…is half of wisdom” said Francis Bacon.

And my question was: The journals? To keep or not to keep?

My mother-in-law shares this anecdote: ” When my grandmother died, [her son] threw away her journals.  My mother and I lamented this, for she lived a tortured life, had many nervous breakdowns and poured herself freely into her writing, apparently her soul’s one outlet, other than her prayers.  We felt it was a great loss, since she was a person who was frustrated, suppressed and misunderstood.”

In the same note, she added: “I have many boxes of journals and diaries I have kept since I was a teenager.  I want to get rid of them, but my daughter doesn’t.  She believes they may have some value for her. So I say, not so fast.  I understand both sides of this dilemma.  They may be a legacy for someone else.  Your biographer would / will have a field day with them!”

My brother and one of my friends also recommended I keep them, while another friend shared that she’d gotten rid of hers with no ill effects.

All of which BEGS the question: why?

There was a time when, like my mother-in-law’s grandmother, I lived a “tortured” life, believing I was “frustrated, suppressed and misunderstood” and had no outlet but the privacy of my own pages: when I thought perhaps, one day, someone would find my journals and discover how brilliant and sensitive I really was. But, having remained neither tortured, frustrated, suppressed or misunderstood, I no longer have THAT reason.

There was also a time when I believed so fervently in my own  greatness that I looked forward to leaving  a comprehensive record for my earnest biographer(s). But I no longer have THAT reason either.

A legacy for my daughter? Perhaps. But it might as likely be a legacy of more crap for HER to deal with. I promised one of my very best friends I would absolutely ditch them, but I think I will ultimately leave it to the cards and do a reading.  Then I will report back.