I am under the impression that publishing someone’s diaries is a great betrayal and injustice. A diary or journal is a place of trust and understanding. It offers non – judgment and unconditional support and love. The blank page of a diary is like a priest waiting to absolve you of your mortal sins. I believe a diary is also an unreliable witness because most of the time you are writing in a heightened emotional state. Either anger, deep depression, maybe ecstatic joy. Rarely is it a true portrayal of a person’s feelings, rather a place to vent. I know from experience that if my journals were published, I would hurt a lot of people’s feelings. People that I love and would not want to hurt, but fights happen and I can be childish and cruel, petty and stubborn. The closest people in my life are under strict orders to destroy all of these accounts after I am gone. You will never see them on the shelf in any bookstore.
I have recently read a very enlightening book about what a master class might be like taught by Virginia Woolf. It was a quick read and offered many wonderful writing sparks I am excited to try out. It utilizes many quotes from her writing. Her diaries, essays, and novels. Much to my surprise after reading this book, I found myself tempted to read her diaries and see what other lessons she might have for me as a writer, as a human. This troubled me and I decided to do some research, hoping that she approved of the publishing of her innermost thoughts and feelings. I did find an article that said that her husband left out the bulk of the diaries for the very reason I mentioned above.
I think I will read them, knowing that what is published isn’t hurting anyone and Virginia might be pleased if she knew her words were helping someone, helping me.
I might start reading and feel it is too much of an intrusion to continue, but it might just be all right.