Slim and Franke

Slim and Franke

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

BURNING MY JOURNALS

My mother's first cousin, nearly 90, has published her memoirs.  She is a highly educated and articulate writer.  It was exciting to receive a copy of her book.  The opening was riveting as she described an accident that change her life. The next few chapters were delightful as she mentioned by name my mother and father, my aunts and uncles and my grandparents.  And then she got down to the nitty-gritty.


The rest of the book was filled with her many and varied sexual exploits that overshadowed the other details.  It was a book of TMI (too much information).   Had this book been fiction, it might have been enjoyable.  Knowing the person and being privy to her deepest darkest secrets was not my cup of tea plus having my relatives named in the book somehow made it seem that they might have approved of her lifelong behaviors.  


If there is truth to persons turning in their graves, I know her parents and siblings are and probably my mother and grandparents are too.


I have shared my deepest thoughts, feelings and experiences in my journals and I have kept those journals.  Now I have to wonder why.  Certainly my life hasn't been as spicy as this cousins but I cannot imagine my children and grandchildren would ever care to see any of it  and certainly not  in print for the world to share. It causes me to wonder how her own children feel about this very revealing book.


Yep, I'm burning all my old journals and diaries.  Would you ever publish your memoirs and include such intimate details?

21 comments:

  1. I don't keep a journal and if I did...I would be too boring to publish.

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  2. My life would hardly make an interesting book. My sex life has been tame by today's standards. I guess the person who writes the book has their reasons and we needs to respect that even though it is painful. Why are your writing your journal. To see you life in a new light? To leave history for those that follow? To get stuff off your chest? This would all determine if you keep or destroy.

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  3. Nope wouldn't publish any of mine ...whatever I want in print is either on my blog or on my FB page.

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  4. Chatty Crone -- Well Sandie you did't have to think about that very long did you? LOL

    Changes in the wind -- I believe you would have a very interesting auto-biography.

    Tabor -- Your comment that she "has her reasons and we need to respect that" is so very true and I needed that reminder. My journals are basically my memory. I like to be able to tell family members what, when and where various instances in our lives occurred and they seem to value me as a resource. I only wish I had not taken moments to vent between the lines on things that bothered me,

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  5. Bonnie -- You publish good stuff especially that recent picture of Layla and Rossi cooking together:)

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  6. I recently viewed through my old diaries during school and I was so gaping myself "Was it really me who wrote out all these?" It was unbelievable how the me evolved through life. Incredible were the changes i went through all thru life. Then I did think I should blog these sometime. But then I thought No, i shouldn't. Now, I never would..

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  7. My sex life would bore anyone to sleep, but I have thought about writing about my life as it has been quite a journey in some ways, but I wouldn't write it under my own name and some of the details and names would be changed.

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  8. I wonder how much she "spiced" up through her recollecting it all? You know - our memories tend to be a little less than honest at times.

    I have always kept diaries. When I was younger, I knew my younger sister would try to read them and that fear of someone reading my private stuff prevented me from putting everything down - lol! (translation - no sex!)

    I read them sometimes and I feel like I'm reading about a stranger - how we change and grow is all reflected in them. I wouldn't burn them, but I wouldn't publish them either. I seriously doubt anyone would want to read them.

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  9. That's a good question. My Auntie who died at 91 told me before she died, "write a book about your life." She knew some of the sordid details of my life. The purpose to publish this book would be to help others who have gone through similar situations and made similar life choices. To help others understand why some life choices were made. I haven't done this yet as I want to protect the still living--however, not in the spirit of protecting the innocent, but in protecting the guilty. I wouldn't want to publish my memoirs if it's just to "kiss and tell." That would not be cool.

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  10. Ewww. Sounds repulsive reading something so private. Guess she was looking for a cleansing, but I think it left everyone who read it feeling dirty. I would never publish a memoir that included intimate details - some things should go to the grave with a person.

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  11. Annie,

    I have a theory that when an old person dies it's as if the library burnt down.You can never again ask them what someone's maiden name was or who was the woman Uncle Joe married ...All that information dies with them...unless a journal or diary is kept.

    But that might prove too much information ( A bit like your Mother's cousin) so my way of leaving as much knowledge as I have about our family is to leave hundreds of short stories behind with one incident or event featured in each story. I have them all in protective covers in a couple of binders.Anyone who comes into the house is free to pick up the book and select a story to read.

    My kids are always reading one story or another and love talking about the old times I mention.

    My daughter once told me that she had the inscription on my tombstone all figured out. She is going to have "MOM HAD A LONG MEMORY BUT SHE ONLY REMEMBERED THE GOOD STUFF" etched on it.

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  12. Absolutely not. :) I used to keep journals and wrote about angst over boyfriend breakups and such, but I didn't write about the sex. :) Even so - it occured to me one day that someone might read them if something happened to me and so I pitched them in the garbage compactor.

    I did read some of it though and there was a lot of neat stuff I wrote about my nieces when they were infants. And my best guy friend "came out" to me first and I wrote about that - I had been so worried about him and when he told me he was gay, I was so relieved! I was afraid he was ill or something.

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  13. Funny, I was just thinking about this the other day. I have kept journals on and off and it's not something I'd want other people to read (not because it's too racy, but just because.) To answer your questions, no and no.

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  14. I've never kept journals, and the main reason is that I'm not comfortable with others reading my personal thoughts. You might think that you are keeping them safe, but you never know! My father wrote three books before he passed away, the last one at 90, and they are among my greatest treasures, but they don't contain anything remotely racy. I am so happy that he wrote them because if I forget something about the family or his life, chances are that I can find it in one of his books.

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  15. I've kept journals since high school, but I tried to keep it positive as much as I could in case anyone did read them. Still... I've forgotten what I wrote and wonder now if I really do want them to live on. I don't know.

    Your 90 year old cousin certainly had a spicy life. Perhaps in another 90 years, it will be an important part of family history after every one named is gone. Never can tell...

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  16. I should burn my teenage journals, but there's poems n songs mixed in there. I don't write gritty sexual details about my life. Lately I just record feelings, anniversaries, n losses. Prob I write most about how work makes me miserable! i wish I could just hurry n win that lottery Jackpot so I can put an end to that.
    They'll never help anyone but me, but I'm not done with them yet...

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  17. Monalisa – There are things we want to remember and share and there are other things we should keep to ourselves. You probably have a lot of fun memories that would be great shared in your blog.

    LL Cool Joe – When you do publish under a pseudonym be sure and let me know because I definitely want to read your life story,

    Talon – I too have wondered how much of this was from her imagination.

    Seriously Though – A self-help book that we share from personal experience is a great thing to offer future generations. I’m afraid my mother’s cousin was simply bragging and she certainly had no remorse for her activities.

    Rae – It is doubtful she was looking for cleansing. She was simply relating various exploits that supposedly occurred in her life. She warned me the book was a “tell all” but I never dreamed where that was going.

    Nancy – Once again you are my hero. What a tremendous legacy you have made for you family to treasure. Perhaps I shall try to do something similar. I already have one little journal that is just grandchildren stories and they love to take it off the shelf and read about the silly things they have done or said.

    Mom’s cousin did include some very interesting family history and I was grateful for that. But someone must have told her that sex sells books and she really let go. We’re talking brotherly love, adultery, threesomes and other females

    I love what your daughter said would be on your tombstone and glad it’s not the same “good stuff” my mother’s cousin will be remembered for. LOL

    Lynn – My journals were much like yours. My problem would be all the “pity parties” I threw for myself in my journals. I could go from fun and light to sad and miserable. Who wants to know all that? I wish there was time for me to lift out all the good memories from the pages and burn only the crap.

    Riot Kitty – “Just because” is a perfect reason. You want to keep the personal personal.

    Susan Adcox – Now your dad’s type of books, that’s what I was expecting from this relative. You should be proud of his legacy.

    Kay – Almost everyone named in the cousin’s book is already gone. Still it is a shock to those of us still around. My mother always told me “Don’t put anything in writing that you would be ashamed for others to see.” I have to add that in another 90 years I’m not sure we want this to be a part of our family history.

    Snaggle Tooth – My journals saved my life when I was working. If I had not had them for my venting I might have said more at the office than I should have. It is good that it helps you too. Those parts of mine I definitely can burn now.

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  18. If I'd kept a journal or diary, perhaps I would.

    But since I didn't, the only way that people might be able to get an understanding of the real me, would be both through my blog writings and my short stories/long stories/novels.

    There is way more than meets the eyes when it comes to reading my stories, because sometimes, not only do you have to read between the lines, but you have to delve a bit deeper into the basic plotlines as well.

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  19. G -- And where might we find these short stories? Please let us know.

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  20. Well...I have a couple that are published which I have direct links to posted on my blog. They're a bit eclectic, but they could give a bit of insight about me as a person.

    I also have a self-pubbed book that can give a little as well.

    Overall, what makes me tick as a person can be found under the tags 'Inner Spirit' and 'The Real Me' on my main blog.

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