I have twenty years’ worth of “Morning Pages” cheapo notebooks stacked in my spare bedroom closet. I started doing morning pages, as suggested by Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, in early 1993. Morning pages changed my life, and I am not indulging in hyperbole. I wrote (and continue to write) three pages in longhand per day of what I came to call my “compost.” I’d estimate that out of those 7300 days (365 times 20) I’ve missed maybe 30 at the most. One notebook includes about two to three months’ worth of entries, depending on the size of the notebooks. (I like variety in my notebooks, so they come in all sizes, wide ruled, narrow ruled, number of pages, etc.) Twenty years is 240 months, so at two months per notebook, I have about 120 notebooks. My closet is stuffed.
Wow. Now what do I do with these notebooks, currently stacked in that closet in the room I fondly call my library, because it’s where I keep all my books, except for my growing collection of ebooks, which take up no room but often don’t feel real. My Morning Pages notebooks are more than real. They are full of unimportant trivia and deep insights, often nestled together on the pages. Frustrations, anger and joy – and memos to myself to do the laundry, and what food I had for dinner the night before. Ideas for new books, stories, and poems. Writer’s block blown up and creativity unleashed – right next to complaints and bitchiness. Forgiveness and grace, pettiness and guilt. Spilling some secrets that I’ve never told anyone, and even had problems writing them down because it was the first and only time I could admit them to myself.
I should throw these notebooks away, right? Or burn them? The historian in me rebels at that. Save them for my kids to decide to throw them away after I’m dead? But – they might read them and perhaps some of my unedited ramblings will hurt or upset them. Equally bad – they won’t read them because they don’t care, and all my brilliant thoughts will be lost.
And if I save them, then what about when I’m 90 and living in one room in a home for “seniors,” that euphemism for Old that fools no one. By that time there will be even more notebooks and they will take over, I’ll be eaten by my past.
I don’t know what to do with them, so for right now I’ll just continue to write in them and stuff them in the closet. And my life will continue to be saved.