Revisiting Old Journals

So, beside me I have a stack of my notebook journals stretching from early elementary school to about a week ago.  I’m relieved I’ve kept so many of them, mostly.  Who knows for whom they were intended on an entry-to-entry basis, but I’m happy I have them here this moment to re-read and interpret in tonight’s light.

The time has long passed when I remember writing everything in these pages. Was there really ever such a time? Now I can go back over them for seemingly the first time.

It’s an odd feeling of self-referring vertigo, really.

Here’s a small, leather volume I do remember carrying around, covering June of 2008 through October of 2009. This should be by an author with which I am still familiar, then, but even so there are some passages I find surprising:

I remember that no matter where we lived, the hours of night before sleep were spent calmly listening to traffic and footfall outside, and watching the streetlamps or moonlight.

-July 17, 2008

That right there. That was the tone I’d like to find eventually for all of my childhood memories.

I flip back through a few more pages, discovering:

A samurai, a Buddhist, and a worldly master walk into a bar.

“What are you having?” the master asks the others.

“My hometown produces a first-rank drink,” answers the samurai. “But I will keep my wits about me.”

The Buddhist replies, “I’m good right now, but thanks for offering.”

“You’re both right,” nods the master, ordering three samples of the bar’s local beers. “No obligation,” she adds.

-July 12, 2008

I forgot that I sometimes cram other things into journal entries: sketches, story ideas, and . . .comedy material?  Maybe sometimes it’s okay to forget.

All of these words might end up making a contribution for someone. They might not—or only provide me with some peace and understanding. . .

-July 27, 2008

Continuing through the journals, with all of their mundane and personal details, I think I see what I was driving at. There is a peace for me in knowing so many of these moments got themselves recorded. And re-reading them every so often from a different age is gradually bringing a new understanding of not just where I was, but where I still intend to be.

Whether or not I share more of these orphaned excerpts, that last one may as well be attached to everything posted on

10 thoughts on “Revisiting Old Journals

  1. There was also some commentary following the “walk into a bar” joke: “In the postscript, I’d further imagine the Buddhist to pick up the bill and the samurai to drive the master home. The adventures of these three women would make for a novel novel—the alternate scene, though would involve the worldly one asking the bartender’s favorite drink, the samurai ordering it and tipping, and the Buddhist chalking the whole thing up to a rare chance to visit with friends. None of them gets around to taking a sip.”

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  2. I have been perusing my personal archives as well. I think I have nearly a dozen journals compiled over the years. A recent reread of the first journal has definitely inspired more than one of my posts. So valuable to have all that information safely stored away.

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  3. Were those entries from your elementary years? If so, you were far more aware and eloquent than I was at that time. 🙂 I have lots of old papers (from 50 years ago) and they’re fun to revisit and giggle over. You’re right that they capture memories we might otherwise have lost. 🙂


    1. That’s very kind. I’m afraid those were much more recent than grade school. That’s probably why it was so strange I didn’t recognize them. Glad you are still finding joy in your journals!

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  4. This is so awesome that u have all ur journals with u still. I used to write when i was a kid but ive lost them all now. So cool 😎 u kept all of them 🙂

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