2013-02-22 / Columnists

WORDS

By Eileen Hodges

This column is about, you guessed it…words. It is now, and will be in the coming weeks, about reading, writing, seeing, digesting, learning and using words. I want to write and talk about everything from reading aloud to toddlers to how to write down your grandparents’ stories in a memoir.

Do you have any questions? Any pet peeves or subjects we should explore? Drop me a line at eileenrockbeach@gmail.com if you do. 7 Reasons You Should Keep a Journal: Your journal can be a lovely little unlined book, a private folder on your laptop, or scribbles by the side of your bed at night. It is a good friend that listens; visit often. 1. Cheap Therapy: We often don’t know what is truly bothering us. Scores of hurts, past misdeeds by ourselves or others rattle around and around in our head. By writing them down we can see them, deal with them, and get them out of our squirrel-cage brains.

It gives a sense of control for things which are usually about as far out of our control as possible. 2. Better than Pictures: Sometimes a thousand words are worth more.

Writing helps you remember exactly how it felt when you got that first kiss, or how terrible you looked with that hair color. Let’s face it. We can barely recall what we had for lunch; keeping a journal helps us remember the disastrous road trip, or our herb garden at the old house, or that

Christmas everyone gave each other the same thing… 3. Your Dreams in Black and White: or green on pink or whatever your ink color and stationery. By writing down our hopes for the future we give them air, room and validity. They are not just dreams any longer, they have been given substance; they are now possibilities, they become real. 4. Times of Heartache: When you look back at past hurts and troubles and see how you came through them, it shows how strong you are. During stress-filled times we can see in our writings that an open heart and patience, with ourselves and others, is often what is needed most. 5. Connect with Yourself: Journaling keeps us honest. It is a dialogue with ourselves about the state of our lives, with all its horror and hilarity. This is a love letter from you, to you. Be kind, honest, and generous with yourself. 6. Gratitude Attitude: By writing about the things we are grateful for, we attract more wonderful things to our life. Being grateful is being positive; and like attracts like. Find a number and stick to it. Write three things you are grateful for, or 13 or 6 or 958. 7. Every Person Has a Story: And everyone’s story is important. You may not ever want to publish yours, but perhaps someday you do. Your great-great-grandchildren might not be interested in how you survived the scary 2010’s, but then again your journal could be the one thing they hold dearest. By telling our stories, others learn, as we do.

Eileen Hodges is a freelance writer, ghostwriter and Adjunct Professor in Writing Studies. She has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and calls her bungalow Posey, for the flowers she plants and a feminized version of Poseidon

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