Pure GOP Hypocricy, Conflict Of Interest, Briefs
Mali Journal

Journal Writing

My younger daughter was talking to me the other day about keeping a journal. She's been advised that instead of just writing quotidian descriptions of her life, she should pick a person, a place, a thing or an incident each day and write about that. I don't think I have a talent for close observation.

And I know I am unlikely ever to need research for a novel, because I stopped writing fiction when I was 13 for a very good reason--my fiction was crap. I am great with non-fiction, and that's probably where I will stay. Anyway, I got to thinking about the times in my life when I have kept a journal, and the times I have gone back to reread it, and three things seems certain; one, we never know what kind of moment we're in when we're in it; two, don't trust your memory, and three, perspective is a function of experience plus time.

A few years back, I wanted to share with my wife the journal entries I wrote around the time we met. Alas, it turns out they were bland to the point of embarrassment. She may have known I was the one from the first, but it took me a while to catch on the the obverse proposition.

There are two examples where actually reading my journal embarrassed me. I am a story teller, and I discovered that stories I had told for 40 years about my time at the MIT radio station were just plain contrary to the facts. I was, in fact, creamed in the election for General Manager, but I did get more than two votes. Also, I have romanticized the time I spent in a relationship when I was a young man. Here, reading my journal was truly salutory. Apparently, I was in near constant emotional pain for the entire 18 months the relationship lasted. I surely don't remember it that way, but I begin to see why my friends were relieved when we broke up.

Finally, I have written two versions of my biography, with my daughters as the primary target audience. They are lukewarm about the efforts, because they don't feature prominently in them. And that is a matter of perspective. My autobiography is all about me, and that shouldn't come as a surprise. But given that my wife and children are the most important things in my life, you'd think I'd have the sense to write more about them. Perspective. It's hard to come by.