Several years ago, I asked my son, Robert, a question that was puzzling me: Why do you keep a journal, when you do everything from your cell phone and laptop? In high school, college and beyond Robert kept in touch and communicated via his cell phone, Facebook page, Skype and email. But he also continued to write in his journal. His journal was a blank Forum with a “Leonardo” cover. He found it when he was working as a stockroom boy at Exaclair during high school.
That old Nostalgie has been with him from junior year in high school, through college in Oregon, law school in New York, and travels and living stints in Italy, Greece, England, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet and Japan. He must have filled six or several books since then. I have offered him other types of notebooks but he sticks with his original.
Here’s what he told me in answer to my question: “A journal is personal. I can play with margins, draw doodles, and make corrections in my own way. When I go back and look at my marks on the page, I can even follow the train of thought that led to the changes. The paper is mine, and I can skip pages or even fold them. Words pour from the heart to the brain through the hand and pen onto the paper. This is the process of writing. Palm pilots and computers are excellent for logical order, planning and things, but not the free flowing emotion that is the centerpiece of a journal.”
What is your experience of keeping a journal?