Let's get right to it. Carol, a long-time reader at the book club, cooked up a literary feast in her Weber grill...
Sometime ago you wrote about your grandmother's journals, saying they were mainly about her cooking, housekeeping, etc. Well, like her, I also have journaled for about 50 years. When your column hit the email, your readers wrote back with all kinds of different stories about their own journaling. Their [emails] struck a real chord with me...
One writer said that her journals contained 'the good, bad, and the ugly!' I have to say my journals fell in the camp with the reader who took the journals and BURNED the whole lot. Yes indeed, the good, along with the bad and ugly, went up in a blaze and returned to charred dust in my Weber grill. And what a great weight was lifted from my psyche. My children will never have to fret and fume over what their mother wrote when she was supremely happy, or feeling down and out."--Fondly, Carol M
(Reply from Suzanne): Carol, I think every good writer needs an editor. My daily editor, she's indispensable. Sometimes she suggests I need a rewrite, because the words I wrote might have made me feel good in the moment--everyone needs to vent--but they really wouldn't be constructive for anyone else to read. I write a daily column because my hope is it will comfort someone, knowing they're not the only one who feels "this way." So I'm bold in writing down my feelings good and bad, but without harsh words. Because I've never learned how to be kind, considerate, or understanding from unkind words people have said to me over the years.
I do want to leave written thoughts behind for my children and grandchildren to read. I won't be there beside them, so maybe instead, my words can "wrap my arms around them." But I agree with you, there's no need for my kids and grandkids to be reading my first drafts--what I wrote on really bad days, or when I felt upset towards them. My kids know things weren't perfect, that I had my faults, but there's no need advertising them when I'm gone. I am constantly changing. So the choices and feelings when I initially wrote them down, they may not be the way I felt, or saw life when I left the world.
Fortunately, I don't have to make the choice about whether to fire up the Weber grill or not, my columns and my book, they've already been edited. Not to hide my worries and fears, but to leave a realistic picture of the mom and grandmother who did the best she could each day and loved her family so very much.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
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