It’s been about six months since I started this journal, can you believe it? Me neither. It hasn’t catapulted me to stardom and financial independence yet, but neither have I gotten any hate mail either. I guess I’m coming out even.
I’ve been thinking about this journal, and online journalling in general, all week. First of all, Hashai is back and running, much to the delight of everyone who reads it. And then, unbelievably, Pamie made her triumphal comeback. I’m just amazed at this woman’s life. As you may know, I read her journal for three long years, laughing and laughing (and crying too, not a little), and Squishy has certainly been influential to my writing and to the idea of starting a journal in the first place.
And then Omar wrote an entry today that was way more personal than his usual style. It’s a very sad one. I am always impressed when people do this, when they let you into their lives in such a way that makes you believe that you really know the person, and that their problems or issues or whatever they’re writing about have something to do with you. (Jessamyn is the queen of this, by the way). They’re writing what you’re feeling, or they’re saying something you’ve always wanted to say but haven’t been able to yet, or they admit something that you thought only happened to you. I think that’s when a journal…well, at least a good journal…can hit you in a different place than a well-written book or story or song or poem. There’s something about the format, about reading each entry as it happens, that makes it seem as though you share something with the writer. I mean, you can email her or him! He or she might even write back! And maybe that makes it seem more as though the thing he or she is writing about, that thing that you identify with, can maybe be written or thought about, or expressed in some other way, differently, by you. The person writing the journal entry is just another person (albeit probably with DSL), and maybe if they can do it, you can do it.
I’m not super personal, in this journal, though I know I get more into it than some more well-known journallers. There’s a lot of freedom in not being read…except most of the people who read me so far (hi, everyone on my little notify list!) are my friends, and know me pretty well. In different ways. How do I decide what to write here, knowing that I’m going to physically see the people who read it? Probably over Christmas? What kind of honest can I be? I mean, you’ve probably noticed I never write about sex, right? Right. I don’t write too much about my Relationship either, except in the most cutesy terms. I don’t write about a lot of my childhood stuff, again, except in the most positive and nostalgic way, and I certainly don’t talk about my other parent. Mom, I talk about her all the time. It’s the other one I don’t mention.
I think this is all probably okay. I’m pretty freakin’ egotistical, as you may have noticed by now, but not enough to think that everyone who reads this really wants to get into my shit with me, right? It’s bad enough I blabber on to you about When I Was Little or Weddings I’ve Been To. I mean, I think that’s interesting, but I’m not so deluded to think that people walking in off the street, so to speak, are going to think that’s good, compelling writing. But maybe good, compelling writing has to be a little more personal than I’m making it. I think if I was writing a story with a character loosely based upon myself, or writing this journal anonymously, I’d be a lot more brutally open about various subjects (see above). I think the writing would be better too, for some of the reasons I mentioned (see above). I’m just not sure what the consequences would be.
Reading over this, I realize I’m making it sound as though I have some sort of deep dark secret heretofore unrevealed to the world. I don’t. Maybe I’d be a more interesting person if I did. This journal would certainly be more readable if that were the case! And I have to say, I do generally like most of what I’ve written here, as my referrer logs will assert…I am the most faithful Ampersand reader to date. That tells you quite a bit about me, doesn’t it, even if I don’t spill my guts (much).
So, that’s what I’m thinking about. Why don’t you do me a favor: why don’t you email me, when you finish reading this, and tell me what kinds of journal entries you like, or what you find most interesting to read about. Doesn’t have to be my journal entries. Just stuff in general. And yes, please, since only people I know read this, email me even if I just talked to you this afternoon, or if you’re my mom, or if you email me every day. I would really like to hear from you. After all, you’re who I write for, right?