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415th Friday Blog Roundup

Where do you stand on reading someone’s private journal after they’re gone?  Will you read your loved one’s journals if you find them upon going through their personal possessions after death?  Would you be okay (once you’re gone) of someone finding your old journals and reading them?  Not the words of your public blog, but the words that you’ve written in private paper journals, only known by you.

What about the journals of a celebrity?  If the family chose to publish them upon someone’s death, would you read them, or would you eschew the entries unless the publication of the diary was the expressed wishes of the deceased?  If you were a celebrity, do you think the public would have a right — especially if you influenced popular culture — to understand you better after you’re gone and read your private thoughts?

Where do you stand on journals post death?


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Journey to the Finish Line has a post about graduating from her fertility clinic.  It is bittersweet, saying goodbye to a place she never wanted to be and yet a place that has changed her completely.  She writes: “Today was my final ultrasound at the RE’s office. I walked in to a half full waiting room wondering where all of these couples were on their quest for parenthood, how long they have been on this path. I wished them all luck, silently. Then we waited.”  I smiled reading this post.

The Road Less Travelled has a response to the Huffington Post piece about mothers being in photographs, namely that it applies to a lot of women, whether parenting or not.  That some people have a tendency to always be taking pictures of others but don’t step up to have their picture taken, admitting they don’t want how they look at the moment documented.  She implores adult women to step in front of the camera, allow themselves to be seen, especially if they are other child-free women.  She asks at the end of the post an important question: “If you disappeared tomorrow, what sort of photographic record would remain of your life?

Two posts looking back on a series of years caught my brain this week.  No Kidding in NZ has a post documenting ten year jumps to her 50th birthdayPatience is Not My Virtue has a post on her anniversary looking back at a relationship.  I loved the rhythm of both these posts.

Lastly, Child Bearing Hips has a beautiful post about a family she knows who is moving from their home because it holds too many difficult memories.  She looks back at what has occurred in her house, how her daughter died in that house and her ashes are buried in the yard, and yet it is also the home where she can mark where she lived out favourite memories from her marriage.  It is the saddest days and the happiest days all mixed into one space, and she cannot imagine ever not living in that space despite understanding the need some people have to leave places behind.

The roundup to the Roundup: How do you feel about reading someone’s diary (or having yours read) after a death?  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between October 19th and 26th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 Amel { 10.26.12 at 7:44 am }

I’d love my hubby (at least) to be able to read my journal – or in my case probably my blog posts and the drafts in my different blogs. I would think that reading my main blog would help him remember my love for him ‘coz I write a lot about us. 😀

Hubby gave me his personal diaries to read after I moved to Finland, though he doesn’t write journals anymore (they were from his younger years – he shared some with me during our long-distance relationship via emails). And I gave him my teenage diaries/journals to read, too (prior to our wedding). 😀

2 serenity { 10.26.12 at 8:44 am }

I’d be fine if someone read my journals, but not okay with being published. Thank goodness I’m not a celebrity. 🙂

3 Amanda { 10.26.12 at 8:46 am }

This is one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time: http://bythebrooke.blogspot.com/2012/10/an-accidental-gift.html

4 loribeth { 10.26.12 at 8:58 am }

Mel, thank you so much for mentioning my post. I always feel like I’ve won an Oscar for ALI blogging whenever something I’ve written gets a Friday Roundup mention. ; )

I love reading published journals of famous people… Lucy Maud Montgomery’s come to mind. She actually rewrote her early journals (!), with an eye to having them published after her death. Even so, she doesn’t pull punches when it comes to writing about some of the painful parts of her life (her husband’s mental illness & its impact on their lives, the stillbirth of a baby boy, her oldest son’s gambling problem, etc.). You have to wonder what she left out…!

I kept journals on & off from the time I was 7 through high school, and very sporadically through university into my early 30s. There is a box of them sitting in the closet of my old bedroom at my parents’ house and I keep thinking I need to retrieve them one of these days. Not sure I will sit down & read them… I am sure there is some hilarious stuff in there, but also some painful stuff too. After I’m gone, I don’t think I will care who reads them… in fact, I am thinking of stipulating in my will that they be donated to an archive, maybe with a time stipulation that they can’t be open for xx years.

If you don’t want people to read your journals after you’re gone, you should take steps to destroy them first, or (in case you’re gone quite suddenly), leave instructions.

Even so — one of my cousins descended from a large family in which her great-grandfather was the only child to marry & have children. His other siblings mostly lived together, and when the last maiden aunt died, she left instructions that all the family’s personal papers, photos, scrapbooks, etc., be burned. And they were. As a family historian, that makes me cringe. I know my cousin has had a lot of trouble researching that branch of her family, and so wishes she had at least something of what might have been in those photo albums & diaries.

For second helpings this week, I MUST mention the wonderful series of posts Keiko & Pamela have been writing this week on the whole issue of motherhood & infertility today, coming from different perspectives (pregnant with donor egg/living childfree after infertility). The series concludes today with a Twitter chat at noon & wrapup posts from both later.

Keiko’s first post in the series: http://theinfertilityvoice.com/2012/10/to-mom-or-not-to-mom/

Pamela’s first post in the series: http://blog.silentsorority.com/2012/10/22/to-mom-or-not-to-mom.aspx

5 a { 10.26.12 at 9:10 am }

I don’t write anything down unless I’m comfortable with other people reading it, so it wouldn’t bother me if someone read my (non-existent) diary. Since it’s non-existent, I don’t have to worry about it. 🙂 I’ve always read other people’s journals – I’m snoopy like that (and I have older sisters whose stuff was always just so interesting!). So, don’t leave your journal lying around where I can find it, because if I pick it up, I will read it.

Here’s a post that resonated with me:

And I love that Lori is calling people on this:


6 Aspgriswold { 10.26.12 at 10:21 am }
7 WeeHermione { 10.26.12 at 11:22 am }

Heh, I have paper journals going back to the 4th grade, and even when I was that young, I was writing them as though someone were reading them upon my demise. I’ve always assumed someone would read them if I weren’t around (BECAUSE I AM SO IMPORTANT, DUH, THEY WILL BECOME TRAGIC FILMS AND PEOPLE WILL WEEP FOR THEIR BEAUTY) but sure, there are bits I’d rather nobody ever knew. BUT….well, I’ll be dead! So oh well!

8 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.26.12 at 11:33 am }

My sisters have strict instructions to sequester my journals and give them to Tessa when they think she’s ready for them. I think that would be in her late-20s, probably. I never want them made public.

But I would have no qualms about reading someone else’s. In fact, I’d do so eagerly, trying to match up my own take on things with theirs.

The celebrity question is a tough one. In one sense, of COURSE they deserve the same privacy that the little people do. In another, people like Marilyn Monroe and JFK and Elvis and Michael Jackson kind of DO belong to the ages. I have no definitive answer.

9 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.26.12 at 11:33 am }

Oh, and a big thank you to A.


10 Becky { 10.26.12 at 12:05 pm }

While I’d not want many people to read my journals (i.e. hubby, my mom, most of my friends), I would like for them to be available to my boys. Like, when I’m dead and they’re well in to adulthood. I sure as heck wouldn’t want them published!

11 Alie { 10.26.12 at 1:32 pm }

Thank you so much for including me in your Friday round-up! 🙂

As for the journal question, I would definitely read my loved ones’ journals after their death… but I also have no problem admitting I am totally nosy – I would love to read them while they are alive as well! (don’t worry, I have self-restraint enough not to). I’m currently prepping for my grandmother’s 90th birthday party, and going through all her old photos makes me wish she had journals of all her shenanigans and vacations with her BFFs. I have a feeling they were a little bit wild, and it would definitely be fun to read what they were up to back in the 1940’s.

12 S.I.F. { 10.26.12 at 1:43 pm }

I feel like such a hypocrite saying this, but while I would in a heartbeat read the journals of another person after they passed (celebrity or otherwise) I cringe at the idea of anyone ever reading any of mine. Funny how that works, huh?

13 Another Dreamer { 10.26.12 at 2:39 pm }

I don’t keep a personal journal anymore; I actually went through the attic and threw all my old ones away a few months ago. I just didn’t like who I used to be when I was younger (read= angsty teenager), and I didn’t want the reminder. I re-read some of them, had a good chuckle at my expense, and then tossed away. It was all very personal for me, and while I can see how in some cases reading a loved ones last thoughts might be soothing, for me the thought of anyone reading that after I was gone made me sick to my stomach.

That said, they released Kurt Cobain’s journals when I was a senior in high school. I got it for Christmas, and I read it. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but I found it fascinating. At the time I didn’t consider how he might have felt about it (remember, angsty teenager right here) because my curiosity was peaked. Thinking about it now, I can see how much more complex the issue is than all that. But it also makes you wonder where you draw the line. Private letters are sometimes aired like open letters from people; I remember studying a fair bit of them in college actually as we got to know our authors better. It helped us put the reality in context, to understand more about how their life affected their work, or where they stood on certain issues. But these were correspondence letters, addressed to a specific individual, and now shared with anyone who cares to read. They weren’t often letters focused on a private matter, usually they were centered on literary theory, but still… where do you draw the line? Letters I suppose could be shared whether alive or dead, and were intended for an audience though… a private journal is not.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I don’t know exactly where I stand. If I leave a journal around after I’m gone, it will be with the acknowledgement that it may be read by others. This is why I threw out my old journals after all, because I assumed they would be read and I didn’t think anyone needed to wade through that drivel.

14 Keiko { 10.26.12 at 3:20 pm }

I literally have no time to write, but your blog question triggered a response question:

Do you have a blog backup plan in the untimely event of your own death?

I do. B/c I’m paranoid like that.

15 Cristy { 10.26.12 at 5:28 pm }

I swear I’ve seen this topic regarding a family trying to figure out what to do with the late patriarch’s journals. The question was where it was okay to read them and, if not, what to do with them. The response to the question was similar to what Keiko and Lori have talked about: it’s important to have a backup plan for these materials. Regarding whether to read or not: well, that’s a hard one. As much as I want to respect someone’s privacy, I’m also with S.I.F and am insanely curious about people.

My nominations:
Keiko and Pamela’s ALI Mom salon: http://theinfertilityvoice.com/2012/10/recapping-the-alimomsalon-this-week/

Jessica’s post in response to the Ricki Lake show: http://jjiraffe.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/infertility-and-extremes/

SIF had a great post too: http://singleinfertilefemale.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-business-of-being-in-business.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SingleInfertileFemaleNowWhat+%28Single+Infertile+Female%3A+Now+What%3F%29

16 A Passage to Baby { 10.26.12 at 7:16 pm }

Hmmmm, I would (should?) probably think long and hard about what I should do with my journals upon my demise.
#1 – they are all over the place. Trying to find all since I was a kid (in digital and print format) would be a huge chore that overwhelms me just to think about it.
#2 – I write in journals in spurts and I don’t think it’s a good overall reflection of me. I can go years without writing in them, and then write a ton. Usually when I have written in them it is about angst and I don’t think that represents me well in my normal day-to-day life.

For my weekly recommendation: Bernadette at Rasta Less Traveled titled: Your Child Has Only 3 Months to Live.
Her blog is fantastic and despite everything she has been through, she has a phenomenal perspective on life.

17 N { 10.26.12 at 10:57 pm }

I’ve read blogs and such of people, after they’ve passed away. Usually, though, it’s because I feel some sort of connection to them, I knew them (or knew them online), etc. I’m not sure I’d read published ones from a celebrity or something like that.

18 Brave IVF Girl { 10.26.12 at 11:16 pm }

Wrenching post about October 15 and what the day misses about our “lost” babies:


19 Finding My New Normal { 10.27.12 at 6:54 am }

As much as I think we shouldn’t read the private journals of our relatives once they have passed away I’m afraid to admit that I would indeed read one if I found it. I’m just way too nosy for my own good.

On the other hand I also believe that if you snoop then you deserve whatever you find. So if I were to find out something I didn’t like it would be my own fault for being so nosy.

20 Prairie { 10.27.12 at 11:28 am }

When I turned 17 my Aunt gave me my deceased grandmother’s diary to read. Written when my grandmother was 17 it detailed her courtship with my grandfather. It was an amazing snapshot of her life, the era and the city in which they lived. The diary had been read by my female cousins when they were 17. It was a cool family tradition that I hope will continue with my cousin’s daughters and my niece.

21 Prairie { 10.27.12 at 11:32 am }
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