updates from the archives

Hey.  Sorry I haven’t written in a while.  Time’s been short (like me).  Ok, I have a LOT to tell.  On the Monday of two weeks ago my friend [Rita] came to visit.

[…]

Alrighty, I can’t really remember what happened throughout the rest of these two weeks.  [Arthur] got braces.

This week [Harriet] was being all nice to me like we were best of friends.  I have no problem being nice to her, but I don’t trust her as a friend.  Anyway, I think she was being so nice because for drama we were gonna put on our play this Fri, & in the play Harriet & I play best friends.

[Henry] kinda ignored me this week & I embarrassed myself twice.

I was really sick on Wed. so I missed school.  I had a science exam the next day I’m POSITIVE I flunked.

I’ve got a lot more to tell, but I’ve gotta go now.  We have Monday off, so, don’t worry, you’ll hear all.

No, friends, what you just read is not, in fact, the first of the regular Monday updates I have vowed to write.  I have just shared with you an excerpt from my seventh grade journal.  You may note the brackets around the names; the sense of paranoia that comes with being a dork in middle school dies hard (actually, never dies).

I rediscovered all of the journals I used to keep when I was cleaning out my bookshelf in a bout of feng shui a month or so ago, and it was like meeting a completely different person.  If only I could have done this the other way around and sent a journal entry from the future to my thirteen-year-old self – a self who, by the way, kept “crush statistics” at the end of every entry.

A few days ago, my friend asked me if I ever kept journals as a kid, even though to look at me is to know the answer.  By high school I had moved on from handwritten journaling and had made my first foray into the blogosphere via livejournal, and it’s taken me until now to reflect on how the transition from analog to digital has affected my writing style.

Of course, I have grown up, and my voice has changed (although probably not as much as I think it has), but my audience has also changed.  In our conversation, I admitted to my friend that the Diary of Anne Frank had a profound effect on me; without knowing who she was writing for, Anne had written a memoir for a global audience.  I, self-consciously, began to write to an ambiguous “you,” which may have been my journal, but might also have been the readers I anticipated long after my death.  Blogging allowed me the instant gratification of a (mostly) sympathetic audience.

I am still trying to figure out to what extent the medium of blogging has affected my voice.  It has certainly made me more guarded with information.  In my seventh grade journal I tore classmates to shreds using their real names – in 100 years, who would remember them, anyway?  Now, even though none of us have kept in touch, I’m worried about posting their real names on the internet.  On the other hand, I feel almost obligated to include as many of my incidental thoughts as I can.

Maybe the internet is just like seventh grade.  I’m working, right now, on a balancing act of authenticity: on the one hand, sharing what I’m thinking, to the world, immediately; and on the other hand, wanting that world to find me, and read me, and like me.

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