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Monday, April 06, 2009

Rereading Old Journals

I wrote this entry originally for the A Creative Journal blog.

I spent the most part of today helping a friend sort through some junk. He's an old guy living in the same house for the last fifteen years. The junk didn't belong to him, though. His house mate had lived there even longer and had accumulated a collection of many different items, but sadly died before having a chance to sort through his possesions himself.

There were tools, electrical appliances galore, lots of things that might have once been useful, but had long since deteriorated and rusted or simply fell apart from exposure to constant sunlight each day out in the backyard. There were also plenty of useful items, too. It was all a matter of sifting and sorting, picking up one thing, turning it over to see what lay beneath, being systematic and thorough.

My husband disappeared into the black hole of the shed for hours while I checked out juicers, popcorn makers, crock pots and pressure cookers in the kitchen. I had a choice of several brands and styles. After making my selection of the best pieces there were many items still left for us to dispose of over the next couple of weeks. The family left earlier this evening with the job nowhere near finished.

On the drive home we sat in silence in the car, exhausted from our day of combing through the assorted paraphernalia, dust still in our nostrils and grime still under our nails. As the regular rhythm of the engine hummed I realised that sorting through that house was a lot like rereading old journals. Not only was it a major undertaking, but the task was one job that needed some kind of system. The treasures found inside the shed and the kitchen are like the excellent pieces hidden inside the covers of those handwritten journals.

There might be whole stories, personal essays and poetry to lift out, dust off, perhaps tune up a little or change the parts and send out for publication. There's lots of little bits and pieces that alone might not be anything much, but gathered together could become something quite substantial. Hubby came away with jars of screws and nails that he had to seek out from amongst other rusted and greased ones. And there was heaps and heaps of junk, just like the boring pages we complained about our weight, our kids or our neighbours.

Check back in tomorrow for some ideas on how to effectively reread your journals and not feel overwhelmed by the job.

Photo used with permission from stock.xchng

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