@postaday 340; #postaday2011.
In today’s New York Times is an article about the writings of Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, now on exhibit at the National Library of France until Feb. 19, 2012. Known mostly for being a serial seducer, he was also a “…gambler, swindler, diplomat, lawyer, soldier, alchemist, violinist, [and] traveler…” And it seems that time makes it all OK. Does time move faster in our modern age? Is a certain presidential candidate’s reputation going to be OK in a matter of weeks or months?
Sometimes I wonder about the value of journals, hand-written secrets bound for the eyes of the future, or bound for no one. How do some people determine that these papers should be protected from the Nazis, or these papers should be placed in a vault? And how then are they forgotten and then discovered? And how is it that they are discovered at just the right time?
I have tried to keep handwritten journals all of my life, but I cannot stand to go back and read them so I usually destroy them. Before the age of email, my mother would send me a package every couple of years of everything I had ever written to her. At first it hurt my feelings. My mother is the ultimate purger. When I joined the Air Force, she gave all my clothes away. That she didn’t want any of these letters of mine, these newspaper clippings, photos and other mementos, drove me crazy, until it didn’t. I now realize these things are safer with me. But, I don’t even know where they are right now. Somewhere in our house.
What if my daughters or grandchildren were to find them? And now, perhaps all they need to do is scour the Internet to find out about this Paula Bender and not the other Paula Benders of the world. And even remotely, Paula Gillingham, someone I used to be. Who a hundred years from now would hit on lavagal.net and be fascinated with my slice in time?
Unlike Casanova, I’ve not written everything. There are no fantasies or romantic exploits, no plans to overthrow City Council, no protests, no real betrayals of my feelings. And maybe that’s what makes Casanova’s writings so valuable? I’m often counseled to keep my feelings about life, about what isn’t my life, about what I’d like to see in my life, under wraps.
How does one write secrets these days?