I don’t know which book store we were in. We go to so many that it could have been anywhere. It could even have been a music store, for all I know. I was drawn to the book because it brought to mind a very personal memory for me. The cover looked like a Mead Spiral Notebook. It could have been my journal.
Michael held it up and said that if he ever became famous, that I need to find all the notebooks that look like this and destroy them. I wonder how Kurt would feel if he knew that his personal journals are reproduced in full for the world to see. I wonder what he would think about the legal wrangling that went on for ten years after his death. Would he have written a concise and notarized will to prevent those problems or do you think he would have relished the drama?
What about my journals? I have boxes of them. Should I dispose of them? They aren’t flattering sometimes. My journals aren’t polished and shiny and clean. They look more like that Mead notebook of Kurt’s. Since the first time I put pencil to paper in fifth grade, I find that my old journals are embarrassing and trite. That first little journal was a small blue thing with a lock. Looking back on the entries is painful. I only turned to it when I was in pain and fifth grade pain is so simple and petty.
It wasn’t until high school that I faithfully started writing every single day, whether I was happy, sad or indifferent. Those entries feel just as simple and petty, though. I documented what I wore to school, who talked to me and how I felt about my favorite crush. As with all my journals, my words were censored somewhat. I always assume that someone will read my journal. That’s why it wasn’t so hard for me to go online. So what if the world reads my journal? My paranoia had me believing that I had no privacy long ago.
A strange side of me wants to digitize them. It wants to go back to the small blue book and start typing them in: misspellings and all. Why would I do that? Why would I waste time in the real world to document my thoughts of the past? Most people believe that journal writing is a huge waste of time anyway. Why would I waste it twice?
Some of those journals I haven’t even read in years. They have been moved from the apartment to the condo to West Jordan to Sugarhouse. The box is opened to verify what they are and then closed again until the next move. What a painful way to spend an afternoon, reading my old journals. If I’m not going to read them, why do I keep them? Why don’t I destroy them so they don’t end up like the Kurt Cobain Journals?
Maybe they are the only proof that I was there. Yes, I was in West Valley, Utah. I went to Academy Park Elementary School. They moved us to Hunter Elementary in sixth grade. Then I went to Kennedy Junior High. Then I went to Kearns High. Then I went to Westminster College. Then I went out into the world. Here I am. There I was. Here’s the proof.
If I destroy them, do I destroy myself? Would my past be destroyed as surely as the pages? Maybe that’s it. I’m planning on being senile. I’m planning on forgetting my past, so I have documented how I felt and what I did so that I won’t forget it. The only glitch in that theory is that some of my best and worst memories aren’t documented in my journals. You see, I assumed the world (or my mom) would read them, so I couldn’t write about the party that got out of control. I couldn’t write about the time that Calvin failed me. It wasn’t until over fifteen years later that I felt safe enough to tell those stories. In fact, there are other stories that I don’t even feel safe enough to tell right now.
So, they don’t truly document the past any more than a photograph could. I don’t plan on reading them, even if I become senile. They are too painful to even look at, much less read. So, why do I keep them? Is it for posterity? No, after I’m gone, I’m not going to worry about that. I’ll be dead. Is it for my unborn children? God, no! Don’t let them see those things! Why don’t I just throw them on the fire? I guess it’s just like Mother Nature said in that episode of Northern Exposure, “One of the things that keeps you from dropping them in the nearest volcano is that you had to work too hard to get them.”