Starting tomorrow, I'll be subletting my apartment for 7-10 days to a grad student I've never met before. It's funny how the mere fact that he's a grad student at my university means that he's somehow not crazy, and that it's okay for him to stay unsupervised in my apartment with all of my stuff.
Yeah, I'm a little nervous about it. But not too. And he did pay in advance.
However, I am (naturally) clearing out all of the stuff that I wouldn't want a stranger to rummage through whilst I'm away. Specifically, my diaries and sketchbooks and other writings. And, good lord, I've accumulated a lot of that kind of thing.
Seriously! I filled three boxes. And I left the scrapbooks and photo albums and whatnot, because those aren't so private (although I do have a penchant for rather elaborate, very text-oriented albums (I hate the word "scrapbook" now that it's become a verb) chronicling my various trips). I actually counted recently and discovered that I have 32 diaries. Thirty-two. Four of those, I think, are dream diaries, from a brief period in my late twenties during which I wrote down every single dream I had. The thing about writing down your dreams, though, is that the practice improves your recall, so after a while the dream-recording was eating up pretty much my entire morning, every day. Faced with this tedious and really quite ridiculous time-suck, I finally stopped. But still, that's 28 proper diaries, and the dream diaries are equally private, of course.
I also tend to write fiction longhand, at least for the first draft. In 1999, when I was somewhat underemployed, I wrote a 200,000-word novel--by hand. (Typing it, a few years later, was a real bitch.) So that's about four very densely filled notebooks right there.
Then there are the notebooks full of terrible poetry from grades 7 through 12. I keep these, of course, even if None Shall Read Them, Ever.
And what else? Oh yes, binders full of creative writing spanning the years 1988-1997. And binders full of letters and emails and that sort of thing from about the same period. And a big envelope full of letters that I didn't put in binders (having decided sometime in 1997ish that I didn't like punching holes in such things).
There are also all the books I've bound myself, of course. Some of these are, um, "artistic" creations of my earlier days. Others are carefully bound "editions" of actual (unpublished) text: for example, the satirical romance novel that my friends and I wrote in high school. (It's hilarious.) Or a collection of emails sent between me and a friend prior to our Epic Journey of 1999. The latter actually look pretty nice, since my binding skills improved greatly once I'd taken a class.
I remember when I was a lot younger, imagining the pleasure I would feel at having an entire bookshelf filled with nothing but my own writings. Well, I've long since surpassed that goal. Before long, I'll have stocked an entire bookcase.