Monday, May 10, 2010

Shred or not to Shred?

These arms and machinery belong to a local shredding spot. It is 20 cents per pound and plastic covers, metal spirals and a years worth of journal pages are fed into the teeth of this room size shredder. I have a small household shredder perfect for personal papers but dismantling journals with covers and spirals is a bigger project. Before I take them to the shredder, I glean the poems and important notes and the rest I consider personal blah, blah, blahs. A place where I work out thoughts about the art and everyday life...on any given page...could be a shopping list, a dream revisited or an opinion written out. My girlfriend asked her husband to burn her journals if she died first and he did keep his promise. I've been keeping a journal for over 30 years so it is a space problem as well. What is the general opinion...shred or not to shred journals?!

movie report: I was not disappointed with "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", beginning with great visual sights, costume and set design. Simple story and I'm sure I missed the English Monty Python humor but I was fine with the changes in actors replacing Ledger's role...seamless for me and, and Tom Waite was a perfect devil...being himself such a rare character it was wonderful to see and hear him deliver lines in such a perfect form...the devil!

Too cool for painting on the deck so it's acrylic in the studio today! Made headway on "3" probably because I stopped caring about outcome. Have a great week!


  1. it's possible these machines exist here but i have never even heard of one! I still have all my journals from the 70's onward. I did destroy my high school journals. my journals are almost all writing except for those done after 1995 or so. a difficult decision. but quite frankly unless i become suddenly famous i cant imagine anyone wanting to read them after i am gone. on the other hand, should my son ever marry and have children, it would be kinda neat to have a few around from their gram. i have a travel journal my gram kept and also a novel my grandfather wrote (never published).

  2. That's a hard question. But I think you have solved any problems by gleening out the things you want to keep and not becoming too attached to the "stuff".

  3. I've never kept a journal, although I wish I had. But I suppose blogging is a form of journaling. If I had, I would never shred them. I'm too much of a romantic.

  4. They are intimate looks into your life
    the ordinary
    the wonderful
    the painful
    the creative
    the loving
    the witness
    To me they say
    I was here
    I counted
    and this is my tale
    Shred the crap...
    keep the you

  5. Journals, sketchbooks, notebooks - I'd keep them, but carefully go through them and take out the interesting bits and use them in new pieces. I don't think I would shred them after that. I'd probably pack them into a crate and put them in the loft.

  6. On the shredding issue: when I listen to the one's left behind and they seem to get a lot of comfort from the journals. I think that life would be easier and writing easier if one shreds. Then you are not writing for posterity but the real person, who is going through whatever complexity at the moment.
    Shred every four years?

  7. Ohhhhh... this is a toughie for me. I shredded most of my high school journal because it was just plain embarassing. All about silly boys that I was mooning over. Now I doubt myself for shredding them. Was there something in there that I could learn from now? Would I just still be embarassed by them?

    One of my grandmothers and one of my grandfathers kept daily journals. Not the most exciting stuff (weather, crop reports, etc.), but every once in a while, there's a gem in there. A birth, a celebration, a happy moment. As a grandchild, those little jewels are worth all the work of reading through thirty days of weather.

    Perhaps I'm a packrat, but I guess my final opinion would be keep 'em. :)

  8. Shred it! As long as you're going through it all first and picking out the "gems" or what you feel resonates meaningfully with you on some level. (must remember to follow my own advice next time I open "that" cupboard door in my studio).

  9. I don't think I could do it - it takes more courage than I've got. My journals - with all their irregular entries, starting and stopping - might one day give my kids or grandkids a peak into the quirky but good intentioned nature within me.

  10. Use up, redo, keep what feels important, and then lighten up the pile of possessions. If only I could follow that advise....maybe you could put pages in layers in some of your art, buried too deep to reread.

    Thanks for you visits to my blog and your kind comments, Mary Ann.

  11. I upcycle them and turn them into new journals or books...

  12. Suki, A vote to keep!

    Maggie, It's important to know stuff from jewels!

    Willow, Your journals would be material for Romance 101!

    Suz, Best line all day: "Shred the crap"

    Annie, You have a garden and a loft?!!

    Pat, Shred every 4 years...why not 3?

    Shelly, Regret is tough...better to be a packrat and happy!

    louciao, You have cupboards in your studio?!

    Karen, They will be as your legacy...very nice!

    Maggie, Great advice...the journals do grow like weeds around here!

    Cat, Make them into plan!

  13. I used to write in journals years ago when I was going through my dark period of transition from watercolor to acrylic and representational to abstract- I have not looked at them in a very long time- might be interesting to take a look-- but don't think I could shred them :-)

  14. This is a concept I hadn’t thought of before. I’ve also kept journals a long, long time; they started as diaries. Those earlier ones seem more insightful and profound than some I keep now, especially one for venting feelings. Those I might consider shredding someday—LOL! Yet both the dark and light are within us all. Thank you for such a thoughtful post.

  15. i admit burning things, but i love fire... potters i know smash stuff they hate, immediately... I have a friend (much older than i) whose journals are now at a University... its strange to me and i think i will go read some one day soon; but that would take so much psychic energy.

    Everything we write or make isn't worth keeping in my heart, but to make those choices while alive is better, than to have someone else have the burden.

    Interested in minimalism more and more tho--so what is worth saying with my time?