Prior to this ranty blog, I used to email a group of friends and family regular rants. Being a long way from home and going through a phase in my life when everything seemed to go wrong, the best way I felt I had of dealing with things was to write about them. So I wrote rants - keeping them light hearted, fun -and emailed them to this group of people. I still have them all - some of them are quite good. Some are just, well, rants.
Alongside my rants I kept personal diaries. This is something I have done for a very very long time, and stopped, to a certain extent, when I left Paris. In my personal diaries I wrote the things which I couldn't put in the rants - the true stories behind my relationships with men, colleagues. My feelings, my real feelings, fears, hopes, nightmares. When I finally found happiness, in the shape of my husband, I boxed up my diaries, and put them in a safe place.
My journal style writing takes two forms now - this blog - and a diary type thing I am writing for my daughter. I started it before she was born, and it is basically a record of what she does, how I feel about that, what is going on in her life - I'm recording the things she will never remember for herself, and some anecdotes about her family. I hope one day she will enjoy reading it. In a few weeks I will start doing the same for her little sister.
But let's go back to those other diaries. The personal ones. Moving house, I am going through my stuff, and came across a box marked "Do not open, ne pas ouvrir" . I remember when I sealed that box, the day we left Paris, I swore not to open it again. But I have to deal with the contents, before someone else does. If I had died last year during my scary scary health scare my husband would have come across that box at some point, and not known what to do with it. He knows of its existence, and vaguely knows what is in there, and I actually wouldn't mind him reading the books, if he can stomach it. But that's as far as I want it going.
I certainly don't want my daughters coming across them at some point and reading them. They don't need to know about their mother's past. At least, they don't need to know that version of my past. Even more importantly I wouldn't want any other member of my family or my husband's family reading them. Not because there is anything about them, in particular. Or at least nothing I haven't already said. But I wrote those diary entries when I was going through a whole wide range of emotions. They are private.
So what should I do with them? Why write something down if you don't intend it to be read? Once something is written down, on paper, or on the web, or anywhere really, it's hard to get rid of the words. I suppose I should open the box and empty it onto a bonfire and put the ghosts of my past to bed. What use is it likely to be to me? I don't really want to re-read what I wrote, and I certainly don't want anyone else to read them. So what is stopping me from getting rid? Am I keeping them for when I finally write that novel? I don't think so - I am the last person on whom I would like to base a character. I'd rather slap my younger self.
So. Burn 'em? Bury 'em? Or keep 'em? What would you do with 10 years' worth of written memories?