I'm not sure why I have kept my tangible diary, and certainly my motivation and writing style have changed over the decades. But I suppose my time-invariant motives could be summarized: I want to remember; I want to understand.
My motives for keeping the K5 diary are different: I want to share, I want to learn, I want to play, I want to connect, and I want to convince people to buy my novel . Most of all, I guess, I want to play.
But it is the desire to connect that introduces the paradoxical effect that I mentioned above.
So I've asserted that my private (paper) diary and my public (electronic) diary are for different audiences and purposes. Nevertheless I find it paradoxical that my forty-two K5 diary entries are (in some ways, at least) more open and soul-bearing than my usual entries in my private diaries.
When I write in my own "private" diary, which I don't even share with my wife, I cannot shake the implicit audience that looks over my shoulder: my future self, and any other random persons, probably including my widow and bereaved children, who will read my diary at some indeterminate future time. This audience, despite my strenuous efforts to be completely honest with myself, inhibits me.
When I write in my K5 diary for an audience of strangers (that would be you), I am aware that I have an audience with whom I have a compact: I want connection (feedback; love, whatever) in the form of comments and poll votes, and you want to be entertained-- that's why you're reading, I assume (unless you're collecting data for a doctoral dissertaion on weblogs or something). My way of keeping this compact and engaging my audience is to be open, honest, and uninhibited. Also, I try to be fun.
In my diary of last December 18th I wrote about an impending visit to Tucson, Arizona; and I pondered whether I should or shouldn't stay at the home of my old friend Anne, to whom I had been engaged to be married a long time ago. My chief consideration in deciding whether or not to stay with Anne was concern for the feelings of My Dear Wife Betty, to whom I have been married for more than 21 years.
Two weeks ago I went to Arizona, and I stayed with Anne. I wrote a brief K5 diary entry about it.
But don't you know, I wanted to write more than I did in that initial post. It was not a very satisfying entry.
Why? Because my Tucsonian trip is part and parcel of the very cabbage of the intense kapusta of my life. Because I have been married to Betty for 21+ years; because Anne and I were once engaged to be married (27+years ago), because I had not seen Anne in 18 years and the last time I saw her she was powerless, a victim of a cruel trick of her body that nearly killed her; because Anne and I still love each other; because of the intensity of our love affair 1974; because Anne is gay and I'm not; because my wife Betty has become the blood that runs in my veins and our souls have fused in the millennia masquerading as decades that we've been together, because Anne called off our engagement by "Dear John" letter when I was a dysenteried/worm-infected/?malarial? Peace Corps Volunteer in drought/plague-infested Senegal living on emergency rations and shocked at age 21 to have children die of starvation in my arms and an entire village counting on me-another life-changing experience-; because Betty sent me to Tucson to see Anne with her blessing and instructions to resolve old ambiguities; because there was additional heavy karma surrounding my trip to Tucson that had nothing to do with Anne or Betty-- , because the echoes of Anne's affair with me have doomed, by her account, at least one long-term lesbian relationship; because there is too little love in the world and I seek to increase it, that is why we're here according to my favorite philosopher, well, for all these reasons I wanted to write in my K5 diary about my trip to Tucson but I was torn between:
and so I was really torn.
My own desire for privacy-- I'm a nearly Kaczynskian technoparanoiac and hermit;
My desire to engage y'all, a bunch of strangers (I do so love your comments and poll participation);
My desire (and obligation) to protect the feelings and privacy of my Dear Wife Betty, and to repay her trust in kind.
And I am likewise torn on many other subjects. I want to write, share, play, engage; I want to remember and I want to understand. But I also want to keep my distance, and furthermore I have no business discussing personal stuff having to do with other people (i.e. Betty, our children) who don't want their lives put out there for your entertainment.
The easiest solution to this dilemma is to opt out; to treat the K5 diary as a place to play postmodern ironic games, to troll, to lie, to fuck around, to revel in cleverness, to invent fictional selves. I think all of these approaches are fine. Like the tag line says, it's your diary, do what you want with it.
But in a way I think that using the K5 diary for trollish oh-so-clever bullshit is sad. I have made real human connections through this vehicle, and boy as far as I'm concerned real human connection is better than cleverness seven days a week. But fuckit, I'm nearly fifty years old. Maybe I'm just off my game.
How about you?