The Journal, a Self-Study
After posting the link to my former blog address, I started reading it. I went back to the beginning and read each post over again, probably for the first time since posting it. I read a lot of things that made me grin, wince, nod, and some that made me incredibly sad. Then I went to my journals and read and reflected there. Reading over my own journals from early grade school, and my own posts, a year or more after writing the entries, reveals the self I do not see anywhere else. What I reveal, and what I hide, even from myself, is telling.
Although I’m an open and honest writer, bleeding on the keyboard for most of the posts and even more frank in my journals, how I interpret the blood splatters is often much different than what caused the bleeding in the first place. It reminds me, in some ways, of what Francie’s teacher told her in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Francie always remembered what the kind teacher told her. “You know, Francie, a lot of people would think that these stories that you’re making up all the time were terrible lies because they are not the truth as people see the truth. In the future, when something comes up, you tell exactly how it happened but write down for yourself the way you think it should have happened. Tell the truth and write the story. Then you won’t get mixed up.”
It was the best advice Francie ever got. Truth and fancy were so mixed up in her mind–as they are in the mind of every lonely child–that she didn’t know which was which. But Teacher made these two things clear to her. From that time on, she wrote little stories about things she saw and felt and did. In time, she got so that she was able to speak the truth but with a slight instinctive coloring of the facts.
Francie was ten years old when she first found an outlet in writing. What she wrote was of little consequence. What was important was that the attempt to write stories kept her straight on the dividing line between truth and fiction.
If she had not found this outlet in writing, she might have grown up to be a tremendous liar.
Sometimes the truth was so hard I could not tell it. So I wrote how it should have been.