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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Writing, Journals, and a new life!

Some of you will be aware that I am doing a creative writing course. It covers writing both non-fiction and fiction, runs for four years although if you can produce the work faster and complete the course sooner that’s fine too. I’m, loving it, I’ve always enjoyed writing, letters and kept journals over the years, rightly or wrongly I don’t have any of them anymore. Possibly had I known, I would be doing this course I would have kept them……. Hindsight and all that jazz! I may have been able to pull something from them for my writing, but my reason for throwing them away, was the personal anguish I felt when I read them.

They were journals, as opposed to diaries. I wrote when something was bothering me, which was in most cases and I wrote on the rare occasion when something good happened. After I moved out of my Ex’s house all my things were boxed up, not that I had a great deal and most of what I did have either went back to my children, my mother or charity shops. Mostly arts and crafts bits, that I had collected over the years, but I kept my journals and my books, except my books from childhood, I left those, thinking it would be a good thing for my children to have, so they could learn to also read English, 34 year old books, which have disappeared, in other words been thrown away. A total travesty and probably out of spite, because my ex knows how I feel about books.

Anyway all my boxes got shipped to America, including my journals which I sat down and read one night, before throwing them away. They made me cry, it was like I was reading about someone else. I was suddenly aware of how miserable I had been. All the guilt I felt no longer existed, these journals covered a period of 13 years on and off, most of the entries were sad, in some cases you could see where my tears had smudged the ink, or the pages were full of hatred and contempt. Situations where I had been belittled, ridiculed, undermined and lied to. I had a raw feeling of self loathing, at a miserable and failing marriage, which at the time I blamed myself for. I felt I wasn’t good enough, I was ill with depression, I wasn’t pretty enough, I didn’t work hard enough, the list of self demoralizing was endless.

I had a good cry and then shoved them down a rubbish shoot. Rather symbolic really, it was like saying “Go to hell, with the old me” welcome a better and happier one. I hadn’t really given the journals much thought until this course, to be honest I don’t know what I could have used, them for. They were very raw and emotional – Do I regret throwing them away? Not especially – I think what throwing them out symbolised was far more important for my emotional psyche, I’m better off remembering basic details of the past, than re-reading the intimate details of a life I left behind for a reason. Instead I’m able to start re-writing my life, now I write about food, or I write non-fiction articles for my course work. Now hours of my day are spent writing and instead of miserable rubbish, I’m being productive, I’m writing pages and pages of things that I know, about all kinds of things.

I am suddenly aware of my own substance and MY voice, I have something to say and I want to be heard…… Welcome the real, Rebecca Alison Dodds, wife, mother, step-mother, writer, in fulltime employment, dog owner and cook. Yes at times life can be hard, but I have it all, and I am so proud of everything I’m now able to accomplish – of which I owe a great deal to my husband, who may roll his eye balls at my latest cockamamie idea, but he loves me unconditionally, encourages me, won’t let me quit, picks me up off the floor when I am down, holds me when I cry and no matter what he ALWAYS has my back!

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