Saturday, September 01, 2007


Relating back to this week's giveaway, I wanted to mention one more thing about keeping journals. One of my most prized possessions is my great-grandmother's journal, in which she talks about her family and domestic life just before the turn of the century. She also included photos of some of the soldiers she nursed when she was younger.

I don't think G-Grandma ever suspected her journal would survive for a hundred years to end up in my hands, or how fascinating her life would be to me, or I think she would have written more in her younger years. Or maybe she thought, "I'm just a nurse, not a soldier -- who would be interested in what I have to say about the Civil War?"

What seems so mundane to us now will eventually be history -- and no matter how well this era is documented by our leaders and academics, I think it's what's written by the common people who lived through it that means the most to future generations.

The winner of the RW: Book Making giveaway is Hanna. Hanna, when you get a chance, e-mail all the necessary name and shipping info to so I can get these goodies out to you.

Thanks to everyone for sharing your ideas on what to put into handmade books.


  1. Anonymous2:00 PM

    I've been thinking a lot about journals as well. The value of Pepys' diaries, or Thoreau's, or your great-grandmother's, is in the accumulation of many entries over time. A single day can be pretty boring, but following the person's life over weeks and months is fascinating. (Pepys online is well worth a visit: There was a similar project on Thoreau's diaries, but I think the organizer abandoned it.)

    That's an important lesson for journal (and other) writers to bring to their own work. Whether you're writing for posterity or for yourself, the total body of work is more important than individual paragraphs. Don't get paralyzed by the desire for perfection, just keep writing.

  2. Let me see if I have this straight: you have in your possession an account of the life and times of a Civil War nurse and you've been anthologized in a book for which Erica Jong wrote the preface?

    I'm going to need a bit of alone time to deal with my envy.


    Oh, and congrats Hanna.

  3. This is great...

    I have been journaling since before I could write (red crayons and paper).

    Yesterday, I found something I wrote while on cytoxan. It was powerful and scary. I wanted to cry.


  4. Congrats, Hanna!

    Despite my mother's efforts when I was a child, I never have been much of a journaller. I guess some of us is and some of us ain't.

  5. I used to journal quite a bit when I was younger, then it fell off during high school. At the end of my college years I discovered blogging and rediscovered my love of writing. I know hardly anyone reads my entries, but that's okay. *I* will read them, and wonder that I could have ever felt that way five years ago, etc. I'd love to see a diary of someone in my family. It might not be fantasy, but it's a point of view from another time, and that can be just as fantastic.


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