On January 15, at my bookstore’s new retail location, I held a gathering for journal writers. To my dismay only two people showed up, although it was advertised through the local paper, flyers, at the store itself, and on Craig’s list. I am not sure what this tells me. There are so many ways to look at this. The bookstore is still unknown and perhaps I need to establish more social-political ties through networking.
All three of us at the gathering were long-time journal writers: two older women and a man in his thirties. He had some concerns stemming from criticism that he writes too much. He works as a teacher. We talked about balance. I often observe that non-writers— especially people who do not keep journals— feel there is something harmful about recording your thoughts, feelings and experiences in a book, something loner-ish, as though you are a social misfit. Au contraire, I think this is a path toward mental health and a form of meditation that deepens your life…particularly when continued over a long time.
Another issue we discussed was whether a diary archive should insist that all donations of diaries, journals and letters should be immediately open to the public or whether a donor could choose to keep them closed for a certain period of time to protect the people written about. My position is they should be allowed to be closed for whatever amount of time the donor wishes. There was some disagreement over this issue.
I hope to try another gathering for journal writers this coming year. The question is whether there are many journal writers anymore and if these are individuals who enjoy socializing or those who prefer keeping their thoughts private. I personally love groups and conversation. More on “loners” in a future blog…
Look for future gatherings and check out my bookstore: The Eclectic Reader on Facebook. Email at email@example.com