Monday, January 26, 2015


      Hmmm. Would I burn I diaries after years of writing in them? I'm just not sure, or at least it depends on what is in them. I would imagine that I would only burn the diaries that focus on the sad or really depressing parts of my life, like Browning did with the diaries that covered her divorce. That I can certainly understand. I think I would choose to view it as a way to move on. I have written those negative feelings down, tucked them safely away between two distinct bindings and cover, and now I can permanently let them go. They can touch me anymore, they do not exist anymore.
     On the other hand, I certainly would not want to burn the ones that covered momentous moments in my life. My diaries that covered buying my first house, getting married, getting my first big boy job, having children - I would want to keep those forever. It would be fun to look back on those and see what exactly I was thinking back then, and even to see my own small memories or details that might have been forgotten. Those are the ones I would like my children to read, if they feel so inclined. It would be so touching to know that my grandchildren might read those some day, so that they might learn who there grandfather was and is. If they read them after I die too, that's okay. It would be one connection that I do not think could be broken.

Journal Burning...

I can't say that I will ever have the impulse to burn any of my journal works. I write for various reasons, but one thing that always is a part of it, it to learn. That is really the only reason I consistently journal. Now, I understand Browning's concern of privacy, REALLY I DO, but in my opinion, just be careful.

In terms of burning away the past, I understand that too. There are times I look back at things I've written and cringe at (Depending on the day it may be the content of my terrible use of grammar), but reading those things remind me of life lessons and events whether good or bad. It really helps me to understand everything I've been through to make me, me.

I think the prospect of burning journals is an interesting one. Like I said already, I have no interest. However, I think the benefits of it could vary depending on why one journals. For me, I focus one events (mainly good ones) and I focus on thoughts I have, although usually random and pointless, that are really intriguing to go back to years later. For someone who uses journaling in a therapeutic way, the burning seems liberating. It would be nice to watch your bad memories be put behind you.

Journaling for me is fun. Its something I do for pure enjoyment so I have no interest in destroying those works.

Week 3: Liberating Yourself From the Past

I’ve never been an avid journaler, but I think burning the few that I have kept would be an exhilarating feeling. Burning my journal would be a symbol of freedom. Some of the topics I wrote about were very personal to me, and I surely wouldn’t want anyone else to read them. What better way to get rid of those words than to throw them into a fire? 

I find this spectacle of burning journals/diaries not much different than the end of school/beginning of summer bonfires my friends and I had where we burned our notebooks and other papers from that school year. It’s like relieving yourself of the past and starting fresh. The knowledge (from school) and memories (from your journal) are still there, but you no longer have tangible evidence that it ever existed.

While it would be easy to get rid of the negative parts of a journal, I have mixed feelings about burning the positive memories. It’s nice to have something to look back on, especially as you age and your mind/memory gets foggy. If I journaled regularly, I would probably try and save the major milestones in my life and get rid of the negativity. I can’t dwell on the bad times in my past, similar to Browning's idea when she wrote, “I didn’t want to wade back into those depths, where a powerful riptide still churned.”

Sunday, January 25, 2015

You are what you write

Part 1: Call it coincidence, or call it fate?

While I currently do not keep a journal or diary, I used to as a child. I would write in it fairly irregularly, usually more about boys than anything else :) As I grew older and the years slipped by, I guess the diary kept getting pushed under my bed or neglected until one day, my mom must have found it and tucked it in my “keepsake” box for my eyes at a later time. 

The other day, I was rifling through that box when I came across that diary. I opened it up and read the first few entry’s. As I mentioned, most of the entry’s were about the cute boys who I thought must have a crush on me or about my crushing on one of them. 

All of a sudden, I came across an entry where I wrote something to the effect of, “I think I like this boy…” Now, this would not be an out of the ordinary entry, except for the guy who I was writing about happens to be the very same guy that I am currently dating, and have been dating for over four years. I could’t believe what I was reading. I do not remember writing this in my diary, let alone crushing on him as en elementary school kid. We weren’t even friends till senior year of high school! 

Now, I’m not sure what this means. It might be a coincidence that I wrote about the guy that I am now dating how many years later. It might be fate. This “coincidence,” if you will, possess some mysterious quality. Some undeterminable magic. It’s spiritual to me, really. I feel that there is a reason that that diary was kept, as if I was meant to read that entry at a later point in my life. I’m not sure what that reason is yet, but had the diary been burned or thrown away, I would never have been able to consider the significance of why I came to read that entry so many years later. 

This leads me to discarding journals/diaries. I feel that burning diaries or journals is a personal thing. It might be something that people feel that they have to do, like with Brown in Burning Your Diaries. Perhaps it gives them a sense of relief, knowing that no one will ever read their thoughts, feelings, their deepest darkest secrets, like with Brown. It is a chance to start over, chance to let go of the past. If the author wants to discard it, then I think they are entitled to do that. 

Part 2: Me, a diary?

The closest thing that I have to a diary or journal is my blog that I made for this class. While I have not gone into great depth in my posts, I have revealed that I have been going through a tough time, a mixture of anxiety and depression tossed together with excitement and happiness. This past week and a half or so, I have put myself through hell and back. I never want to relive what I have recently emotionally experienced, so I highly doubt that I will go back and read those blog posts. Maybe that is, in a sense, the same thing as burning a diary/journal. I don’t think that it’s right or wrong to burn them. I think that people are entitled to do away with their personal lives (what they write in their specific platform) as they see fit. 

However, regardless, I think that the point is, is that the things that you wrote about in your diary or journal are the things that make you who you are today. They are the situations that you learned from. They are the past loves that made you realize the things you want or don’t want in a relationship. They are the experiences that you never hope to encounter again, but that you learned something from. The author doesn’t need the text to remind them of their experiences, because people are more or less living diaries. They are made up of the things that they write about, and the people that we encounter are kind of viewing the “diary” or person without scribbled words. So it doesn’t necessarily matter if the diary or journal is discarded, when people are living, breathing versions of the diary that they did away with. 


The moment we take our thoughts and put them into words to be physically seen they are there forever.  We hope and wish and intend on our diaries to be for our eyes only, but that’s just foolishness.  This is the risk we take when we allow our “soul” to live in the words we write.  Dominique Browning in “Burning the Diaries” knew it was time to let go of 40 years.  She feared the “evil eye that would judge”, but mostly she didn’t want her boys to know “how profoundly” she had suffered throughout her life.  I can’t judge this.  I can’t say what she’s doing with her soul is wrong or right.  My opinion is, life is incredibly difficult.  When you write all the ups and downs as a coping mechanism, the thought of someone being able to read all of your deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings has to be scary as hell.  

Because this is what she’s doing isn’t it?  There is so much pain in Browning’s diaries when talking about burning them she doesn’t say let them all go.  She says it was time to “let it all go.”  She’s talking about her written past.  Having those words kept her pain immortal.  She held on to it for long enough and it was time for her to burn her way to the other side.

I get it, but for me my diary is only the recovery of my darkest days.  Writing when I was at my lowest point felt exhausting therefore it just didn’t happen.  I was empowered by how much one person can change or help another and they not even know it.  So I wrote and wrote and wrote most of our conversations.  Learning how to live life again and with so much self discovery is not something I would ever burn but I don’t need to.  My immortal written words are the other side of that burned bridge.  Anyone who reads it would be impacted by the depths two souls can connect.

Week Three: To Burn or Not To Burn

When I was younger I would write in a journal everyday. It would just be random ramblings that today don’t mean anything. I think that I would burn my old journals if I still had them. I don’t really have any emotional ties to the silly thoughts I had when I was younger.

Now today if I still kept a journal, I would be devastated to lose it. A journal that I would keep today would serve as a confidant. I could tell my journal anything and it wouldn’t be able to speak back. I could rant all I want to about work or something irrational that my friend did. I could write my hopes and dreams and what I have to do to accomplish them. It would hold more value then ones from when I was little.

Week 3: It depends

Since diaries are suppose to be a part of you, I think I would burn mine. I have a book that i write in every time I'm depress. I still have it and read it some times. If i were to move out i would burn it but now i just want to know how i grew up from all these shitty things or if I'm still at that place. I learned a lot from them specially my grammar and vocabulary still sucks. Writing everyday is really amazing, I applaud people who can keep a daily diary.

I stopped writing in it when i started dancing. Dancing has help me cope with all those thoughts and i hope I never have to read them again and start writing happy memories. If they are happy memories i wouldn't burn them but If hey are all sad I would rather burn them.

Many people know me as he cheerful one so it will be really sad if they really got into my head. It would be sad if they knew the depressing part of me.

I like to choose how I want to be remembered by my love ones. It probably sounds selfish since they will only just know a part of me but i don't think you can ever know anyone completely.  I don't fully know myself yet so i might as well choose what i want to be remember as.

Week Three: Book Burning

This past week with my junior high students we talked about book burning. They didn't understand why people would light books on fire and not just throw them in the trash can. I explained that to burn a book means to permanently destroy the words written inside, that no one could ever find it and read it again. 

"But Miss Holly, couldn't they read it on the internet?" 

I had to laugh because this generation will never understand what it means to permanently destroy words. Everything they do is via text, the internet, etc. We have ingrained in them that everything they write on the internet can be traced back, that there is a digital record of everything they do. So to try to burn their Facebook or their blogs or Instagram photos is impossible. There will always be a trace of it somewhere. 

I have never burned a book or a journal or a personal diary. In fact, I love re-reading my personal journals that I would keep in spurts. I am not afraid of the past nor of anyone else reading those once hidden thoughts. I don't believe in secrets. When I write, I go into it knowing that any feelings or thoughts I make tangible could be seen or read by someone else. 

Like a secret, once you tell someone a secret, it's no longer a secret and you can't be surprised when others find out. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Dominique Browning's article, Burning Your Diaries, reflects on her long history of dairy keeping. She says her soul was kept in the diaries, and was afraid of anyone else might read it and see her weakness. So, she burned and destroyed them, and with them her pain and anger were destroyed as well. I, too, rid myself of my old diaries, but not in the same romantic, cleansing way Dominique Browning did. I just threw mine away. Or, in the case of my middle school LiveJournal, pressed delete. I didn't care about them anymore. I don't regret it. I kept diaries my whole childhood and young adulthood, but at a certain point I decided that they were pointless. I couldn't answer the question "Who are these for?" Were they for me? I didn't want them, they weren't helping me, in fact, they just made me embarrassed of myself. Were they for anyone else? Absolutely not. They were for nothing, so I threw them away. Maybe I recycled them. I can't remember.

Something interesting about Browning's article that caught my eye was that she considered diaries to be "irresistible" - to write and to read other peoples! Not only do I think that is really rude on her part, to want the privacy of her own dairies to be respected while she snoops in others, but I completely disagree. Not only can I resist diaries, I find them repulsive. They repel me. I find them difficult to do and to read. I am also uninterested in reading the dairies of others. Why do I need to know what other people are thinking? I am definitely not interested in the secret thoughts of others. When those thoughts concern me, then they won't be a secret to me because that person will tell me. That is why I don't care about blogs. I don't care what people are thinking or doing day to day or ever.

So, in sum, burn the diaries. But not because its some romanticized release thing. Do it because they don't matter. They are just words and paper.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Week Three: Private Diaries Destroyed

A diary is very confidential and contains secrets that are for your eyes only. When I was younger, I kept a diary with a lock on it and I wrote my feelings down and how I felt about certain events that happened in my life that I felt were better expressed through writing. I have always had a passion for writing so it became natural for me to confide in my journal versus another individual. Sometimes when I expressed certain feelings on major events I would find myself tearing the pages out a couple weeks later because I did not want anyone to read what I wrote.

The article that was assigned to read, Burning Your Diaries made me really think about burning a diary/journal versus just throwing it away maybe. It is something about the possibility of somebody finding your diary and reading it so it is better to destroy it. None of my secrets in my diary were ever that deep for me to burn them honestly. Therefore, I just used to throw them away instead. I think it is all about how deep and personal your diary is what factors in if you decide to burn it with fire.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Week 3: Burning Past

Burning books has always brought a sadness to my mind. The idea of setting the pages of anyone’s work aflame is like setting fire to their soul. I believe the words we choose to write, whether they be in a novel or a journal, come from our hearts. What we write about, we constantly think about.

I have kept journals since I was a child. One in particular was very dark and contained many secrets. I had kept it under my mattress for four whole years of high school. I was graduated now. I wanted nothing to do with that past. Sleeping on it every night, I could feel the painful energy that I had soused into the pages with ink, tears, and blood. I stood on the edge of our round fireplace, fanning through and beaming at the stains of emotion cover to cover. A squeeze of the trigger and a flame emerged at the end of the black shaft. The bright flame against the dark backdrop of my neighbors yard heated my face as small tears swelled in the creases of my eyelids. I lightly dipped the corner of my journal into the flame and it smoothly began to spread across the mahogany red cover. I dropped it into the old ashes of nights past and watched it turn to a glowing black core.

Although I burned the hurtful memories of the past when I was younger, I would never do so again. At that time in my life I was a lost soul in need of a map and a journey. I had such negative feelings inside of me, burning documentation of my later realized amazing life seemed to be the answer. Since then, I have grown to regret nothing in the past. I learn from my mistakes and elapsed experiences, looking ahead so I may find happiness.

In Dominique Browning’s essay Burning Your Diaries, the writer admits to being a snoop and having the worry of their children finding forty years worth of diaries. I personally do not have that worry. My secrets are anything but shameful to me, I want people to love me for who I am good, bad, known, or unknown.

Week Three: Extinguish the Embers

Fire consumes. It destroys. It's greedy, eating anything in its path.

My diaries are like photographs. Memories of time past, captured in that single moment when I decided to put words onto the page.

No matter what I wrote in my diaries, I would never want to destroy my memories.

Dominique Browning brings up valid points in her article, "Burning the Diaries." She never wanted anyone to ever read her diaries, especially her sons. She wanted to protect her privacy. She wanted to burn her past and her mistakes. She wanted to free her soul that lived within the pages of her diaries.

But, I like the idea of diaries sticking around-- like a time capsule, waiting to be opened by a later generation who will learn the secrets, successes, and failures of ones life. Everyone is unique. No one ever has the same exact experiences in life. No one puts the same words to a situation.

I've kept a diary off and on throughout my life. I kept one in third grade because I remember having an entry about the September 11th attacks. I kept one at the beginning of high school because I remember writing about how terrified I was to start a new school. But, no matter what I wrote or how silly I sounded years later, I always appreciated that I had put the pen to the page. Re-reading my entries always seemed like taking a step back into the past, which is sometimes comforting to re-visit.

Diaries hold all kinds of possibilities. They provide a way to learn from the past or return to your roots. Browning wanted to hide parts of her life in the best interest of her sons, and I respect that, but I think diaries are meant to be revealing-- and the fact that they're supposed private means that they are just asking to be read.

When I'm gone from this world, I want my family or friends to be able to look at my diaries and remember me. I want someone other than me to know the who me and to be able to peek into my life from my own perspective. I don't mind because I'm not ashamed or embarrassed about the decisions I've made in my life. I've learned to acknowledge that everything that has happened to me has made me who I am.

Browning states, "As the journals burned, I watched in horrified fascination, as if it were some other person laying the books onto the fire, to entertain or torture me. The fire had a violent beauty. And I did think, whoa, there goes a lot of material. But I also thought, good riddance. I’ve made what I could of that material."

Whether or not someone chooses to burn their diaries, I think it all comes down to what we learn from them. Make what you can of the material.

Fire may seem exhilarating. It's violent and it's beautiful. But I never want to see the flames skim the pages that are filled with my words. I put figments of my heart and soul into my diary and I want them to be around longer than a lifetime.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Community Post #2: Burn After Reading

"My body may be a temple but I am the God to whom it is devoted. Do not presume to tell me how I may adorn my altar."-Anonymous 

When I think about fire inevitably its in terms of literature. Fire is seen as cleansing, strong, dangerous and as humans we are either forged in the fires of our tragedies or consumed by them. Browning captures the cathartic properties of fire but not necessarily the finality of it, once the journals are burned they are gone forever however Browning seems to shrug off that because of her fear of the past and the secrets it held, "That so unnerved me that I stopped reading. I didn't want to wade back into those depths, where a powerful riptide still churned,"

Should we be fearful of our feelings?
Have we been made to be ashamed of the power of our emotions?

I refuse to burn anything I write. I refuse to be ashamed of what I write, how I feel. I have written musings, poems, and memoirs since I was ten and when I look back at pieces I can compartmentalize. Are they perfectly written? No. Are they still poignant? Absolutely. I walked through hell and I survived. 

People forget that failure and success are a couple that walk hand in hand, without the other it does not carry the same power. As a society we are so terrified of showing our "flaws" and that's the real tragedy. We create illusions because we can't deal with reality. Browning in her Chutes & Ladders section talks about how she wants her sons to see her as a climber not as a slider and how she is constantly editing, "Readers never get it all. They get some of all of it. Everything I write is true. But I don’t write about everything true. I shape, I cut, I feint and dodge." This ability to "edit" our lives allow us to craft the image we want others to see which is a powerful tool. However how do we really analyze ourselves if we aren't looking at our true selves but the edited version?

Week 3 Community Blog Post #2: My Diaries

             The article entitled “Burning the Diaries” by Dominique Browning has really made me think about what it would be like if I made the decision to burn all of my diaries, and ultimately lose years worth of thoughtful and meaningful writing.  I would definitely not destroy my diaries because for me, they represent pieces of myself, my own thoughts and feelings over time, and how I have come to terms with life situations as they have been thrown my way.  Diaries are important because they are essentially memories collected over time, and looking back and reading my diary entries over has helped me see how far I have come and what I have learned through the years.  Even though Browning ultimately decided to burn her diaries because she felt she had done all she could and made all she could of the material in her diaries, she did offer some valuable insight into why journaling, or writing in a diary, is so helpful.  As stated by Browning in the article, “but there certainly was — and has always been — a form of therapy in keeping journals.   It is a way of self-soothing, as an adult, a way of rubbing the satin corner of your blankie against your finger when you’re anxious about separation, or too worked up to fall asleep.”  I absolutely agree with this statement and, for me, I feel as though this is a huge reason why I would not decide to burn my diaries.  

            Whenever I have been stressed, upset, or had trouble sleeping I have turned to my diaries as a means to sort through my own inner thoughts.  Getting my feelings out on paper has worked wonders for me and made me into the person I am today.  I have become better able to sort through my emotions, which in turn has made me more empathetic to other’s feelings and also enabled me to articulate myself better to others.  Aside from losing years worth of memories, I would potentially be giving up on journaling further in the future if I destroyed my diaries.  Due to the fact that keeping a diary has been so therapeutic for me, I would not want to give up something that has been such a valuable learning tool for me.  Over the years, I have learned from what I have gone through, and as a result I am now a much stronger person.  I have held on to my past journals and diaries by keeping them safely tucked away in what I refer to as my “forever box”, which is a large storage bin that I store my important memories (letters, pictures, etc.) from over the years.  These memories not only include my former diaries, but also things from my childhood and grade school days.  I like to re-visit these items occasionally so that I can reminisce and remember what I was like way back when and how much I have grown.  The diaries are an important and incredibly special part of my memories as they hold huge sentimental value to me.  Therefore, I would never make the choice to eliminate the diaries from my life.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Future Bum

Andy Lee Graham is a traveler who has and still inspires me today. i would like to travel just like him one day. It has always been one of my passion to travel all around the world, meet new people, eat every kind of food and experience new things. I was planning a trip to France a few years ago when i stubble upon this gem. It has all the places and fares, hotels and food i could try when i was there. Although i knew a lot about french culture, i was amaze by how much money and time i could save by following Andy's advice. That trip turned into an adventure. We went to Rome, Greece and Croatia.
His journal is informative and pleasant to read. He doesn't post as often as i would like him to but he feeds my traveling appetite.
He even went to my country last year and i couldn't stop laughing at all the obstacles he came upon.


I thought finding a Blogger who journals would be hard. Then I thought a about a site named Tumblr that a lot of Bloggers use. I am not really into reading blogs but I do like watching vlogs on YouTube. One girl I watch in particular I watch, Raven Elyse, vlogs about her life as a college student. I found out that she also has a blog on Tumblr where she keeps a journal. Her journal is personal where she discusses things that are going on in her life. Her most recent blogs discuss her recent back up with her boyfriend. So you can say most if not all her content is personal. I think that her journal is effective because she is a young girl like myself in college who faces the same issues I do. I think her blogs can help other girls who maybe facing heart break or college, to make them feel that they are not alone. In her blogs she talk about life, love, and acceptance things that are a part of my life as well. When reading  Raven's blogs you see her developing self-awareness of who she is through her personal observations.

A Blogger Who Journals

I found this blog very interesting because Jenny Blake's posts are for everybody but especially college students. As a college student we deal with so many issues mentally, financially, and emotionally. Many people get confused, switch majors multiple times, and do not know how they are going to work and got to school at the same time. Ms. Blake gives inspirational advice in her posts to help give students a positive attitude about the world. Her blogs mainly focus on life after college because that is when it seems like your would will change all over again. She tells a story from the past in history that has a positive message or life lesson to go along with it.

A main lesson that Jenny Blake consistently discusses is failure. That is such an important topic because I was always told in order to succeed in life you will fail at least a couple of times. There will be different trials and tribulations but you greatest lessons will come from failure. She emphasizes a lot of time things will not go the way we had them planned and that is when you take what happened and turn it into something positive. The few posts that I read were so inspirational and makes so much sense because she turns a negative situation into a positive one. At the end of her posts, she always ends with a positive sentence. "Failure doesn't ruin your story. Failure helps you write it.(Blake)" "With great pain comes great purpose. (Blake)" Great advice!

You Can't Light a Fire Without a Flame

Community Post #2

I have never been a religious journal-er. Every once in a while I think of something I deem important and I put it in the notes app in my phone if I am out and about, occasionally I will find the time to sit down and write about how I feel about things. Mostly, I like to write stories based on personal experience.

In September before classes started I had my computer wiped, having thought I had backed it up, I turned it back on and everything was gone. Every thing I had ever written. Stories, poems, a 27 page book-that-never-was. I cried. I could not ever think about doing that again. There was so much that was lost in that loss. Personas I had created, reflections on my experiences, poems about things I had been feeling at certain times in my life.

It upsets me to this day that all of that is lost, since then I have been discouraged to write because I feel like nothing I will ever write again will be that good. I was so proud of my story. Those stories I had written and those poems were a part of who I am, or was. The thought of ever deleting or burning anything I have written or will ever write makes me almost a little sick, because it is a huge part of who I am.

An Offerring to the Bloggess

Jenny Lawson has created an amazing blog titled "The Bloggess". In this blog, Jenny relates daily happenings in her life like her birthday presents, her view on Girl Scout Cookies, and cats. Lots of cats. What makes Jenny's journal/blog effective is her filter, or lack there of. Many people are funny, but today it seems to be that the less filtered you are, the bigger the following you will have (one of my favorite comedians is Kathy Griffin). If people want stuffy news or more hard-hitting stories, they go to the TV and turn on a popular news station. For people who want a laugh and want to feel like they are talking to their funniest friend, they go to Jenny Lawson.

Not only does her outspokenness ensnare you, but her random topics get you giggling and scrolling until you realize that you just spent an hour on her blog. Her randomness and hilarity has come to be the norm, and her unexpectedness is expected. It is clear that this is a blog for an audience, and she is very aware of that audience, but that does not stop you from laughing at her F-bombs and random pictures.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Bloggess

I found a blog entitled “The Bloggess: Like Mother Teresa, Only Better.” This blog is by Jenny Lawson, wife, mother, cat lover who has also written a book/memoir based on her blog entitled Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Many of Jenny’s blogs revolve around her daily life but she adds a sarcastic, humorous tone to each blog. We are privy to the conversations between her and her husband, as well as her daughter. She discusses things she is passionate about including a heated yet hysterical debate between herself and The National Girl Scouts Organization over cookie profits. These blog entries discuss the ordinary life experiences we all face from deciding a Halloween costume to dealing with credit card companies shutting down cards for random purchases that we ourselves make, all in the name of protection against fraud! Each time I read an entry, I instantly find myself laughing, agreeing, and screaming “Right!” at my laptop.