Who Will Read your Diary in the Future?

I write a diary. You could also call it a journal but I prefer diary because that feels connected to history and all the women who have kept a diary through history. Since the early days of writing on paper women have documented their thoughts, their lives and their ideas.

We write with someone in mind, a reader.

It may be a generic reader or you may think of an actual person as you write. I do. The person I write to has changed over the years. I think I wrote to myself when I was a kid. It’s hard to remember and know for sure what I was thinking as I wrote so long ago when my mind was so much less complicated. Then I wrote for the people. I used to think my diary would be read long after I’m gone but it would be used for my biography, whoever took up the task of writing it.

At some point I began to edit myself as I wrote. Having that reader in mind, I started to think about how much I didn’t want the world to know versus how much I wanted to write about everything in my head. Writing a diary is a release, a freedom of thought and a way to organize your emotions too. But, when you think of someone else actually reading all of that… your outlook changes.

Now I try to write just for myself again. Thinking too much about the reader took away too much of what I needed from the whole thing of keeping a diary. So, they all join each other in a big storage box as I run out of space to write. But, I don’t know if anyone will ever read them. At least not until I am long gone and will never know (or hear) what people say about the real me in the pages of those hand written books.

The history of women is in our diaries, our letters and our crafts. I’m so glad to see the history of women being pulled from obscurity.

So few women managed to become a part of recorded history, other than being mentioned as the daughter, wife or sister of some important man. So much of women’s history is lost. What was it really like to be a woman, daughter, wife, Mother or sister in the 1600’s? Those were the days when North America was being discovered by Europeans. I’d really like to know about women in early, ancient and prehistory. In such early days we don’t have history of any people but those who were politically important, enough to have been written about. Of course, in those early days of writing, it was rare for women to be taught to write.

I think about that sometimes. I don’t take writing and being about write for granted. We record our own history, in our own words. That is something of value – our way of having a mark on the world, even if we aren’t sure we really want someone else to read it!

 

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