Some things are best left unsaid…or unread. Or are they?

Posted: April 13, 2012 in All things literary, Blogging, Musings, Personal, Words
Tags: , , , , , ,

Admit it.  Don’t you think diaries are, if not a little creepy, often a little too revealing, too much like watching daytime television?  Don’t we all sound a bit deranged and in need of treatment when we go back and read about our emotional excesses and maybe even actual excesses?

I like the idea of diaries, journals (and personal blogs) and I’ve kept them at various times in my life.  I like being able to put down what happened today, my thoughts, feelings and reactions to those things, or just random thoughts.  For the most part, I enjoy looking back and reading about what happened when and how I felt about it. But I’m ambivalent about diaries, journals and very personal blogs, too.

I think it’s great to have a place to emote, to get things off your chest.  However, if you write down lots of private things about people in your family, or even about friends, what if they someday read these things (or not someday, but today, when you post them??)  My experience is that words can still hurt and divide many, many years later.  So what if you’re dead?  Why hurt the other person?  Maybe diaries should be buried unread with the author or burned.  But then what about all the wonderful stories we’d miss?  Should you or could you change names “to protect the innocent” or the not-so-innocent?  And with a blog, it’s even worse because the damage, if there is damage, isn’t confined to a single person who might read the diary, but all subscribers as well as anyone who happens to come across your blog, including the person or persons about whom you’re writing!  I really believe there’s a limit to honesty, even one to one, but especially with that width of audience.  It’s like the situation where one person in a marriage has an affair or a dalliance, then feels bad and want to confess.  I’m not at all sure that’s a good idea, unless the other person already knows about it.  Seems to me it’s a desire to unburden the self of the person who erred, at the expense of terribly hurting not only the unsuspecting partner but the relationship itself.  And as far as the internet goes, once it’s out there, it’s out there and like a malevolent genie popping from the bottle, you are NOT getting it back in.

Another thing about diaries is this:  have you ever re-read things you felt twenty, thirty, forty years ago?  It can be excruciatingly embarrassing even just to you!  Interesting, yes, but eye-rollingly mortifying as well.  Not bad, I hasten to add but re-reading some of mine has made me wish I could just edit out a few things.  However, in the age of written journals, it’s not as simple as highlighting and deleting. What’s there in ink is staying there unless I rip the page out.  So much youthful angst!  You may have things that you don’t want your spouse or your children to read, even when you’re dead (although I realize it won’t matter to you then.)

Tangent alert!!

I loved reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls, which are diaries of a sort and I also loved the TV show. Even though they added things,   I always felt that what was added was in the spirit of the books, so I didn’t mind.  But although I knew better, I started to feel that Pa and Ma (and the rest of the family) looked in real life as they did in the TV show and of course, they didn’t.  Pa looked absolutely nothing like Michael Landon;  a shock, even though as I said, I knew better.  That’s one reason there are very few movies or TV shows that I like watching if I’ve read the book or books.  The people so often aren’t as I imagine them and once seen, tend to dominate my imagination, pushing my creations aside.  I do love David Suchet as Hercule Poirot!  He’s just as I imagine HP to be, down to the mincing steps.  But even though one of my sisters-in-law has recommended a channel that shows movies of European mysteries that come from books, I don’t think I want to watch.  Let Commissario Guido Brunetti and others remain as seen in my mind, not the mind of the producer.  And sometimes the changes in story lines are so blatant I find myself talking (growling?) at the television.  Nope, I’ll stick to the written work most of the time.

But back to diaries, journals and blogs.  Since one of the positives about writing down everything is that it’s fun for you or helpful, you do want to be able to put down absolutely everything.  Keeping things private is another matter and maybe you don’t want to keep them private.  Just remember, that’s a choice that isn’t easy or might even be impossible to change.  So you may want to write the old-fashioned way and hide your journal somewhere so you can pull it out when you like, read through it, groan over the old you and feel chuffed about how far you’ve come (hopefully!)

If you keep a diary or journal or write a diary-like blog, what are your thoughts?  I’m just tossing around some ideas and would love to hear other ideas.  Do you have written journals lurking around somewhere?  Do you go over them sometimes?  Have you ever had a negative experience with something like this that you wrote or blogged (other than just not having many people read or “like” it?)

  1. jodiks says:

    I’ve never been one for journals really. I’ve tried the pen and ink way a few times but always leave off after a few weeks of writing. Truthfully, for me, the best journals are my sketchbooks. I’m a casual artist and draw in sketchbooks all the time – along with poems and snippets about what I was thinking. I can look at a picture I sketched out and remember what I was doing/thinking/feeling at that time and the emotion will be stronger than if it was written words directing me.

    As for bad experiences, I did try online journaling for awhile back in my twenties. On that site with the goat? Well, I also at the time had an abusive boyfriend who would stalk my journals and messages looking for signs of “cheating” to confront me with. He kept it up long after I’d left him and started harassing my online friends as well so I dropped that whole journal, deleted it, and hadn’t gone back until starting this one. I suppose now I’m secure in my life and I figure it’s been so long that I’m not afraid anymore. Back then I was terrified.

    I’m not sure what the voice of Mama To Bean is – other than talking baby stuff and dog stuff and other random things about my life. I want to tell my story with it and try letting out some opinions on the world and see what happens. I’m pretty guarded in RL usually. 🙂

    • That must have been terrifying! I’m glad you’ve gotten past it. If I could sketch, I’d do that in addition to writing. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. But the artistic talent in my family has gone to our girls. 🙂 If you check the “Blogs I Like”, you can see the link to our younger daughter’s blog which is basically her art.

      The internet can be so useful and it can be so reveling. Hard to get rid of any and everything you don’t want out, so it’s definitely a good idea to err on the side of caution, at least in my opinion.

      • jodiks says:

        I’ll go take a look! I love seeing other’s artwork. I have yet to post anything of my own. For some reason I’m keeping that part of me and this blog separate.

        I’m probably the least cautious of my family on the internet but I haven’t ever had a problem with someone I met ON the net – just crazy ex BF doing crazy things in RL and on the net. 🙂 Was a long time ago though, just reminded me of it tis all.

      • I’m always amazed at how nasty people can get in the “Comments” section of articles. Fortunately, people on the blogs I’ve been to have been quite nice and civilized.

        Let me know how you like our daughter’s blog.

      • jodiks says:

        Oh gosh, the talent. What beautiful work! I commented on my favorite piece. 🙂 You must be very proud. She has a talent with line work I’ve always been impressed by in others. Emotional work as well!

      • We are proud of her. The talent seems to skip generations as my uncle is a professional watercolor artist, has been president of the watercolor association, done books, teaches, etc., etc. My mom (his sister) and her sister are both talented but in different ways. Our other daughter has art talent, too, but went into business instead. My artistic ability, such as it is, went into writing and photography.

    • 2b14u says:

      Scary thing about the boyfriend…got to be a name for someone who stalks online journals…worse than “creeper.” Somekind of online peeping Tom.

      • jodiks says:

        Yeah, he was a piece of work alright. Thanks…there are words stronger but I remain civil in comments sections. 🙂 It was years ago though so It’s merely a story now and a distant memory.

  2. 2b14u says:

    I journal in spurts. I would hate for someone to find what I have written while in a mental hospital. Very revealing stuff, yet I don’t want to throw it away. AWhat do you do with it…bury it somewhere and dig it up when you want to read it?