The women in my family always wrote. Journals, mostly.
Many women fill their hope chests with clothing, linens, dishware. My mother filled hers with journals. They came in all sizes and types. Some were small enough that I could curl my palm around them. Others were large enough that they had to be held in two hands. Some were plain. Others, glorious and embossed. My favorite resembled an illuminated manuscript.
My grandmother also journals. One day she told me that she either wanted them burned when she died, or she wanted them to go straight to me. She doesn’t want my mother to read them.
That reticence comes from her having read my great-grandmother’s diaries, I think. My great-grandma was a lovely woman. A lovely woman full of secrets. Most families have them, and some keep their secrets so tightly that they forget they exist at all. When my grandmother inherited those bits of writing, it reminded her that she had secrets of her own as well.
Maybe there are some things daughters don’t need to know about their mothers.
So the women in my family always wrote. I suppose I carry on that tradition. My writing is more public, more digital than theirs, but it still binds us together.
I suspect most writers have words in their blood.
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This article was originally posted on August 23, 2016.