You witness your daily life experiences on the pages of your journal. You share your reflections, fears, hopes and dreams. Your feelings of the moment. Your encounters, reactions and more. This journal is not only a confidante, it is the keeper of your records. As a journalist, you follow yourself around with pen and pad writing down the details of your experience(s) firsthand! You describe place, person, thing, incident, occasion, a vista, your own feelings, reactions, goofiness. You write down dialogue and phrases caught on the wind in a cafe. You really don’t skimp on writing down these details. They could be useful in your blog, a book, an essay, a poem, whatever.
Your powers of recall are amazing. But what you recall is typically a feeling or an image, sometimes a smell. You don’t remember the specific details, the exact feeling, the precise colors, your immediate reaction or the words of a conversation or your thought process. As was noted in an earlier blog, it is through the image details that your writing rises out of the ordinary into the authentic and believable. Writers paint word pictures. Therein lies the gold in your well-kept journals.
Excerpt from an earlier journal…
“Once you lose the ability to speak, you really appreciate it,” my father slurred following a stroke. (Having been a girl and woman without a voice for most of my life, I thought but didn’t say–tell me about it)
He tried to recite a poem Elegy in a Country Churchyard. I couldn’t understand a single word of it!
My mother wore his yellow bathrobe, his watch on her wrist. His wallet was in the bathrobe pocket with two medications that he was taking. Like a high-schooler wearing her boyfriend’s lettered sweater.
When the doctor mentioned the question of life supports, her face screwed up as she tried not to cry.
I wouldn’t have remembered these details had I not written them in my journal. As a writer, have you mined the gold in your journals?