Teachers and friends have counseled me, at various times, to keep a diary. Others have extolled the virtues of a journal. We use the two words interchangeably, but they serve different functions. Dictionary.com defines a diary as “a daily record, usually private, especially of the writer’s own experiences, observations, feelings, and attitudes.” It describes a journal as “a newspaper or magazine that deals with a particular subject or professional activity, i.e. a medical journal.”
I know people who maintain a record of their daily lives, and they tell me they often study their passages. I tried the exercise, and I admit I never knew what to write. The real test was when, several months later, I reviewed the entries. The blithering idiot responsible for the drivel appalled and embarrassed me. I swore no one would read the garbage, and I burned everything.
Since then, I have decided journals are much…
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