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Journals, Diaries, and Blogs – Oh, My!

Earlier this week I was talking to my friend about about Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. It is a wonderful book that focuses on living a creative life. If you have this book and went through the exercises, you will be very familiar with what she terms morning pages.

The purpose of morning Pages is to clear out the mental cobwebs that block creative energy. The process consists on writing six pages every morning before you do anything else. This was not an easy practice for me, but I did recently stumble on my journal of morning pages. As I flipped through them (you are never supposed to read them as you go through the course if I remember correctly) they were filled with a lot of nothingness – especially on the first couple of pages each morning. Some of the content made me sad and I remembered things I prefer to compartmentalize and store in the deeper recesses of my mind. Some things that worried me at the time I do not recall at all.

As I contemplated destroying the book of morning pages, I started thinking about all the different diaries, journals and blogs I have kept over the years.

In my adolescence I kept a diary. It was white with a luggage type lock that gave the impression of privacy but would open with a strong tug if someone wanted to read it. Mine was filled with adolescent memories like boyfriends and friends and mundane tasks of the day.

Later in life I kept journals. They always seemed to be filled with my most intimate and private thoughts. I think maintaining journals helped me learn to process the events of my life and helped me formulate long lasting ideals. As such, these are not journals I would want anyone else to read. They are filled with immature thoughts and ideas which required even more thought as I lived my life.

Then came blogging. My first online community was a Prodigy message board – now I feel old. I connected with people from an area in Ohio where I spent my high school years. It was fun and was based on shared experiences.

From there, I moved on to LiveJournal. Back in the day, you needed an invitation code to create an account. An online friend from New Zealand gave me my first access code. They eventually did away with that requirement. I have not written on LiveJournal for years but I still have my account. I shared this space with one of my sisters, her best friend and her sister. I find comfort now in being able to go back and read my sister’s words.

I wrote a few short posts on Blogger, but I did not like the format or their method of designing a blog look. From there I went to WordPress and have had a presence here since 2010. My first blog was again a way of processing. I started my blog after the suicide of a friend.

I no longer feel the need to privatize my thoughts much. Maybe I have reached a level of mental maturity and I know better who I am now than I have ever known. There are a few things I will not share, but I am keenly aware of how much of our ‘private’ lives are public knowledge. Add to that my love of research and there isn’t much I cannot find if I put my mind to it.

Did you have a history of journaling before you started blogging? Do you still have diaries and journals from the past? What do you hope to do with them as you age?

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Blog Hopping

Day 99

Today I did some blog hopping. Now, I normally peruse different blogs every day and read what I can. I have found some great people to follow, but today I was hopping from and to my own blogs.

I have three blogs on WordPress. I’m pretty sure I have one on Blogger which gets no time. I also have blogs on my old business website and I have another that I shared with some very close friends and my sister.

sistersWell, let me just say I spent way too long today reading all my sister’s old ‘journals’. I know she would not want them public because they were shared privately. I went through a firestorm of events and all the accompanying emotions — eight years of our shared lives. It was like talking to her again, I could hear the tenor and inflections of her voice.

I started thinking about all my blogs. Should I combine them here? I have followers on various blogs, but if I do not post there, what would it hurt to bring them over? Then there’s always the question of staying on the free WordPress platform or migrating to my own website — which already exists. Consolidation is appealing.

I’m not too worried about analytics except that I love the WordPress reader and it makes following blogs so easy. I was a web designer and I know the SEO game which would be necessary if I went outside WordPress.com and back to a self-hosted WordPress account.

I also stumbled on a website called BlogBooker.com where I could archive my blogs into a book format. That sounds tempting, too, except some of my old blogs were pretty personal and shared only privately.

My mind keeps going back to some of the events I read about today. Visits by my daughter and myself to Virginia, the passing of my step-mother, the birth of my niece and two of my grandchildren. All laid out in great detail. Some of it was painful to read, but a reminder of the full life I’ve led.

So, today I ponder what to do about this digital footprint I have spread on the Internet. I am not sure what I will decide to do with all this history of my life, but I feel compelled to do something.

Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote a long time ago. Such memories! I do not want to lose these memories. And consolidating means losing the comments of people who are no longer here. I am not sure I would handle that well…

Relationships, Sisters and the Value of Macaroni Salad