Friday, November 26th, 1976.
I don’t know what’s wrong but I still am getting cramps. This period I think is the worst one I ever had. I got a pair of Just Jeans and 4 Bee Gees concert tickets! I don’t want to go crazy, but I’m so thrilled. I don’t know if I love David? I hope I do! Luv Suz#”
I was 13 years old when I wrote this diary entry. This was written in my first diary, or as I also referred to it as, Book # 1. This denim diary had a lock on it. Every time I wrote in it, I locked it to protect my privacy. Which easily could have been altered with a simple hair pin, but I didn’t realize this. This symbol # means, “See ya later”.
At that time, I also didn’t realize what writing in a diary meant to me. Close to 40 years later I’m so grateful and appreciative for not stopping.
Many of my friends participate in yoga, meditation, and spiritual retreats. These activities encourage quiet, peace, spirituality, and introspection. Over the years, I’ve wondered why I didn’t feel the “need” to do these activities. I now realize that it’s because writing in a diary or journal provided me with an opportunity to have “daily” quiet, peace, spirituality, and introspection.
Ten years later, I’m 23 years old and I’m 1 month away from getting married. The following was written in book #19.
Tuesday, May 27th, 1986.
“First thing this morning was an interview with Mrs. Chisholm of the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. I feel the interview went very well and there is opportunity for part-time teaching work for me. I’m going to strictly promote myself. Gettin married in a few weeks. Nervous…..Yikes!!! Suzie”
By the time I was in my twenties, I no longer called my writing books diaries. Now I was writing in a journal. Today this would be called a daily blog!
For me writing in a journal is about the relationship between the paper and my thoughts via the ink. It’s about the moment when I sit quietly with my journal and I think about what I have done, what I will do, and how everything makes me feel. I think for a very long time and sometimes I day dream, then I write until I have nothing else to say.
Some days I can write for hours. Other days I have very little to write. During composition I hear my thoughts, feel my feelings, and listen to my heart and let everything goooooo and flow. This is my form of spiritual peace and meditation.
Ten years later found in Book # 44. I am 33 years old.
Friday, March 29th, 1996
“The crocus flowers are starting to open up. Isn’t that great! Allyn went to school in my carpool, Taylor went to school and I went back to sleep. I had such a headache, that since both kids were out, I just needed to go back to sleep. I slept for 1 1/2 hours then went out again to do the carpools. I’m pooped! I got the kids’ haircuts so they should look gorgeous for the holidays. Sue”
When I first started writing in a diary the content was strictly private. I went to great lengths to protect it. I locked and hid my books. One particular teenage diary is written mostly in code. I don’t know where the decoder book is probably due to the fact that I hid that too! I’m sure the symbols that I used represented words like cigarettes, kissing, drugs, sex, drinking, and all the other experiences I had.
Ten years later found in book # 67. I’m 43 years old now.
Wednesday, January 24th, 2007.
“I have to be a big girl now. I have to face the facts. I’m no longer young and I’m pushing it. I was at Dukey’s skating program when Dr. Wein called to tell me that my MRI results have shown a herniated disk. This is a real problem! Damn it! So, I must rest, take meds, do physio and take it easy. So much for my winter and cross country / skiing. Ugh!!!!!! F*CK!!! Damn it! Hell! I want to skiiiiiiiii! Mad Sue”
When I got married in 1986 my mother suggested that I stop writing in a diary.
She thought my husband would think I was juvenile sitting in bed at night and writing my thoughts.
She suggested I read books in bed before going to sleep. I told her if my new husband could not accept that I write in a diary, I shouldn’t be married to him. It was at this point I stopped calling my books diaries and they became journals.
My mother accepted her suggestion as being wrong. To make up for this misjudgment she has committed to purchasing all my new journals. I have a stack of “yet to be filled” journals. This is obviously an easy birthday gift for me.
Now, I am 52 years old. Here is an excerpt from my current book #83.
Saturday, March 7th, 2015.
“Today’s ski was completely outstanding. Although yesturday was difficult on Mont Royal, today at Mont St. Bruno I didn’t expect much better. It was the best ski ever! Perfect. Cool enough with dry conditions, covered, soft, little wind, little sun. Just perfect! At the end of the track I rushed along the final stretch to the maple syrup stand. You know its spring when you can eat maple syrup on the snow. I ate the whole thing! What a day, bottle this one! Sue”
Once the locks came off the journals the privacy was lost. Anyone can read my journals. Plenty of people have, however, they don’t read like a novel. Truth be told, the content is rather boring.
I now have 83 volumes of personal history. I have almost every event in my life and my family’s life documented. I have the privilege to go to any time period from 1976 to the present day and retrieve information about myself, my family and the world.
The peace that journal writing has given me over the years is priceless. The product journal writing has given me is bountiful.
All you need is a blank page, a pen or key board and let yourself goooooooo.
Suzanne Reisler Litwin