Writers cherish words, and I've saved my own and the words of others sent to me in letters throughout my life.
When I decided to write a memoir, I went to look for my forty or so journals.
"I gathered them together, numbered them, and arranged them on a bookshelf--from the college spiral notebooks to the more recent hardback Moleskine volumes--and then opened the fragile first page of the 1963 journal," as I explained in Word for Word: A Writer's Life.
They helped me remember and then write the memoir.
The image above is a photo of the journals along with a teenage diary with a lock and a cartoon character on the cover saying "my year... and how I shot it."
I took the journals with me everywhere. They're now a bit battered, and the paper is brittle and in some places torn, but the words remain legible.