Discussions (847)

What will people say about your journal when you are dead and gone?

ericgmorgan [deleted] says:

I was sitting at Starbucks this morning writing in my Moleskine Journal. My wife was sitting across from me. The thought hit me, "I wonder what my wife/friends will say as they reads this journal... when I am dead and gone".

Perhaps a morbid thought, however, I write really heavy, personal things in my journal. Honestly, there are things in the journal that my wife/friends are clueless about. It might scare them. If they read them now I might be divorced and friendless... lol.

Anyone else ever thought about that?

Anyone do "Secure Storage" (Safety Deposit Box or Safe) so that no one can secretly read them while you are still breathing?
4:16PM, 29 February 2008 PDT (permalink)

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Gene Wilburn says:

They'll take one look at mine and say, "what dreadful handwriting" and come to a full stop :-)
75 months ago (permalink)

Suzan Buckner [deleted] says:

Some poor soul will probably get to buy it at my daughter's yard sale (of her mother's things) for a dollar...LOL..
75 months ago (permalink)

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Ile Alba says:

People will problely think I'm one sick puppy when they read it; that is if I die before they do. If not than it's their loss on one really gothic thriller. LOL
75 months ago (permalink)

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Crystal24 says:

Well I'd like to think when I go, that I'll go quickly and painlessly, but really, I'd actually like a few days notice so I get rid of some of the more whiny journals I've kept throughout my life. There are some that I will be proud to pass and others I would like to disappear to ash before I go. :-)
75 months ago (permalink)

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aluzano says:

Hopefully people won't be able to read my handwriting, but I think most of the time, I'm pretty overdramatic. :P
75 months ago (permalink)

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Adam BRI Smith says:

People will think

"What .. the .. Dickens?"
75 months ago (permalink)

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jjtelecaster says:

Something like " this guy was nuts". I don't think they'll have the patience to read the whole lot though.
75 months ago (permalink)

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ginny-bee says:

They'll definitely think I'm insane, but they'll probably learn how obsessive and not-confident I really am.
75 months ago (permalink)

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NG71 says:

This is a good topic. I would like to set in place some mechanism for not having them opened or read for say, 75 or 100 years. That way, my incredibly boring journals might be of some modest interest to someone in the future. Perhaps some graduate student in history working on a project dealing with day to day life in the late 20th/early 21st century may find them of value. But then again, probably not.
75 months ago (permalink)

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redhead_rachel says:

good topic!

Probably have me certified insane ;) ,

hopefully people will understand another layer to me that many dont see underneath the surface.
75 months ago (permalink)

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desert mole says:

i find this a great topic, cause i have at least 4 different Moles i am working on, each a different topic.
when finished i hope to bury them in different locations (in the desert, mountain tops, etc) that i have enjoyed.
then giving a clue , maybe a GPS coordinate, my son can go to these places, read about my life, look at my drawings, and go to those places that i grew up and find an adventure, sit in the same booth i had drank coffee and written an entry, and get to know me a little differently than "just Dad"....
should be fun.

DM
75 months ago (permalink)

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steven t. says:

they'll be like why the f*ck is this so hard to read.

yay! anti-read handwriting ftw! lol
75 months ago (permalink)

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House Of Secrets Incorporated says:

Probably something along the lines of:
"I can't believe how much money was spend on all of these notebooks! Couldn't she get any cheaper ones?!"
75 months ago (permalink)

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sgtret says:

It is not for people to read after I die. If they do, too much time, etc. It is for me to read when the Alzheimer's sets in, or at the end of the week when I say whiskey tango foxtrot did I do this week?
We took a whirlwind tour of Alaska last year. I still go over the M's to remember where this or that photo was taken.
I think I would be interested in reading about what my father did before I was born. All I have is a few Kodaks in b&w. Notation would've been nice.
75 months ago (permalink)

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chancew1 says:

I imagine it will be pretty boring.... anything controversial or titillating that I write I will publish, one way or another. The stuff I write for myself and only myself is all pretty mundane.

That, and the bad handwriting.
75 months ago (permalink)

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corvinod says:

I do not think about it. I have been journaling every day since 6th grade, 30 minutes a day, aside form two years of crippling depression.

My writing in my journal is my process, and mine alone. I have giant amounts of published content, and am comfortable with the idea of living my life outloud.

My writing is not private, but not shared. It is a safe place to put pen to paper. What is made of it, is not for my determination, and if I wrote thinking about that, I would be altering my voice in a way I am not comfortable with.
75 months ago (permalink)

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mr.blather says:

If they manage to decipher my handwriting--which even I have trouble doing most of the time-- I suspect they'll go either "huh?" or "Ah, that explains a lot."
75 months ago (permalink)

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stephen sakulsky says:

if they can decipher the handwriting, they would be on the fence with committing me ... however, they would have a great list of books, music, places and quotes...
75 months ago (permalink)

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owlandtheoctopus says:

I often wonder the same thing. Nothing is in any kind of chronological order, there are mixtures of images, type, cutout words, handwritten text, sheet music, etc. I love lists too, so there are pages and pages of just random lists I did.
75 months ago (permalink)

Samaoj [deleted] says:

They will probably sound like this: "is that an H? or a B? and that? a n? m? r and n?"
I've always heard from my parents that my handwriting sucks so I'm not that bothered, no one will probably be able to read it all. The entries with nice handwriting is mostly "blaha blaha I'm feeling great and have a lot of time".
75 months ago (permalink)

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papersandtschai says:

probably... "and then? what happened?" i have this tendency to leave my entries undfinished...
75 months ago (permalink)

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ritecw says:

I was thinking about this yesterday, wondering, in ten years or so, (whenever) my husband would be surprised to learn I was mad at him on 3/2/08.
75 months ago (permalink)

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mr_t_77 says:

Depends which journals they read, heh. Personally I'd like a few days notice so I can burn them, at least the ones with more personal stuff in them. I'm hardly a great thinker, so nobody will be deprived if they can't read my journal/diary. It's not like I'm Einstein or Abraham Lincoln.
75 months ago (permalink)

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mlle_bleue says:

ZZZZZzzzzzZZZZZzzzzzZZZZZzzzzz
75 months ago (permalink)

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redhead_rachel says:

oh, and

"what's with all the black notebooks?"

;)
75 months ago (permalink)

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Sam Friedman says:

You know, a lot of the time when I write in my Moleskine journal, I'm doing it under the assumption and expectation that it will be read way down the line. A lot of times I even fantasize about it, fictionalize myself, imagine becoming famous and then dying and someone publishing my Moleskines as a book, as they have done with other famous journals.

Ultimately, I'm fairly certain people will be bored. But this stuff always means the world to me. Although I think people will find my dreams interesting...
75 months ago (permalink)

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retro traveler says:

Sam Friedman I tend to agree with you, Sam. For me, it goes back and forth from writing to myself and writing to someone else, but always in the future. This helps me make sure I'm specific and detailed in what I write. I only really keep a journal while I travel, so capturing thoughts and emotions, as well as what I'm seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. is important to me while I'm writing it, but even more so in the future when I want to pick up the journal and read it, hoping to bring back those thoughts, feelings, and senses.

My travel journal is one of my most valuable relics from any of my journeys.
Originally posted 75 months ago. (permalink)
retro traveler edited this topic 75 months ago.

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Cacriswe says:

"It was better when Stephen King wrote it."
75 months ago (permalink)

reiwaka [deleted] says:

I imagine my grandchildren reading my journal and realizing just how young, naive, and human grandpa once was.
75 months ago (permalink)

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che moleman says:

I love your response; that's exactly how I feel about it. But, I'd have to say that if someone were to read my journals after I'm gone, they're in for one helluva shock, and immediately proceed to seek out therapy. My journals are intensely personal and raw, unabridged and unreserved, and extremely honest. What themes are found in them are quite varied, and include all aspects of my personal, public, professional, and creative life. Some might be shocked at my opinion of them, some may not be so much, and some might wonder at the secrets and burdens I quietly carried inside either in quiet satisfaction or so painfully for so many years. Some might wonder at my actions, my choices, or my inaction and indecisiveness. Some might be shocked at my brazen spontaneity and impulsiveness, and some might wonder at my fastidiousness in preparation or organization with certain things.

I would liken it to reading a Dostoevsky novel, like "Crime and Punishment"; sometimes hard to stomach, sometimes shocking and offensive, sometimes questioning of all that is right or wrong with this life, but always honest and unapologetic.

Not that I'm as good as Dostoevsky.
75 months ago (permalink)

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ambie_d_d26 says:

My journaling is my therapy. It's ranty, and whiny, sometimes it's thoughtful.

Honestly, I don't want any of my loved ones to read them. I'd like to find a safe place to store them that people (ie my friends and family) won't be able to find them, at least not for a long, long while.

The thought of anyone reading my journals gives me the heebie-jeebies
74 months ago (permalink)

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ysatnaf says:

I've always taken great pride in the fact that if my closest people read my journals, they would not find anything shocking in there. Not because I censored the journals, but because I trusted these people enough to share everything with them. I don't want to have secrets. I don't want to hide things. When I feel that my journal is diverging from how my closest friends know me, I think it is better to change my behaviour or my thinking, not hide its record. That does not mean that I measure myself by the acceptance or non-acceptance by others. It only means that I strive to be coherent with myself.
74 months ago (permalink)

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jjtelecaster says:

Now seriously... they would probably feel guilty or bad or whatever after reading about 2 attempts of suicide, the death of my father when I was 17, quitting drugs (cocaine, speed, LSD... you name it. Cold turkey, BTW), my exgirlfriend's attempt of suicide... plenty of crap I've been through.

So they'd think something like perhaps I should have phoned him, have a coffee or something like that.

Maybe it's my stoical -almost spartan- education or the mix of Andalusian, Basque and Irish blood that prevents me from bothering others with my problems. It's sort of: "Ok, I did that, that was my f***ing situation at that time... I accept it, but I also accept the challenge to change it" My journals are basically a record of myself fighting my ghosts, getting my ass kicked, then getting up and coming back for more.
74 months ago (permalink)

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ysatnaf says:

This is very heavy stuff, jjtelecaster. I am sorry to read about that.
Originally posted 74 months ago. (permalink)
ysatnaf edited this topic 74 months ago.

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Steph Illustrates says:

I worry about this myself- I constantly write about things that bother me and I do worry about what people will say if they read them. My journal is also my sketchbook, as I am far too scatterbrained to separate the two and have two separate books, so I often have people picking through my books to see my sketches. My solution is- like many others- to have terrible handwriting, so people will just gloss over it. Another solution i use is to write upside down to keep it from being easily read. Lookers will usually resist the temptation to flip the book while I'm standing there.
I figure once I'm dead and someone is reading them, what is the worst that can be done? What are they going to do, kill me for what I've written? :o)
74 months ago (permalink)

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ladyinblack1964 says:

I've already warned my husband that there's a lot of negative stuff in there about him and other family members and that he might want to burn them rather than read them. I suspect, however, that parts of them may have already been read by him. After all, I keep my current Moleskine next to the bed, in plain sight.
74 months ago (permalink)

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Dharma Bum '75 says:

If anyone ever sees one of my notebooks, they will say "Oh! Now I know how this guy failed penmanship in 3rd grade!"

(not kidding, I really did!)
74 months ago (permalink)

photopatois [deleted] says:

"Jeez, I thought he'd never leave...""
74 months ago (permalink)

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E_Journeys says:

Depends on where they look, since my journals have:

1. Detailed storytelling and observations, some of which have already been published.
2. Philosophical treatises that might prove interesting to some.
3. Story notes, which might also garner interest if the stories themselves get attention.
4. To do lists as mundane as they come.
5. Whines, rants, and other ho-hum passages.
6. Various excursions into mystical woo-woo, which would probably convince readers I'm certifiable.
7. Graphs and drawings that a three-year-old could do better.

When all is said and done, hopefully there's some entertainment and cultural value on balance. :-)
74 months ago (permalink)

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angelshaney says:

"she did what?! i thought she was boring."
74 months ago (permalink)

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wandererchronicles says:

And what will they say when you're gone, that you conquered? That you burned like a rocket from the womb to the world, that you ran with your colors and your flags unfurled, that you ignited everything, like a gasoline rain... will they say you were insane, as the lights go gray?

...probably.

Lyrics are Floater, "Endless Li", for the curious.
74 months ago (permalink)

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glix says:

leave them a note in the moleskine, start it like this:

*now im dead, and your probably reading this scratching your head...*
74 months ago (permalink)

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ginny-bee says:

Except perhaps with better grammar :P
*edit* In retrospect, I'm being a bi***. Sorry.
Originally posted 74 months ago. (permalink)
ginny-bee edited this topic 74 months ago.

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LeP'titಠ_ಠ says:

Might be
"Just drop those in the garbage bin, thank you!"
74 months ago (permalink)

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minim says:

i have a peculiar obsession with posterity and consequently throw very little written or drawn stuff away. and i do morning pages every day - three pages of longhand writing about whatever rubbish is happening in my life (oh, and some of the good stuff too!) every single day. that's an awful lot of words! i also keep journals for my composition and other art interests, notebooks full of research for articles, notes from uni classes and so on. one hopes that once one is gone, some DMus student will leap upon this vast mountain of paper with glee and find therein an interesting thesis topic, but i suspect it's more likely some poor librarian at the national library will curse my name, file it all without reading and it will never see the light of day again!
74 months ago (permalink)

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En Bouton says:

I can't say I'd keep mine. I don't write my journal for posterity or to be Great Art. It's just a place for me to write down whatever I like, which is often very boring, repetitive and badly phrased. It's "thinking on paper".
74 months ago (permalink)

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sgtret says:

"Into which bag should we throw this?" This is a timely question for me. A friend recently died. He was an avid M writer. The wife said "He loves those books so much, let him take them with him." They went into the box to be cremated. Spouses have done this sort of thing down through history. Sir Richard Burton, (writer, not actor) had all of his manuscripts and translations from Arabic destroyed by his wife when he died.

Pity that.
74 months ago (permalink)

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clientemail says:

Oh yes i've also thought about that. they will see some side of me but not enough to judge who the real me is. it's just some side of me which is better kept silent
74 months ago (permalink)

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sarmient0 says:

"I didn't know she had it in her."
74 months ago (permalink)

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andhow / T. says:

wouldn't it be wonderful if there was something like a moleskine library? or a 'cemetery' for our little black books, where they will all go to live, stacked side by side, when we are all dead and gone.

just a room, full of little black books, written by lots and lots of people. all unnamed, all just pure thoughts still living there. and somebody, in the future, if they want to visit this library, will go inside, pull a random book, sit by the corner, and read about how one of us, all of us, have lived before. all that human emotion.

but I guess I am just being a little silly, which I imagine would be the response to my own writings when I die.
74 months ago (permalink)

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king chai says:

'a fool, a girl, a gullible dolt', that is actually a very good idea :) I like that idea.

I believe that what is written in the deceased's journal is almost like an eulogy. Is says something about the writer, to the people still alive and people who are able to appreciate the thoughts of the writers, penned down on paper.

Our body and soul may be long gone but as long as the book still exist, our memory will live on; for others to read. I like that idea.
74 months ago (permalink)

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littlediva12 says:

I'm not a fan of Marilyn vos Savant, the "Ask Marilyn" columnist for Parade Magazine: having a high IQ--no, pardon me--having the HIGHEST IQ in Guiness, does NOT automatically qualify a person to dispense advice re: others' lives. However, I admit to frequently reading the questions that get published. Not very long ago someone raised this very issue. The submitter wondered if most people even consider that, unless provisions are carried out (by the journal author, no less), their private and deepest thoughts, fears, opinions, etc. will most likely be discovered and read by those left behind, some of whom may be the very subjects of certain entries. The submittter wondered if there are those who keep their writings in a locked [fire-safe type] box in order to keep their writings unknown to others after they've gone.

For people who allow themselves to be totally and completely honest about themselves and their lives, a journal could be very hurtful or confusing to loved ones b/c, let's face it, to be truly honest w/oneself is to admit to the multifarious aspects of his character in all its humanity--both well-intentioned and malicious: his reactions to life's events, the experiences he has lived, his genuine opinions of friends, aquaintances, strangers(in all their humanity)...it requires a great deal of resolve, as well, to release one's deeply held thoughts and feelings. To release genuine honesty from one's own mind and heart--from his very being--and to share it w/others is oftentimes not only brave, but also complex, given that the repercussions can resonate infinitely.

And then sometimes a journal is simply a place to vent about a situation, confrontation, or misunderstanding which, soon after it occurs, is resolved and even forgotten. I'm reminded of the scene in Bridget Jones' Diary when, after she and Mark Darcy admit their mutual feelings, Mark finds Bridget's journal and reads her initial opinions of him. I don't want to ruin it for anyone who has yet to read the book/see the film (yes--both have been out for a long while, but some, like me, have legit. reasons for being behind in their novel-reading and movie viewing!) Those who've read/seen it know what follows:)

Returning to the Parade submission, I searched the parade.com website, unable to find this particular column, but I'm just about to e-mail Ms. v-S.; I hope if she does respond that she provides a link or a copy sans charge . Perhaps someone else would like to search for it, either on parade.com, Google, etc. I'll Google it, too. I've probably built it to be Pulitzer-worthy; it's not! To me, it's the coincidence of having read that submission and now reading this post, which I find interesting and ironic. I'll definitely post the article/ link if I receive a response or if I find it elsewhere.
73 months ago (permalink)

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pinkjasper@verizon.net says:

This is the best question...Maybe by the time some of us are gone, we could have a Moleskine Cemetary...I would guess a lot of people might feel invited to include a notebook for posterity. That could be a pretty cool archive! The treasure hunt for his son is one of the coolest things I have ever heard. My question too might be: Is there a way to seal something for 50 years? I bet there IS--maybe a lawyer could help me out with that. You would think it would be a more common request. Or maybe a caretaker at the Moleskine Cemetary could be entrusted. I guess they would have to take a vow like a priest not to divulge!
73 months ago (permalink)

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ha3rvey says:

I can see it now:

- My mom will say something about my too-tiny handwriting.
- Most people will look at what I've written and say, "What a self-important knucklehead."
- Someone will ask, "Did he actually once shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die?"

I should add a codicil to my will to have all of my journals burned.
73 months ago (permalink)

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pinkjasper@verizon.net says:

It occured to me: The other thing here is that if I were going through someone's diary after they were gone--I would be pretty understanding. Many people would be, and could probably handle the concept that people may use diaries to get the "negative" things out, or to vent. It may be that we don't give our loved ones enough credit. Of course some people would wig out, maybe you leave your notebooks to the most understanding relative you have. Just lock them in a box, "These go to my sister so and so." You have a discussion with her and then she can make sure your mother never finds out about your youthful indiscretions. Maybe they would start a new family tradition where she reads titillating sections at holidays just to freak out your mother. Or she can make sure both ma and pa are dead before she seeks publication. You need one person you trust like that and the rest would fall into place.
73 months ago (permalink)

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gavin_ian_campbell says:

'Oh my god, he should have been sectioned what a freak'
73 months ago (permalink)

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louveciennes says:

I don't think I should really care what anyone would say. First of all, because I'd be dead, which would be for the better before anyone I know reads it. Secondly, I think people would either love it or hate it. Love it for being blatantly honest, overly pompous and self righteous, mixed with a fair bit of self deprecation when necessary. Hate it, because I can be quite a scathing back stabbing person, despite how much I love my friends.
73 months ago (permalink)

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Mitch.Campbell says:

"he could never finish anything that he started!"
73 months ago (permalink)

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Reavel says:

hmm. I have been pondering on this one YEARS ago.

Therefore they are hidden and since my bed room haves lots of good places for that I dont think they will find it. Besides they will hardly understand what is written there. [I hardly do sometimes]

If they find them after I die. I already told my best friend were my journals are and what to do with them... which is burn them. She said she will get rich with them and publish them [haha..good luck on that one]. If anythings happen I will be dead by then. :D

Still.... if they find it before I die well my family will think I hate them not only the close one, but some of the far aways ones. That I am nuts, that I needed help and some might say that I wrote strange things [for them... for me are normal things]. They will get tired on the first two pages.
73 months ago (permalink)

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lindarfis says:

They'll probably say "who cares" as they toss it over their shoulder into the Goodwill box...
73 months ago (permalink)

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