Keeping a journal always seemed like such a good idea. I had fantasies of people hundreds of years in the future finding something profoundly meaningful in what I felt about homework. I started my first one when I was 6, when they were incoherent, dull exercises in stringing words together, and mostly about what I ate for “diner.” I’ve kept one on and off since then, because I have a short attention span and often leave gaps of months between entries. They’ve remained dull, but with more vulgarity and fewer spelling errors. When I was in high school, I started writing my journal in (piss-poor) French, since I was convinced my mother was reading it.
This was not entirely a paranoid delusion. She used to do things like pull my old, worn-out underwear out of the garbage and say: “Why are you throwing this away? It’s perfectly good!” I didn’t have a lock on the door, but as an 8-year-old, I figured out that I could get some privacy by wedging a broomstick handle between the VHS rack and the door. She was pissed but held at bay. Later, when my ex-husband and I lived with her briefly after moving back from Maryland, she discovered we were no longer having sex by counting the condoms in the sock drawer.
Yeah, she was nuts.
So maybe it’s weird that I’m writing my latest journal as letters to her now. I’m not trying to mail them or anything. Fuck, the post office can’t even get our mail to Colorado. But there’s much I want to tell her, and I figure she’s probably even more shameless now, so I’ll just leave the journal in my underwear drawer under a box of condoms.
If you could write letters to one dead person and have him or her read it, who would it be?