Burning Diaries Part 2

My last post hit a nerve.


It was a big surprise to me that my previous post, “Burning My Past” received so many lengthy comments and appeals via Facebook, private messages, email and in the comments section of the blog.

When I wrote it, I had pretty much decided to burn my diaries.  Then the responses started coming in.  Burn! Don’t burn!  The arguments for each were so passionately presented. I was deeply touched and had to rethink.

I reread a diary from 2005-06.  In that time period, in addition to writing about my daily life as a mother living a tropical life with two children, my marriage ended, a  lifelong family friend died, then my father died, followed by the deaths of my lover, another dear friend, and my mother.  I got a divorce.  I commuted from Merida to Tenafly, NJ to sell and clean out my parents’ home.

So much heaviness. Too much.  Did I really need to relive all of that?  Did it serve a purpose?  Maybe to remind me that I got through it all and still managed to feel gratitude and joy.

Your comments made me remember something I had forgotten.  What makes a diary truly authentic is that it is a private document you write for yourself, not thinking of an outside or future reader.  No longer will I view them as something I leave to others.  My diaries serve me and when they no longer do, they will go.

My dear friend Mariana told me that making no decision, is in fact, a decision.  I have decided to put the diaries back in the box and see how I feel in a few months.  Temporary stay of execution.

Thank you, dear readers, for your passion!

xo Liza

P.S.  If you have any new thoughts, or if you didn’t chime in on last week’s post, the comment box below is waiting for you.

P.P.S.  Marie Kondo of a past post, “My Tidy Life” would say, toss them.  She feels that, “paper never makes you happy.”


Hello my lovelies.  Now its your turn to tell us what you think in the comments box below.  We all learn from what YOU have to say.  Please click the clever buttons below to “like” and “share” this post.  And if you haven’t already, enter your email in the box above so you won’t miss a thing.


12 thoughts on “Burning Diaries Part 2

  1. A wise decision. Making no decision is a decision… really like that. May steal it sometime 🙂 Maybe you could just get an ultra strong lock for your box and leave them there under the assumption (ha ha) that no one else will ever try to read them.

  2. Sometimes inaction is the best action. You will know when the time is right to dispose of the diaries–or not.

  3. When cleaning out my parents’ house I came across years and years of journals kept by my father. Obviously his decision was to keep them. When I told my sister that I had read through them she said, “Isn’t that an invasion of his privacy?” It’s an interesting question. So, by not tossing them, am I now tasked as Gate Keeper for the secrets hidden within?

    1. Hi Dev. Thanks for sharing your story. It adds to the complications of how and when to dispose of or save diaries. I am not an authority on this…but it seems to me that you inherited these diaries, and as your property, you have the same dilemma as everyone but with authorship once removed. Are you inclined in any direction? Save, publish, bequeath to the next generation, or destroy. Re your sister: I don’t think that diaries written by someone else and found after death have privacy issues. They belong to whoever finds and reads them and cares to do something with them. xo Liza

  4. I’ve thought about your last 2 posts before commenting Liza. My thoughts are… If the past stops you moving forward to the future then it’s time to let them go . I’m all for the present we can never alter anything that has gone before. Take your time in coming to the right decisions – maybe lock them away and see how you feel.
    Flossie xx

    1. Thank you Flossie. Your sentiment is perfect. I too believe in living in the present — it’s the only thing that exists. The past is over, the future is not here. I will think this through and have no regrets.

  5. Rereading my fathers diaries, the first item dated Feb.24, 1914, he was then 19 years old. Written in old-fashioned Norwegian. Last entry dated July 29, 1959. He did not keep diary the last 20 years of his life. Never kept a diary myself.

  6. Liz..I did not know my adoptive parents at all……my father spent a lot of time with me, when I was growing up, my mother not. She was a child of a mother who died when she was 2 years old, and was raised by an aunt. I know nothing about her past. Nothing about her father. She developed Alzheimer when I was about 17 years old. My father’s family never accepted me…. I was ADOPTED into the family………… and never accepted. Reading my fathers diaries made me realize that he was never accepted into his family either….he was different. He had a hip problem, the bones did not go into the sockets, making him extremely short, (and not popular with the ladies). He suffered depressions…(I did not know this then) . In his diaries he NEVER talked about his family. I did some reasearch, he was the oldest of 11…..only 3 survived..(TB, apparently). I think that I met his father before he died when I was about 5 years ars old, but not sure. So, it seems that the family was not important…..my father .grew up in Stavanger area, and accepted a job in Joerpeland in 1919….. where I grew up. In those days you took what you could. He did not like Joerpeland, only a couple of ferries per day to get to Stavanger. Joerpeand did not have a high school. so at the age of 16, I had to live in a room in a private house in Stavanger in order to go to High School. (You were considered an adult at that age) Did not have any contact with my fathers family. We all have different stories.

    1. Dear Katrina, Thank you ever so much for your amazing reply. I see that your father’s diaries provided much needed information for your family history. And yes, we all have different stories. Thank you for sharing yours. xo Liza

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