For Christmas, Mom and my paternal grandmother collaborated and put together two notebooks of family history–one of as much general information as they could possibly gather, and one of Grandpa’s collected letters from his army days. I’ve just started reading the latter.
And it’s kinda funny. Grandpa was a good writer. I mean, I’ve no doubt that, in transcribing them (we have typewritten transcriptions, not handwritten ones), Grandma cleaned them up somewhat. Certainly some swear words were censored (though whether that happened on Grandpa’s end or on Grandma’s is up for debate. But really, he had the art of letter-writing pretty well mastered.
This leads to an interesting question: am I his heir? I don’t mean this in the “I’m totally an awesome writer” sense, but in the “what am I communicating to future generations?” sense. Sure, I’ve been journaling off and on for about fifteen years now, but *what* am I journaling? Will my hypothetical grandchildren be able to look at them and say, oh, this is what life was LIKE for a DigiRhet M.A. student in 2008?
In that, war writers had it easy. In writing to my grandmother, Grandpa couldn’t just be like, d00d, Soldier Fred and I totally pwnd some n00bs; he’d have to explain who Soldier Fred was, who n00bs are, and what pwnd means. He’d tell stories. And my hypothetical grandchildren will, in some ways know him better than they would know me from, say, this blog post.
I know; it’s a question of audience. My journals are primarily for myself, or, in the case of this blog, for a quasi-professional audience. In many ways, I think I’d rather be writing for my grandkids.