I know their stories. I know them not from their writings in journals or diaries unfortunately--we do have lots of letters (love letters mostly to and from my Grandparents in the sunrise of their relationships)--, but I know them because both of my Grandmothers are still alive. For now, I can call them and ask them questions. For now, their stories are alive with them, but what will happen when they cross from this life into the next? Have I asked them enough questions? I doubt it. Will I be able to connect their stories together as well as I connect them in our living family tree? Maybe. The problem that I have is time. The problem I have is that time tends to eat away memories; it tends to eat away the history of the everyday person. The problem is that I probaby haven't asked all of the questions. And the problem is that nothing that I haven't asked isn't written down, and if it's not written down, with time, it could be lost forever.
Throughout recorded history, man has written: stories of conquest, defeat, exploration, exposition, and stories of every day life. It's the historian's job to sift through letters, journals, and other documents to describe what happened to a person or group. Through their writings, they describe how they lived, what they did, and how they did it. These people took time to write things down so that their story could be told later before being obscured by the mists of time.
That was then, and this is now. Then, people wrote physical letters, and waited weeks for a reply. Then, every day journal writing and the storytelling of one's life was more important. Now, we email. Now, we spend our free time sending electrons zipping to and fro, leaving little but a memory and screenburnt eyes. This is not to say that people do not communicate like they did in times of old, but the communication seems to be semipermanent and ever-changing. An historian can search old letters and journals, but what will the historian of tomorrow find? Emails tend to be deleted forever. Blogs tend to be deleted, leaving no trace of what was once there.
And that's where the importance, to me, of my LiveJournal comes in. I think that the vital importance of my LiveJournal resides in the traditional motives for keeping a journal. I'm able to write down the mundane facts of day-to-day life, which I will be able to share with my progeny via the printed page. I can also share my conquests--my achievements--as they happened. I hope that my family will be able to share my sadness as I went repeatedly into various hospitals,and my happiness as I graduated with my bachellors degree.
These things are vitally important to me and my future family, but LiveJournal offers us as "bloggers" other both exciting and challenging opportunities. There is real value to LiveJournal's community atmosphere. I can join communities with like-minded people, and through that, I can link to those like-minded people. Perhaps I'll find someone who writes about my interests. Perhaps I'll find someone who just has an interesting writing style. I can add people as friends so that whenever they write, I am instantly able to read their latest entry. My daily life can be discussed by my friends using comments. Through this, they have supported me during hard times and congratulated me in others. I can call a phone number and create an entry from literally anywhere, even from within an ambulance. To this day, listening to that post makes me tear up because it conveys so much more emotion than writing could afford me in a traditional journal.
LiveJournaling does create some problems however. I have been guilty in the past of worrying about what people who read my journal on a daily basis--my friends list--might think if I wrote about a certain event or topic. At times, I have stilted my language for fear that I would offend someone. I worried that if, for example, I wrote about my conversion to Mormonism, people would stop reading my journal, and that would invalidate the importance of what I was doing. This was a detriment to my journal because as a result of my petty worries, I have no day-to-day record of my thoughts and feelings during that important, and I believe sacred, time in my life. Writing to my friends helped me to sanitize that event out of my life's journal, and I fear that time has already erased some of those important memories, memories which could have been easily fillled by a few lines, every day. There are gaping holes in my journal now however, and those holes will never be fully filled by the memory of the day, but I fear that they could be crowded out by newer experiences and memories.
This is my journal. True, I write entries much like I'm writing a mass email. True, my Grandma has called me from Arizona to ask me why I haven't updated yet. True, I have met many interesting people in the land of LiveJournal. But the fact remains that this is my journal. When it is my time to cross the vail, I want future generations to know me. I wwant to be more than a name, birth, and death date to them. From this day forward, I resolve to make this journal mine. I resolve to do it for my future kids, and for their kids kids. I resolve to have the peace of mind to know that they will read these pages and know why I've spent so much time writing in this journal. And a final word to my future family, friends, and random historians with too much time on their hands ... if you keep a journal, write often, write always, and by all means, make it yours!