I burned about 20 years of journals. Pages and pages of gut-red poetry and angst; cosmic gorgeousness and tender prayers; lists of wants, boyfriends (a loose term), and favourite perfumes.
With every page I fed into the fireplace, I smiled. Thank you. Goodbye. Hellohhh here & now.
REASONS FOR THE BIG BURN
- I’m not really interested in the idea of leaving a legacy. If I die tomorrow and vanish from everyone’s memories, fine by me. I’m here for now.
- I love deeply and I’m very ritualistic, but I’m not very nostalgic.
- I love my present, I love my future, I love the vastness of my past. But I’ve found that investing in the future has way better return on investment.
- I’ve come to the conclusion that reliving pain is actually not that conducive to my joy or creativity. Nope, just isn’t. I’ve tried recapitulation and obsessive, neurotic over-attachment as a means to self-improvement, and funnily enough, it doesn’t seem to work. I can find plenty to be sad about in my current life––I don’t need to go digging up old material.
- I love ritual and fire. Really, if you want to burn something DOWN, invite me. Funeral pyre, anyone? I’ll bring the matches.
- For me, clutter-free living is up there with rainbows, front row seats, and answered prayers.
INSIGHTS FROM THE BURN
- It helped me become even more glaringly aware of my insignificance on the planet. Thrilling. Generally, I’m happy with the work I put into the world. But realistically, not long after I die, my work will fade from view. Beyond, say, my great-grandchildren, if they ever come to be, I’m dust to dust.
- Personal insignificance is provocative when you’re making your art. Remembering how insignificant you are helps you to be more daring, more honest, more … here.
- Privacy is powerful energy to harness. One of my favourite things about being alive is the fleeting intimacy of events. Me. You. A moment only we shared. Gone. God, I love that compression of the sacred and the mundane. I like knowing that most everything will never happen again. So let it go.
- I want my past to move through me like water. I want my ideal future to come to me as easily. Fluid yesterday, fluid tomorrow.
- You get to make it all up anyway. History is malleable because memory is subjective.
- Do not give your past the power to define your future.
There are archivists. There are burners. I’d never advise on journal-burning issues, it’s a very personal matter. Do keep, torch, it’s your free will. But I can tell you this: Traveling lighter helps me shine brighter.