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#29624 - 11/20/00 10:55 PM Journalling, privacy and trust
della femina
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 398
Loc: Birmingham, England

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I would love to keep a paper journal again, one that chronicled all of my innermost thoughts, fears and feelings, but due to a very bad past experience of my journals being read against my wishes by one of my parents, I have a real problem leaving a paper trail, as it were. I can't imagine my husband being so unscrupulous as to read a private paper journal of mine (or, more realistically, being bored enough to read its contents), and it's not that there's anything especially scandalous to hide, but suffice it to say that I have privacy issues.

Do you ever find yourself censoring your super-private, for-your-eyes-only journal, out of fear that it will fall into the wrong hands? Have you ever had that fear? How did you get over it? Do you keep your journal in a place where no one would ever find it?

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#29625 - 11/21/00 03:53 AM Re: Journalling, privacy and trust
Orlando
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 335
Loc: Australia

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della - that's terrible, I could see how you'd be really wary after that.

I've always just kept my diaries on my bookshelf or by my bed. I know I can trust my Mum enough not to read it and my flatmates certainly wouldn't go into my room and take it off my private bookshelf.

I think if I was worried about people reading my journal I wouldn't be able to keep one. Censoring it seems to me to be going against the whole point of keeping a journal.

Not that there's anything particularly scandalous in mine either, but it is stuff that I've written at my angriest or saddest and there's things that could probably really hurt people I care about if they read them.

One of my best friends and I have made a pact that if something happens to either of us, the other one will take their journals and burn them. A morbid thought I know, but preserving my privacy that way is important to me.

[This message has been edited by Orlando (edited November 21, 2000).]

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#29626 - 11/21/00 08:10 AM Re: Journalling, privacy and trust
della femina
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 398
Loc: Birmingham, England

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You know, I've always wondered just how thrilled Anne Frank would have been to have the world reading her diaries, even though it was ultimately a very important publication that affected so many people. I felt sort of guilty reading the newer, less censored version (which has a lot of sexual content), because I do feel like that was a bit of an invasion of her privacy.
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#29627 - 11/21/00 11:02 AM Re: Journalling, privacy and trust
Orlando
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 335
Loc: Australia

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I went through a stage of not reading published diaries at all because I felt the same way. However, I like reading biographies and as most of them quote from diaries and letters I thought I might as well go back to the source.

With Anne Frank's diary, I never felt quite so guilty. I know that she rewrote and edited parts of the diary with possible publication in mind so maybe she would have been pleased to see them published.

As to the newer version of her diaries, I feel that if you are going to publish diaries they should probably be as little edited and censored as possible. Diaries are such personal pieces of writing that it would be impossible for anyone involved to edit them impartially. I'm thinking here of extreme cases like Ted Hughes editing Sylvia Plath's diaries, but I think it's probably just as true for everyone.

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#29628 - 11/21/00 12:52 PM Re: Journalling, privacy and trust
gwen
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/13/00
Posts: 60
Loc: Houston, Texas, baby

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I felt guilty when we read Anne Frank in fifth grade and several of my classmates made fun of the sexual parts. I haven't read the diary since then, but now I'm thinking I'd like to read the new one.

I kept paper journals for a few years, but lately I haven't written much in them at all. I would die if my husband read my real, personal thoughts. Not that I think he would dig through my journals, but...

Last year he started reading my online journal for the first time and now I have to censor the hell out of myself, because of course my whole site (as well as the world) revolves around him. It kind of sucks. Sometimes I want to start over anonymously so I can tell the whole truth. But I make do by spilling my guts to friends on the phone. It's a pretty good substitute. I like being a drama queen.

For people who censor themselves -- do you ever worry that there won't be a complete, honest history of you for interested parties of the future to read? I mean, if your great-great granddaughter finds your journal and reads about what you did for a living, but not about your secret torrid affair with your secretary -- is she missing out on the "real" you?

Or is that something that only vain people like me think about?

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#29629 - 11/21/00 01:29 PM Re: Journalling, privacy and trust
della femina
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 398
Loc: Birmingham, England

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Gwen, I always want to start an anonymous journal, but I'm scared people would twig that it's me.

I censor my online journal because I know my husband and my mother and other relatives read it. But I just started a new thing where if people want to get a more raw version of my life, via e-mail, they can (a product of this topic).

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#29630 - 11/21/00 06:20 PM Re: Journalling, privacy and trust
ragdoll
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 332
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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My dearest friend keeps a paper journal, and I think she writes everything down in it that she's thinking/feeling/doing.

She had a boyfriend in university that would consistently read her journal and then get very angry at her about the contents. He didn't even get the fact that he shouldn't be reading her writing.

Eventually, she started sleeping with her journal under her pillow and then carting it around with her everywhere she went. It's unfortunate it had to come to that.

My partner is nosey. It's part of who he is, I had to accept that when we moved in together. But a part of me won't write my true feelings down anymore because I know if he comes across one of my writing books he'll simply open it up and read it.

I wonder if there can even be any expectation of privacy when it comes to keeping a diary? I read somewhere that no matter how "private" you might think your diary to be, there's always a hidden audience, you always imagine someone somewhere sometime is going to read it.

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#29631 - 11/21/00 06:28 PM Re: Journalling, privacy and trust
sobell
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 175
Loc: Alameda, CA, USA

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I keep my journal on my laptop, with a password on the folder. I once lost two years' worth of entries -- my entire tenure in graduate school, which I would have liked to have had a record of -- when I had a horrible system crash. Reconstructing and re-recording the events that meant the most to me isn't the same; I've got a filter of time and perspective that's helped me separate the really significant stuff from the this-could-be-useful-someday stuff, and that somehow makes a journal-after-the-face experience less honest for me.

However, I still prefer keeping my private journal this way. I'm more comfortable writing on a computer than I am longhand. And when I'm at work sometimes, I get a kick out of calling up entries from a few years ago.

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#29632 - 11/21/00 08:02 PM Re: Journalling, privacy and trust
ms.strident
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 515
Loc: Newfoundland, Canada

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I am really nervous about the possibility of someone reading my journal even though nothing of the sort has ever happened to me.

I have forced my sister to promise that she will burn it if anything ever happens to me. Yeah, I have privacy issues.

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#29633 - 11/26/00 12:34 PM Re: Journalling, privacy and trust
GreenDarner
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 08/19/00
Posts: 23

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When I was in junior high, I kept a diary full of angst, bad poetry, crushes on unavailable boys, etc. My mom read it secretly and I didn't find out until years later. She and my father teased me about one of the boys I crushed on because he was a friend of the family. Whenever I go home to visit my parents, my Dad makes a big point of saying, "guess who's STILL in town! and he's single!" (argh!) Good thing I've got a sense of humor about the whole thing at this point.
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