Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Public and Private Journals

One of the many definitions of blogging considers it to be a public diary or journal, Pepys on the Internet. Pepys is on the internet and I think he'd love it. But he intended it to be a private diary, one that no one would read. Other famous diarists intend their journals to be published and read but after their deaths. Lucy Maud Montgomery's 5 volume set of her journals is an example. They were her trusted confidante but she edited them and she shaped them for publication especially the last volumes. She wanted her version of events to be published, so she deprived herself of the benefits of a private journal. Queen Victoria wrote a diary which had the potential to be an astounding book if published, one of her daughters Beatrice spent 30 years copying out the parts that were published and destroyed the two thirds she thought unsuitable.

I've read a lot of journals and books about how to keep a journal, most of the diarists are very ambivalent about having their journals read. There are coy protests about it being boring but mostly we hope it's scandalous, and worth reading. I think I have some things to say that are worth reading, almost everybody does. And this leads me to a blog, a public journal. It's some of the good bits, I bother more with grammar, try to express myself clearly, check facts. I looked up Princess Beatrice, if I had been writing purely for myself I would not have found the details about it taking her 30 years and that she destroyed two thirds, and I enjoyed that.

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