Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What To Do with The Diary

Every now and then, while Sophie’s visiting, we’ll hear hoots of laughter, and she’ll say something like, “January 9. Tonight I get to go over to Helen’s house because daddy couldn’t find a sitter.” Or “April 22. Today I went with Helen to walk her dog Lefse. Lefse sure can run. She pulled me down smack on the concrete.” Then “April 23. My nasty scrape (from Lefse) the scab grew into my pajamas (stuck), Mommy yanked, Ahhhhh!!! Wa wa sob!!!”

She’s going through her 3rd grade diary, and we’re all hooting and laughing.
While in Portland, Tim and I saw an evening’s performance of Mortified. Locals go through their attics and basements, finding old diaries and “artifacts,” and then they read them to an audience. It’s so hilarious, there’s now even a documentary about it. We heard from “socially stunted home-schooled girl” with a crush on a boy in Sunday School; a young New Yorker who did “a secret thing at night when he was in bed.”

But I sent my journals to the shredder and recycling.

There were two issues I considered before doing that:

  1. If I ever became famous, my journals would be valuable history. Like coming across Beethoven’s journal about how he felt about going deaf. Or the development of Hemingway’s writing from youth to old man.

  2. If I didn’t become famous, my journals might provide valuable insights to the people of 3015 trying to figure out what life was like for a regular, ordinary inhabitant of earth. I got this idea when some diary was recently uncovered from a plain-old woman in the 1600s, and everyone said it was a “major find.”

I rejected both those arguments:

  1. I wasn’t going to become famous, but even if I were, my journals were about how I felt about discovering sex, how I felt about feeling lonely, how I felt about making a mistake, how I felt about which path to take, etc. I must admit, they were a terrific example of teenage/20- and 30-something voice. It was right there on the page, out loud and glaring.

    Aiiieee, even I had to close it up. All that angst, those ups and downs! I felt at risk of contact angst just reading it. If I read it out loud to an audience, either they’d all need psychological counseling or they’d send me away for more.

  2. 2015 is not like the 1600s. We have plenty of documentation of ordinary life now. My journals would be no “major find.” 
I’m very happy with the empty, de-cluttered space where the journals used to be … and the assurance that my daughter won’t come across them.

But if I could locate the little pink diary with the tiny lock that I kept when I was eight, that would be fun to read. I’d laugh and hoot over that.

1 comment:

  1. Who needs a journal when you have a blog?


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