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Journals Past

I realized recently that since I started blogging, the desire to write in a journal has pretty much disappeared. And why not? A blog is pretty much a journal, saved online forever, that can easily be browsed and looked back on when you're feeling nostalgic.

But here's the thing I also realized- journaling can offer you some stuff that blogs can't. For one, they're private, so you can get as simplistic or purple prosy cheesy as you want. You can talk about whatever/whoever without worrying about being judged. You can also let your 'USE PROPER GRAMMAR AND SENTENCE STRUCTURE, DAMN IT!' guard down a little because who's gonna see, right?

But the most valuable thing about a journal is the fact that you have physical proof of things that were. You may feel like your journal is boring and bland now, you might even feel that way in a few years, but when ten years goes by and you crack it open, wonderful, ridiculous, and many cringe worthy moments come rushing back.

I wouldn't have even thought about my old journals if I hadn't come across them by mistake, and now it's like I have The Life of Young Amy available for browsing whenever I want.

Here they are, in all their glory. The earliest is the Lisa Frank diary with the lock, started in 1995. The most recent is in the cut-and-glued personalized cover, highlighting my sophomore year in high school. The things I found in the journals were ridiculous.

Apparently, I liked a singer named “Michel W. Smith” and my life goal was “to make peple happy.”

As time went by, I resorted to more grown up, adult things. You know, like wishing on fake stars that I drew myself.

The high school years were the most painful to re-read, but even in the midst of all the horrific drama and teen anguish I was able to make an observation about myself that was more accurate and relevant to my future than I could ever know at the time: "I don't care, I just wanna keep writing. For the craziest reason it helps."

And then there was the flat out pee-your-pants worthy book that was filled with Harry Potter fan fiction that I wrote with my best friend. We had two notebooks, one for a serious story, and one for a silly story. Still, both stories featured us as the main characters along with the old favorites.

“......Snape's cloak, got on the floor, and pulled it over her. Suddenly, her hand emerged. It was interpretive dance. Dumbledore clapped his hands to the techno. After the short dance ended, Amy gave Snape back his cloak, brushed herself off, looking as if nothing had happened.
Dumbledore started, 'Amy..'
She cut him off. 'Call me Tubby.'
Harry's eyes widened.
'Tubby,' Dumbledore said, 'and Roxie, it's time to go to the Halloween Feast.' ”

Oh. My. GOD.

And then there were the old personal jokes between friends...

If I told you what that meant, I'd have to kill you.

Looking through all my old journals was such an emotional roller coaster, but there were so many things that I hadn't thought about in years and probably would have forgotten completely. It inspired me to start another one up, despite the fact that I keep a blog too.

Do you guys like journaling the old fashioned way? Have you found any hidden treasures in your old journals/diaries?

Amy Lukavics

Amy lurks within the forested mountains of Arizona. When she isn't reading or writing creepy stories, she enjoys cooking, crafting, and playing games across many platforms. She is the author of Daughters Unto Devils (Harlequin Teen 2015) and The Women In The Walls (Harlequin Teen 2016).

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  1. Ah, I can relate. I haven't journaled as much since I started blogging either. Now that you've reminded me I feel motivated to start again, but there are so many other things I want to do that I'm not sure how I'd prioritize everything. Hm. Now I'm tempted to go look through my old journals, haha. Thanks for sharing entries from yours! :)

  2. I have old ringbinders covered in the phrase 'Life sucketh. It sucketh BIG TIME.' Nothing brings back teen angst quite like that phrase, written in huge letters all over my History folder!

    (We also wrote stories about where we'd be in ten years time, which are really strange and cool, since that was more than ten years ago now - two of us are actually where we said we'd be, but I was supposed to be winning an Oscar and married to Leonardo DiCaprio, so that hasn't happened yet...)

  3. I think you said it exactly with:

    But the most valuable thing about a journal is the fact that you have physical proof of things that were. You may feel like your journal is boring and bland now, you might even feel that way in a few years, but when ten years goes by and you crack it open, wonderful, ridiculous, and many cringe worthy moments come rushing back.

    So true!!!

  4. I totally relate! I don't feel the need to keep a private journal anymore, because I blog... And yes, it's different, but my whole life is different as well.

    This reminds me that I actually did throw away one of my high school journals, which seemed terribly boring when I reread it later. But it's good I've kept the other ones (I also started my first one in 1995, and it also had a lock! LOL).

  5. Oh, yes. Ever since I turned 16 and one of my cousins bought me a diary, I've written three and now I'm 21 and on the fourth one.

    I guess, what compelled me to write them was to keep some track of those little daily details that I would forget unless I recorded them somewhere. Nowadays, it's fun to read them, either alone or with friends. It's also interesting because you can see yourself maturing. My first entries are so embarrassing lol...

  6. I think interpretative dance with the invisibility cloak is the raddest idea I've heard in years.

  7. What a treasure! Dumbledore clapping to techno! My childhood and teen journals are all gone - so sad - but I have letters that are fun to revisit. No email when I was in high school or college!

  8. That Harry Potter fanfiction is hilarious! Me and my best friend did a similar thing with the Warriors series, haha. I was also a very big journal-keeper as a kid, but now, like you, I rely on my blog mainly to keep my memories. I do miss the privacy and intimacy of keeping a journal though...this blog post makes me want to fill the tons of empty journals in my house. :) I can never resist buying a beautiful journal...even if I'm completely unlikely to ever fill it.

  9. Isn't fun fun to walk down memory lane once in a while! I get your glad you found them and I'm sure you will keep them safe.

  10. I HAD ONE OF THOSE LISA FRANK DIARIES! Mine had unicorns.

    I have a ton of journals because I love the pretty covers. I get too anxious writing in them anymore, though; always worried someone will read them. (I've honestly gotten rid of all my ones from high school.) But I still seem to gather them and use them for other things, like writing notes.

  11. I love this Amy! What a great, great post. I have my old journals, too. They're mortifying to read. Plus I'm so old, my friends and I wrote "21 Jump Street" fan fic. *goes and hides in a corner now*

  12. I went through a moment of panic right before I started college and got rid of all my journals from middle school and high school because I was SO SURE my mom was going to go through my room and read them. Which, looking back now, I sort of wish I hadn't done, even though they were full of SO MUCH ANGST and crappy poetry.

    But I still journal. I keep all my journals from college in a box in my closet. I still can't bring myself to peruse them, though.

  13. Thanks everybody, I'm loving all these comments!

    I'm totally the same as far as not being able to resist buying a pretty new notebook, even if I have no idea if I'm ever going to write in it.

    I never threw any of my journals away, but I DEFINITELY found lots of torn out pages, particularly in the high school journal lmao.

    And Kate, I'll show you the cloak interpretive dance one day in person. TIS EPIC.

  14. OMG this is epic. I want more HP fanfic.

    I dug through my old journals last year! One was my version of Harriet the Spy, in which I wrote down stuff I saw people do that was not very exciting. And on the back of one illustration was this:

    “Oh, dear,” said the hot dog named Folly. “Now I want some Velveeta cheese.”

    The rest is even more embarrassing.

  15. I enjoy reading my journals from middle school and high school. I laugh SO hard. And OMG, I had that Lisa Frank journal. I remember that info page about yourself and EVERYTHING!

  16. I have all my journals since 4th grade. I believe I'm on journal number 10 or 11 now. And I cringe every time I read any of them. But I can't get rid of them. I put everything into them.


    with some of my latest journals--I've filled about 30 since I started writing again in 2006. My teen stuff is in the garage. Suppose I'd better dig it out and wade through it before I write the young adult novels in my series, huh? I love going through mine and glad you had some fun too.

  18. One day I was going to an Artist Way class and needed something to write in. I pulled out an old journal with empty pages. Later I read the full pages. The journal was from 5 years earlier, ad not one thing that I had worried about so obsessively then was still in my life. It was an eye opener.

  19. I am very, very old (well, compared to you!) and can tell you that Michael W. Smith is a Christian singer. I went with a church group to one of his concerts well before you started journaling (or perhaps even before you were born. sigh) (thanks to the commenter who wrote 21 Jump Street fanfic - that I can relate to, ha!).

  20. Even though I blog, I still journal a lot. It's where I vent and share news.

    I have journals that are a few years old, but I wish I hadn't lost my earlier ones. I've typed up all the ones I can find and keep my current journals on the computer. Otherwise, I'm constantly losing them.

  21. Recently I've been thinking of doing a comparable post! After my mom died, I went through every single journal I'd ever written. While some sweet moments were captured in each, there was such a different feeling correlated with thumbing through pages and imagining my mom sitting near me as I wrote. I'm trying to use that experience to prompt me to write the things that don't belong in my blog in a journal. I'm not making great progress, but I'm making some, and I know the future me will be grateful for that.

  22. fantastic post. my old journals are seriously some of my prized possessions. looking them over is such a trip.

  23. THE HARRY POTTER FANFIC LOLOLOL. seriouslyyyy, made me crack. up! interpretive dance? really?!

    loved the post, even though i just don't keep journals. i don't go to school, so the drama in my life = ZILCH. i did try to keep one, but it was filled with how i felt during cricket matches when my favorite team had to make this many runs to win or that many wickets to take and OMG IT WAS TOO PAINFULLY BORING TO READ. so i ditched the journal effort altogether :D

  24. lisa frank and harry potter fanfic! amazing!

    i've been keeping journals for over *gulp* 25 years now, and i always find interesting and ridiculous things inside them. :)


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Item Reviewed: Journals Past Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amy Lukavics