Real Reason Most Journals are Abandoned


I REACH UP to the high shelf
containing blank books received as gifts
and choose one

Because you just never know.

PEOPLE WHO put pen to paper
to capture a story
whose ending they know
aren’t keeping journals,
but drafting a manuscript
(and there’s no shame in that).

But true journals are captured as lived,
the writer not knowing
ahead of time
how the road will bend
and what will lie around the last corner,

having faith
that the capturing is worth it
even if you prefer the words weren’t true
even if you don’t want to face them in black and white
even if you prefer to forget
and it’s “God, help us” all the way.

are abandoned
is that the keeper
is frustrated,
trying to steer the contents.

We want the story to really be something else.

Ah, but true journal-keepers
are pioneer ship captains,
navigating unknown waters,
doing less steering
than holding on for dear life.

And being honest.

“Today this happened
and I am frightened beyond belief.”

Ah, now we are on to something.

This post first appeared in August 2012.

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
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2 Responses to Real Reason Most Journals are Abandoned

  1. bethhavey says:

    This cuts right to it, Marilyn. Though when I take the time to go back to my journals I often lift something for a story. My first novel started in a journal. It can happen.


  2. Belinda says:

    So enjoyable a read and so thought provoking. I love blank journals, writing in them when I have something to pour out, and reading those of others, but I never thought about why some people abandon them. Every so often I hear of journals being burnt and I shudder with regret, but I guess that for that person they served their purpose. but a piece of life lived was committed to the flames.


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