A few years ago I wrote a post soliciting opinions on how to solve a little problem I have. I received some excellent tips in my comments section but have done absolutely nothing in the interim to rid myself of the issue at hand. It’s all about these:
This is a plastic bin filled with journals from the late 80s through early 90s. They cover the period when I first moved to New York City as a hopeful, brooding, solitary young boy. There are about a dozen books filled with hand-written pages and the binders are packed with hundreds and hundreds of single space type-written pages. The absolute last thing I want is for these to fall into the hands of my daughters. They’re fill with depravation, longing and raunchy exploits. I wasn’t as depressed as these writings would make it seem. Not having the money for a proper therapist, stream-of-thought typing became my method for purging all the dark matter clogging my consciousness. It was cathartic, but it’s not an accurate representation of my state of mind.
The problem is that on more than one occasion, I’ve pulled these out with the intention of driving to the town incinerator but before I make it out the front door I’ll open one, start reading and get lost in the misty water-colored memories of the way I was. I laugh my ass off at the startling depth of my naïveté and utter cluelessness about life, women and human nature. Especially women. I get sucked into a wormhole and come out the other side in some girl’s bed in 1991.
Someone recently sent me a link to an essay by Joan Didion about how it’s vital to keep and reread your old journals. She feels there’s value in them. But I have extenuating circumstances (i.e., children) that make keeping these problematic. I really need to burn these, don’t I? What if I meet with an untimely end? I don’t want my last thoughts to be, “I should have burned my journals” and “Am I wearing clean underwear?” I don’t want them reading this stuff.
My God, they’re fun to read. What a little fool I was. For being free-form and not knowing a damn thing about punctuation, sentence structure or clarity, there are some surprisingly readable passages. How can I throw them away!? I must throw them away! Will one of you hang on to these for me?