So I'm diving through a bit of grad school trench warfare here, so I need to dive back down into the textual mud soon, but I wanted to complete this post, talking about the "reporting" aspect of journaling.
I became keenly aware of this aspect last week, when for my archival theory and practice class I had to treat some of my own papers as archival materials, and write an aid to guide them about it, and then write about both who might use them and reflect on the experience of having done that.
It's just interesting, viewing what is so often private as potential fodder for others in the future. I now totally empathize with T. S. Eliot's desire to have so many of his papers embargoed for so many years after his death. Makes sense when one thinks about being so vulnerable, or about hurting people in one's life through things said in one's less guarded moments when one was just venting.
All of this reminds me of the vulnerability associated with any kind of writing. I think this is because of the time-delay of response to written text (and the possibility of no response at all). It's often-discussed among writers, but seldom is discussed as the results of text in media studies/media ecology circles.
The thing is that this textual inheritance, I believe, has passed to much of our time-delayed electronic communications as well--without being able to see how our audience (intended, or unintended--as with future researchers) is responding to something like a Facebook status or blog post, we worry what they'll think of us, much like we did with pretty much everyone all the time in junior high. An age-old concern transposed to a new setting.
As electronic readers, I propose, we should keep this vulnerability in mind and respond accordingly, as much as we're able (considering the busyness of our lives, of course). As writers, I think we should chill out a bit, and keep our lives and our writings (of whatever kind) in perspective, and try to have a little faith, while still being aware that yeah, vulnerability is often scary and often has consequences, some of them good, some bad.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
On Journals and Journaling, Part 2: Vulnerability
I'm a writer, an incurable reader, a narrative theorist, a media researcher, a scholar/author/writer/consultant, a PK, and the Queen of Soup Making. I write a lot, and I've taught a wide range of topics in universities. Along my journey I've picked up a PhD in Communication from Purdue and 2 degrees in English. I've been turning my ideas about communication as author-audience relationships into a communication paradigm that can be applied to a wide range of situations. I'm also writing a historical mystery series. I'm a member of Sisters in Crime, and the co-chair of the Mystery and Detective Fiction Caucus of the Popular Culture Association. My MA thesis focused on connections between T. S. Eliot and Thoreau, who each wondered about how to remain still and still moving. Before I went to grad school, I spent 7 years working for a division of HarperCollins Publishers.