Dear Diary,

I’d like to owe my 18 years of journaling to THE Anne Frank, but unfortunately, it was likely Doug Funnie (of Nickelodeon throwback fame) who sparked my start, as he narrated each episode in his notebook. And for the purposes of this and any future discussion, “journal” is both noun and verb.

I’ve been journaling since before I could really think beyond what book to purchase at the Scholastic Book Fair or how many days were left until Christmas 1996.

As part of my life, I wrote regularly, blindly, and without motive beyond getting my thoughts and feelings down on paper. I wrote when something great happened, but mostly when the not-so-great was happening in my life. I marked milestones, rites of passages, the death of my father. I wrote song lyrics, listed potential names for the rock band I was going to start even though I only played French Horn, and sorted out all those feelings…so many feelings!

Even when writing wasn’t a big part of my life anymore, I still wrote in my journal. And when I came back to writing (thank God!) I looked at journaling in a different way. What was I doing with all of this information?

The first thing I did was transcribe my 6 or so notebooks into a word processor, which turned out to be over 150 typed pages. My impression was: BORING! 11-year olds are pretty bland. Then things got interesting in high school and a lot of it gave me a good laugh. Then getting more recent (within the past year or so), stirred up feelings too fresh to continue reading.

Although these notes give me fodder for a memoir, I was inspired by a movement that seems tailor-made for me. Diary Readings are becoming like an open-mic event in cities like Seattle. Since Orlando is hip now (it’s official), I’m planning to start one right here!

“The IB Winter Party was last night. It was ok except that Jen Kolos ‘lost’ my list of rock songs I requested.” 1/18/03

Stay tuned!

Did you keep a journal growing up? Would you read it to an audience?

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