Things I Know 33 of 365: These are not my secret thoughts

Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think, whatever you want, be sure that it is what you want, whatever you feel, be sure that it is what you feel.

– T.S. Eliot

February 4, 1994 I started keeping a journal.

In between moves a few years ago, it was uncovered. I pulled it from a box in my basement thinking I’d include an entry as part of this writing.

I can’t.

I can’t betray my own trust.

Twelve-year-old me wrote those pages for the posterity of us. They serve as an anchor to memories of past love, broken friendships, broken families, personal successes.

Most of all, those entries were where I was trying to figure out new ideas I’d stumbled upon or had thrust upon my brain.

Reading the entries, I can see the genesis of some of the ideas I consider at the core of who I am today. Those nascent ideas are between me and myself. Some of their more recent iterations, though, have found their way to publication. Some are still in the thought lab.

While I was keeping that journal, I was also a contributor to the student section of my local paper. Before media became social, the State Journal-Register created a space for young writers to document the world as it appeared to them and share it with our community. I wrote about ideas about which I was more confident – school lunches, music, that time a mouse got into my bedroom.

I started to find my public voice in those pages.

I still keep a journal.

This is not it.

It is worn, has been dumped in the Colorado River and stolen by a baboon. My journal holds the lint of my days and the figments of stray thoughts. I note the world and my questions about it. My opinions start there. Like the first journal 15 years ago, it holds my secret thoughts.

This is a different space.

Here, I place the thoughts I’ve played with. I’ve pushed and pulled them and shared them with those I trust to do the same.

By the time I’ve written them here, I’ve already argued against the thoughts I publish. They’re the fourth or fifth or seventeenth drafts.

Online writing should be that. It should never be the space my brain vomits with hopes the Internet custodians will clean it up.

My worry over digital footprints extends beyond avoiding embarrassing pictures of myself online. It covers embarrassing or incomplete thinking online as well.

As I write myself into existence, I work to make it the better version of myself.

5 thoughts on “Things I Know 33 of 365: These are not my secret thoughts

  1. I often wonder if I'm consistent in what I've written in my blog over the years, but I have no desire to go back and check. I don't generally enjoy re-reading my blog. I write who I am at the time. Sometimes it doesn't reflect who I am at this moment, but that's ok. All my perspectives and thought are valid for the time in which they were written. I have a diary from when I was 12 as well. It's…painful? odd? familiar? strange? to read – all at the same time. Keep that trust with yourself.

  2. I have to disagree with you on this one. I don't think any of us need worry about what blogs should be or “should never be” These spaces serve different purposes for different people; whether we are areader or the writer we use public spaces in ways that help us “figure out new ideas that we’d stumbled upon or had thrust upon our brain.”For me personally, I have moved away from worrying too much about final drafts or final products. I use my blogs, my Flickr pgae etc… to document my journey. I hope I am never judged or understood as anyone blog post. Unlike you I do vomit all over the web and wait for others to dig through and see what they like. Sounds gross I know, but it is strange how often people come back with the strangest nuggets. Nuggets that had I chosen not to share because they were still too raw, I never would have made new connections. I sometimes see my online self as a fluid shape of myself in three states of being. Who I was, who I am , and who I am becoming. They dance and thrash about trying to connect with others lost on the path. a

    • I suppose that depends on the purpose of the blog. One of my blogs is a personal LJ for rants and “yes” lists. Another is for book reviews, as practice for the “real” reviews I do for the Horn Book. The amount of forethought and editing that goes into my LJ is often much less than that of my review blog.

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