Lisa Birch

Dec 3, 2018

2 min read

Burning books! (journals, actually, but not really burning them.)

Tonight I write on my laptop and I’m in bed.

After Harry was born I did this a lot, probably because I was super tired (let’s be honest, I was anemic but hadn’t tested for that yet) and trying to do my thesis and I’d just had a baby…. the story goes on and on and it isn’t that interesting.

But the last few days I’ve crashed miserably and it’s probably because I haveb’t been taking my iron supps for a couple of weeks. Ooops. I started again on Saturday. Silly me.

I digress! This post is actually about journals.


I have a stack of journals. The first one begins from when I was 11 and the most recent one is half empty and the last three entries have been a retelling of my life (I am separated. I have two small children. I miss sleep. One day my book will make millions). I have always reread one or two journals a month. After all, sometimes the best stories are the ones we tell to ourselves, right?

I’ve been too busy to even think about rereading any.

Journals are kind of awkward. I threw out one from when I was 16 because it was far too honest (and mean, and also painted me in a bad light). I have torn pages out, haunted by terrible writing, misplaced feelings and general uneasiness. Plenty of my journal entries mention people I barely even remember, or remember at all. Anything to do with grief and death is awful to read back on — I don’t do it enough justice.

If I’m honest though, I haven’t touched my journals because I don’t want to.

There’s stuff in there I would prefer to forget. There are stories about all sorts of things which are far more vivid in my memory than on paper. There are things I don’t say, and reading between the lines has never been my forte.

I love the song The Story by Brandi Carlile. My favourite line is ‘these stories don’t mean anything if you’ve got no one to tell them to.’

Journals are just a way to tell your story to yourself. And sometimes your story doesn’t need to be rehashed; you still know all the words without having to read the ink on the page.

I like books, rubber ducks, 90s pop music and putting words on paper. Wrote a thesis on romance. Failed roller derby fresh meat 5 times (and counting).

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