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.”