Friday, January 7, 2011

write your story

When I was eight I sat down with a spiral-bound notebook that had a picture of Annie on the cover, and I began to write for the first time in my own journal. The words flowed from my #2 pencil and what I composed was rather eloquent:
“Sat. Nove. 6, 1982. I went to the football game with my dad. We got hot dogs and root beer.”
My first entry was only two sentences long, but I’m glad to have that small glimpse into my childhood. Because of those words, I remember that day—the roaring crowd, the crisp smell of fall, the tasty hot dog, and having my dad all to myself.
I didn’t write regularly—sometimes it was every day, other times months lapsed in between. But I now appreciate every word, every memory I took time to record.
My middle school journal was full of lists—baby names for my future children, new years resolutions, and even a divided list on the back page for things I loved (including boys) or disliked (including boys). I drew pictures, wrote poems and scribbled out the words of songs from the radio that meant a lot to me (usually about boys). My high school journal was mostly about dating, and my college journal was all about the daunting task of figuring out my future.
Sadly, I stopped writing in my journal right before I began to date my husband. Now I regret not having those detailed memories of how I fell in love with my husband, what our first year was like or even how I felt after my babies were born. I have tried to go back and write the things I could remember, but it’s not the same because memories change and fade over time.
I have several quotes taped onto the inside covers of my journals. My favorite is from Spencer W. Kimball, former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, who was a huge advocate of journal writing. In1975 he said, "Do not suppose life changes so much that your experiences will not be interesting to your posterity…your goings and comings, your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations,… your impressions and your testimonies…You are unique, and there may be incidents in your experience that are more noble and praiseworthy in their way than those recorded in any other life.".
The world will continue to change whether or not you record your memories—neighborhoods will be redeveloped, technology will expand, styles will evolve—and those “mundane” facts will become priceless. Someday your posterity will be fascinated by your struggles, your history and your story, but only if you write it down.


  1. I wish I had kept a better journal when Nicole & I dated & were first married.

  2. When I was 13 someone gave a talk in church that inspired my sister and I to go home and start that day. There have been periods (mostly since getting married and having kids) where it was hit and miss, but I've been pretty consistent since then. I love having that resource to go back and remember how I felt when I was younger.

  3. my journals have helped in my writing. I never use stories from my life, but it helps me remember how I felt when I was that age.

  4. If life is worth living, its deeds are worth recording. Andrew Jenson

  5. nice quote, melodyandglenn. I'll have to add it to my journal :)

  6. Unfortunately my sister and I took this advice a bit too well, and from an early age. When we got married, we were carting entire bookshelves (plural), full of journals into our new homes. We're actually having to go through now and sift out what is actually valuable, scanning pages, and just throwing away the rest. It sounds terrible to throw away a journal, but there is a limit, and we found it.

    On the flipside, we have never met anyone else with this problem.

  7. Me neither :) I guess it's better than the problems some spouses inherit!