As a Budget Vogue fashionista, the completion of tasks and to-do lists are vital. I tend to finish most things: ice cream sundaes, a good fight, a bag of chips.

And as devotee of second-hand shops, I delight in those who do not finish, who begin but who do not complete, who start but don’t end — particularly when it comes to writing in journals.

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I am a journalist — both literally and figuratively. I’ve been keeping a pen-and-ink journal since 1973.

My first one was a leopard look diary with lock and key. I found it recently and saw that on February 12, 1973, I had fallen off the beam twice during my gymnastic routine. Twice. I mentioned that my best friend, Joan, had fallen off five times.

I am going to tear this page out and send it to her. We still laugh over our gymnastic careers, the time she scored a .6 on a balance beam routine, the time I was eating a Hershey bar DURING my floor exercise.

In thrift shops, empty journals and diaries are as plentiful as vases, Faded Glory jeans, fondue pots. I’ve found leather-bound books waiting for entries, for ink, for stories.

I write every morning — thoughts, ideas, plans, worries. Sitting down with a journal every morning is a routine I’ve established over a lifetime, just like making a pot of tea to start each day. I find it soothing, comforting, spiritual, healing, necessary.

And I delight that so many start the process but do not finish. I rarely buy a brand-new journal to fill; there are too many empty ones waiting — especially now that lives have become so screenfilled, so digital, so electronic. I like writing sans wifi, writing with a good pen, writing without beeps and alerts.

Occasionally, I find a journal that had a start — generally about three or four days’ worth of a list, thoughts, random ideas. I’ve seen addresses, Yoga routines, directions on how to work a VCR. I tear those pages out to begin fresh and new.

For this Budget Vogue journalist, starting the day with a cuppa, with a pen, with quiet thoughts and ink is a lovely way to begin. And when I go? All that paper will make lovely kindling — just as February 12, 1973 makes a lovely note.

Susan Dromey Heeter writes and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at