In the past, I’ve known people to feel threatened when they learn I keep a journal. This feeling always surprised me, but I’ve recently discovered that my mother in law has started keeping a journal and its made me think what it is like from the other perspective. This is almost completely new because although I know my sister, husband and sister in law have all kept journals in the past, I believe they were all fairly short lived.
Journals are a great way of providing social context to history and as the journal writer that context is in your hands. So how do you feel about people close to you writing journals, such as friends or family and adding their views to the social context? You could see it as a threat as their writing may provide a different point of view, but I see it as a great strength. For instance, when I read the first part of Virginia Woolf’s diary there were footnotes with information from other sources expanding on points that Woolf glossed over.
When my daughter is learning to write I will encourage her to write a journal as I hope it will teach her to enjoy writing and to respect the privacy of my journal. In the future, I hope she will enjoy comparing our journals and viewing events from our different perspectives (this is something I would love to do with my childhood).
Therefore, I don’t feel threatened by my mother in law’s journal; in fact I’m curious about it. She looks after my daughter one day a week and I’m sure she will write about the time they spend together. As I haven’t written a lot about my daughter as times, I’m sure in the future her journal will be a pleasure to read for both me and my daughter.
How do you feel about people you know keeping a journal? Does it strengthen or threaten your journal? Do you encourage people close to you to write?