|Shadow Cut, January 2014|
This article in the Opinionator column in the NYT is wonderful. It explores "the other side" of memoir/journals/diaries - do we read those of people we love who've died? Do we want those who outlive us to read ours?
It brings to mind the opening of Terry Tempest Williams' memoir When Women Were Birds, in which she finally opens all the journals her mother left her, only to find they are...blank. My god. To think all that was not, ever, written.
And then, questions not addressed, but significant for those who write memoir:
If we write an official version of memoir, do we then get rid of the journals? Annie Dillard is quoted in Inventing the Truth (a lovely collection of memoir writings edited by William Zissner) that we no longer remember what happened, just what we wrote (after writing memoir). What's the point of the keeping journals and letters after we are done "researching"?
So many questions, so little time. Yet, worthy of pondering.
Just keep writing, I tell my students who worry about who will read what they purposefully (publication/fame) or accidentally leave behind (sudden death/journals). We'll figure out the next part when we get to it.