Up in Smoke: Could You Burn Your Words?
I read a post that affected me deeply the other day. Danielle LaPorte writes about why she burned her journals. 20 years of recorded moments, up in smoke.
Image: Thomas’s Pics via Flickr
Like LaPorte, I love clutter-free living, but while I’m happy to toss away favours from parties or donate unneeded kitchen utensils, I don’t see my old journals (or my blog) as something I could part with willingly. All my words somehow stand outside that idea of clutter, along with my sofa and stand mixer and all the other tangible objects I can’t imagine purging either because they mean a lot to me or because I see them as well-integrated into my daily life.
Unlike LaPorte, I am nostalgic. I love reopening old journals or scrolling back through my blog. I’ll be looking for an old post, and I’ll read the ones before and after it, remembering moments — good or bad — which have faded from memory. Maybe the right trigger would organically bring back those memories from my mental basement, but I get nervous over the idea of needing to wait for a trigger to access my past, by which I mean, my life.
LaPorte breaks us down into historians and burners, and I think there is a lot of truth in that we really aren’t a blend of both but more one or the other. There are those who like to document their present and reflect on their past, and there are the ones who like the fleeting nature of the present and like to dream about their future. And despite my dislike of clutter, I am a historian to the core. I like to remember where I’ve been, even the unhappy times.
At the same time, I don’t really love the idea of people reading my personal journals after I’m gone. My blog, sure; I’ve chosen to publish those thoughts and put them out there. But my rage-y journal from my high school years: do I really want the kids to read those without me there to give those passages context? Still, I can’t imagine burning them to prepare for the day I’m not here.
Are you a historian or a burner, and can you ever imagine burning your old journals or deleting your blog?
cross-posted with BlogHer