Friday, August 3, 2007

a quandry of sorts

Well, I have been writing, in case you wondered, writing like mad. My fingers can barely keep up with the thoughts that tumble from my mind. I only realize how much time has passed by the stiffness in my neck and back when I pause to let the dogs out. There's a problem, though, and this is it. No one can ever read the words that have spilled from me. Trust me. They are too private, too intensely personal to ever share with anyone else. I know this, and yet I keep writing. I want to keep writing. It feels like I need to keep writing. The pleasure I derive from this writing is deep and satisfying.

So, here is my question. This must happen to other people all the time. What do they do with these very private thoughts once they have poured them out? Is it just some sort of blockage that needs to come out first before I can write anything else? Or do these dreams and longings form the foundation on which a fictional character is built? If that is the case, won't everyone know that its me there on the page? Or is that the point of it all?


Bryan said...

I have been keeping a private journal for years, and I'm even paranoid enough to keep it encrypted on my hard drive (Stuffit has an option to lock with a password when compressing a file). If I should die in a car accident, for example, I don't want someone finding that journal. Or in a less gruesome case, if I simply let someone else use my laptop or it gets stolen, I don't want them accidentally stumbling across that file. There are many private thoughts in that journal that I simply don't want anyone else to know, things that could potentially be embarrassing or any number of other adjectives.

Nonetheless, I enjoy having that text file where can I let my stream of consciousness flow, organize my thoughts, and re-read things from past years. I've learned a lot (and I mean a lot!) about myself and how my brain works thanks to that journal, even though no one else gets to read it.

...And yet, every now and then, I almost wish someone *would* read it, but then I wouldn't want to live with the consequences. :)

anne mancine said...

Hm-m-m... So you're saying that the writing may be of value to me because it's only for me, or maybe, in spite of the fact that it's only for me. The value is that I have written it and can refer back to it. The genuine danger is that someone else might see it some day. It's not so much the embarrassment that concerns me, although it would be incredibly embarrassing, but the thought of the pain it might cause to others. And can something like that ever be truly safeguarded?

And that was me, by the way, I just deleted the previous three comments because I can't edit the damn things once I have posted them.

Kristy said...

Oh that's the best kind of writing! So therapeutic and freeing! Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to get it all out, analyze and deal with a lot of pent up emotions and a great vehicle on the road to self-improvement. There's no grand authority that says that your writing journal can't also be your personal journal, or that you can't practice your writing skills in your personal journal. As for keeping it hidden and private, well that's always difficult. I've found, with my own journals, that the benefit you gain from having put your thoughts to paper far outweighs the risk of someone reading your thoughts and getting hurt or you being embarrassed. If you think about it, the ones that your words would hurt the most are normally the ones who love you enough to keep their prying eyes outta yo' bid'ness to begin with.

As far as what you're writing now and how it influences your writing on a whole: many of life's true stories inspire the most compelling novels, and I think it would be really hard to keep one's deepest and most personal hopes, dreams, and emotions out of one's writing entirely. The hardest part is that putting yourself and your deep emotions into what you write makes you vulnerable and that is sometimes hard to deal with.

As the great Walter Sobchak would say, "Fuck it dude. Let's go bowling."

anne mancine said...

Wow. How did you kids get so smart when you are still so young?

Your encouraging words mean a great deal to me. The fact that both you and Bryan keep private journals that are never meant to be shared makes me feel like it is O.K. for me to do that, too.

(You're probably wondering, how did I get so old and stay so ignorant, but, hey, I pride myself on being a life-long learner, so don't give up on me yet.)

Bryan said...

If you think about it, the ones that your words would hurt the most are normally the ones who love you enough to keep their prying eyes outta yo' bid'ness to begin with.

And many of the people I talk about in my journal likely wouldn't be the ones to ever read it anyway, barring some Anne Frank-esque publication of it.

I have had a few close calls. In college I once left it open on my screen when I told Nick he could play Galaga on my computer. I don't think he saw anything before I closed it though. The other night I went to open my journal and realized that I had forgotten to re-encrypt it after my last entry, so it had been sitting there in Documents/Private for like two weeks, completely unprotected. Oops.

tom said...

I want to throw in a late endorsement for the "That's the best stuff to write down" position. I have never read Kristy's paper journals, so their security is pretty good (I won't do it) but for a while when I was keeping a private journal I used software like what Bryan alludes to, that keeps your entries and entry titles encrypted until you put in a password. The software I use is Mac =/ but I'm sure there are PC programs that do the same thing. Or, another idea, you could always log into your email account and send it to yourself. Loved ones don't really snoop through each others' email either :)

It's hard to use the honor system after a post like this, though. It's like telling somebody you have a secret :P

anne mancine said...

Meh. I figure everybody has secrets. The way my writing makes me feel tells me that it is the right thing to do.