Editor’s note: I wrote this for a client that declined it, so now you can have it, WordPress.

These days most of my writing is done online. I have a blog that I use to share my thoughts, feelings and experiences with others. Such is the nature of our times. I came across a meme that said “People used to keep diaries and get mad when anyone read them, now we post everything online and get mad when people DON’T read it.”

I laughed because it’s so true. As a child my writing platform was a journal filled with paper and my writing tool was a pen. I stashed my journals away in my drawers and lived in fear that someone would read them. When my brother did read my journal I was mortified. Now I check the statistics on my blog and I’m happy when I see that a lot of people have read it.

Although I’ve moved on to writing through a digital platform, I still have a certain appreciation for my first writing platform and for the person who first led me to it. I feel especially appreciative around this time of year, when the school year is beginning.

I got my first journal when I was in third grade. Up until then my teachers had me writing in spiral and composition notebooks but when Ms. Eliot handed out the school supply lists at the beginning of the year she specified that those kind of notebooks would not do. In her class we would be using real journals for our writing.

I chose a suede journal with a purple floral design. As far as school supplies go, that journal was fairly expensive but what I got out of it cannot be quantified in monetary value. It was through that journal and that class that I developed writing skills and a love of writing. One of my first journal entries involved me imagining flying through the sky like a bird. Although my body would never sprout wings, when I wrote I soared to new heights.

By the end of the school year I had filled my purple journal up to the last page. As an end of the year gift Ms. Eliot gave all of her students new journals. Mine was red and had a design that brought to mind fire. Although I was no longer required by Ms. Eliot to write in a journal, I continued to do so because writing lit my fire.

As I progressed in school, I was fortunate to have other great teachers who encouraged and praised my writing. Some of them had me write in notebooks but none of them had me write in journals like Ms. Eliot did. Yet ultimately it was a teacher who once again put a journal in my hands. When I graduated from high school a beloved teacher of mine gave me a journal as a graduation gift. This one was white and brought to mind ivory. Writing had become as precious to me as ivory.

Two years ago I moved to a new house. While I was packing my belongings I came across that white journal I received as a graduation gift. A few months ago I moved again. While I was packing my belongings I came across that red journal I received at the end of third grade.

A few days ago I was complaining on Facebook that I felt motivated to write but my computer was broken. A friend pointed out that there’s always pen and paper. She’s right, there is always pen and paper. And there are always journals.

One thought on “The First Time: Reflecting on the Journals of my Childhood

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