I am enthralled, but even more fascinated by my inheritance of my grandfather's six diaries. He started writing when he was about ten and continued writing through his early adulthood
Later diaries became kind of scrapbook-like as well. He writes of chemical engineering, concerts and canoe trips. Girls he dated. His first real job after college.
I drew my fingers just lightly through the tendrils of his story, picking up diaries and opening them without reading from beginning to end. In this way I am beginning to know my grandfather, who died when I was one year old. Turns out he was funny, good-looking, outdoorsy. There were surprising revelations, too. That (at times), he did not believe in God. His father was a Methodist pastor who would have flipped his lid if he had known. He had serious misgivings about marrying Grammy. They broke up; she almost married someone else - a widower with a couple of kids; they had long conversations at his kitchen table; he expressed dismay and a lack of respect for her; time passed; they got back together.
Wow. News to me. Not shocking in itself; but surprising to think that people about whom I had heard only the best and most upstanding things had their moments of anger and uncertainty, self-analysis and elation.
Do diarists write for themselves or for others? Did Grandpa know, when he was writing down his disappointment about Grammy, that we would all be reading it later, slack-jawed with fascination? Well, no, in that he didn't know at that time that Grammy was going to BE Grammy. She was a girl that he dated, broke up with, dated again. He didn't know the future, but was just recording where his feelings were at that moment. The answer to the question is also "Yes", though; in that he saved diary after diary as the years went by. Did he do that because he wanted us to be able to see the whole arc of his life after he was gone? Or so he could look at that arc himself and understand himself better? Beats ME!
Blogs are similar. Public and private at the same time. Blogs can sometimes shock readers with their revelations; but dairies have always done that. And not just years down the road. Think of the times you pulled your sister's diary out from under her mattress and picked the lock. "Ah-hah! She DOES love Billy Telodoro! I'm tellin' everybody! OR, maybe I won't tell anyone if she washes the dishes and takes the trash out for the rest of our natural lives..."
Or think of the movie scene. Girl pulls diary out of mother's messy closet and flips it open. The violins swell as she reads and clutches her breast in shock. "SO! I'm ADOPTED. Why didn't you tell me!?!?!" "Darling, we didn't want you to feel...you know...different!"
Dairies and blogs both get their authors in trouble sometimes.
I have received a letter from a lawyer, asking me to refrain from mentioning a particular person in this blog and threatening me with legal action if I don't immediately remove references to the Person in Question (hereafter referred to as PIQ) and never refer to PIQ again. I have also been told that I cannot privatize my blog or restrict access to it in any way, because the lawyer wants to check on me and make sure I am obeying. I'll bet what's really going on is that she wants to try my bagel recipe or read one of my awful book reviews, since my blog is 99% about things other than PIQ.
I could always move the entire blog to a new address. I might still do that if I feel the need for privacy (don't worry, my readers in Uganda will always find me.) In the meantime, I will write about what ever is on my mind: whatever is bugging me; causing me to ponder; making me happy or getting my attention. And today, that will be....
Ten things far more interesting than empty threats on law-firm letterhead:
- The weight room at the Rec, where I lifted more on the triceps machine than I have ever lifted before.
- Fiats, because I think I am going to buy one A yellow one. Or maybe a red one.
- The homemade chili that Chuck made last night and left at my place for me to enjoy. Nathan declared it very tasty when he had some with cornbread tonight.
- Margaritas, which interest me at the moment because I DIDN'T have one today at the Guadalupe staff Christmas party. Orders from the bar cost extra and I want to save the money so I can buy Christmas presents. I'm craving one, now.
- My aunt, who called me up today, and with whom I had numerous laughs. We were talking about smoking and she told me a story that gets its own blog entry tomorrow.
- One of the candidates for the Computer Lab Assistant job that I posted last week. She is from Liberia and has experience with refugee resettlement work and has taught job skills to people with developmental disabilities.
- A dance performance at the School for the Performing Arts. It was for children, with lots of furry woodland animals. The best part was watching Nathan, who enjoyed it hugely, although he thought the squirrels were hyenas.
- Holiday baking, which is starting to loom large on my horizon.
- The big bag of blankets that were donated to the school by my friend Jeff from the Utah State Office of Education.
- The prospect of bed, since it is almost 2 AM.