I wasn’t sure if I should tell my mother that I had a blog. I wanted to share it with her. We’re such good friends now, and we live so far apart. Sharing my blog would be a way to bridge some of the physical distance between us, and she could read my stories about my kids, her grandkids.
But we’re talking about the woman who read my journal when I was eleven years old. At the time, I assumed that my journal was private, that my mother would never dream of reading my journal even if she found it. I never even tried to hide it from her. She just stumbled upon it while cleaning my closet.
But then she opened it and read it.
That fateful breach of security compromised my ability to honestly write about my feelings for years afterward. Or at least that’s what I told myself until I turned 35, when I realized that the words “honest” and “feelings” couldn’t really be strung together to describe any part of me or my life. But that’s another story.
Not that I’d been particularly honest in my journal writing, even at eleven years old. At least half of what I wrote were made up stories inspired by Go Ask Alice, a 70s best-selling novel about a drug addicted, sexually active teenager. No wonder my mother been shocked by what she’d read in my journal! But though most of what I’d written in my journal was lies, I’d just been trying to create gritty, compelling literature that would hopefully catapult me into fame some day, just like in Go Ask Alice. I figure I had James Frey beat by about three decades.
After I tearfully divulged to my mother which were the lies and which was the truth in my journal, I still found that I had a bit of ‘splainin’ to do. Like about the part where I stole money from our neighborhood library.
I was one of this library’s most faithful patrons. That library was my home away from home. I checked out books daily, read as many of them as I could, and returned for more. The expression ‘voracious reader’ didn’t really do me justice, because my book addiction wasn’t only inspired by a love of reading. Alcoholism had infilterated our family in earnest, and I hid in my room and read to escape.
But for this escape plan to work, I needed books. Books, books, and more books. If a Sunday happened to roll around and I didn’t have a book to read, I despaired because the library was closed. I tried to make it a habit to always check out tons of books on Saturday, enough to hold me over until Monday afternoon after school.
It was on one such sad and bookless Sunday, that I walked to the library to return some books that I’d already read. I pushed the books through the book slot, but before I let go of them, I stopped. Through the book slot, I spied a heap of already returned books on the book table right underneath the book slot. All I had to do was stick my little fingers through the book slot, pull one of the books off the book table, and my problem would be solved. I would have a book to read. I could hole up in my room and escape happily for hours.
I reached in and grabbed. It worked!
I pulled out several books, just to get a good selection. While rifling through one of the books to see what the book was about, I found an envelope. It wasn’t sealed, and inside the envelope were nestled three dollar bills and some change. An overdue book fine.
I’d felt quite rich enough just having found a way to get some books out of the library on a Sunday. I never intended to steal the books, I would just borrow them, sans library card, until the libary opened again. But that three dollars was tempting like no book could be. Cash! I was still at an age when I had very little, and my allowance barely covered the cost of a quarter candy bar.
I promptly went to my best friend’s house, told her about my windfall, and we went on a Guild Drug Store shopping spree, purchasing hats, candy, and bracelets.
When my mother read about this escapade in my journal, I couldn’t deny it. Because she had been so thoroughly convinced by all my fictional tales of drugs and debauchery, I was forced to cop to what little truth there was in my journal, or risk her going completely overboard thinking that it was all true. I admitted to the library book crime.
She took me to the library, made me apologize to the librarians (all of whom knew me, of course, from my daily visits). She took me to Guild Drug Store and made me apologize to the manager. She even took me to the police station and made me talk to a police officer.
What toil and trouble over journaling!
I’ve long since forgiven my mother her indiscretion for reading my journal. But now that I’m blogging, I couldn’t help but hesitate. Should I risk telling her about it?
The answer was, after some thought, obvious. Blogging is, by definition, letting my mother read my journal. Telling her about it just saves her the consternation of stumbling upon it in my internet closet.