feelings or experiences… but as a mother of two young children, my entries have lapsed. I haven’t recorded anything in the entire month of November. This is certainly not because I don’t want to. I desperately want to. I think of things I want to write down and tell myself I will, later, later, soon.. but when later comes my brain doesn’t have any capacity to do it. It’s like treacle in there. It’s mind-bogglingly hard to take care of two small children every single day. Nothing much to look forward to and just the daily guilt of feeling you aren’t doing enough or being enough for them. And are they learning enough and adequately? And do they have good opportunities? And am I giving them those good opportunities? And why can’t they do things other kids their age can? And and and and… and so journalling takes a backseat.
But it’s good to journal. It’s good to write. It’s catharsis. Like crying. Reliving the day, the thought, the emotion, and really feeling it before letting it go.
Do you journal?