Dear Diary Dates: Lessons in Journal Writing

~Always Date anything Handwritten~
~Always Date anything Handwritten~

Looking back over my writing life, I can see stages where my personal evolution of style, purpose and attention in all things I’ve wrote shifted. I hesitate to claim the simple act of aging has been the stepping stone to my writing maturity because I’ve come across people far younger than myself who already contain the wisdom I wish I had so many years ago.

When I observe my early journals/diaries I’m dismayed by my lack of attention to details. My biggest regret is my lack of dating entries, random scribbled thoughts, prose, and events without a single hint to time frame. It’s so frustrating to read about my own past and wonder what year it was, what day I was writing about and where exactly I was at the time.

Such an unnecessary aggravation. A simple date, a time, a centering point for the history. Years of writing that has no solid imprint on my timeline. If I think back, I’m sure I did it intentionally. Lack of date provided a hidden curtain of my feelings on any specific day. I believe I thought I was being ‘protective’ of my interior and thoughts. Protective in the sense that should someone stumble across my cryptic thoughts, they would have a hard time deciphering whom I was writing about, or even what I was writing about.

I regret that supposed self protection. I wish I had included better hints, details, timestamps and maps to my thoughts so that I could reflect and understand them better now. I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to such a small detail as adding a date to anything I write, be it a journal entry, a letter to a friend, a note scratched on a napkin I save, etc, etc……….

There are many beautiful reasons people maintain journals or write letters by hand and one thing applies to everyone. A date is the time stamp of their history that confirms they were indeed a piece of that space. I like to think these days that a date is the invisable tether to life once lived. Perhaps it comes across a bit extreme, my thoughts now, but  I’m the one that holds volumes and volumes of undated, un-tethered written history ~


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *