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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

How secret is the private diary?

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Eugenia Gallardo
Eugenia Gallardo
Literariamente Eugenia se define como hija de Asturias y Cervantes; prima de Monterroso y Batres Montúfar; amiga de Yourcenar y Christie. Su obra ha sido traducida al italiano y francés, e incluida en antologías. Publica poco y escribe mucho; la crítica ha sido generosa con los frutos de su inventiva. En 2020 y 2021 fue nominada al Premio Nacional de Literatura. Floreció en dos hijas y dos nietas. Casada de dos hervores, hoy es soltera empedernida. Creció en Cobán, Huehuetenango y la Ciudad de Guatemala. Entre aventuras y exilios ha vivido en Nueva Orleans, Sao Paulo, Atlanta, Carolina del Norte, Londres, Madrid y Costa Rica. Es Máster en Ciencias en Economía de América Latina (Universidad de Londres). Como economista política se ha dedicado principalmente a la investigación social. Escritora, dramaturga, actriz y artista plástica, su principal motivación es la creatividad y la experimentación.

To tell our own story we cannot avoid a first step: to take ownership of our being, which seems simple and obvious but it is not. The private diary can be a way to achieve this because in its purest and simplest version it is about putting into words what we have in our heads. Dear Diary: Today I did this or that. Today I realized that in such a situation what I feared is happening because… In that classic format I am talking privately with a close person, a friend who listens to me and who turns out to be me. It is a look in the mirror, but with words. It is dealing in a more concrete and manageable way with thoughts. Knowing that no one but one will read them, sincerity is unleashed, the words come off and begin to release complaints, claims, moments of joy, doubts, discoveries, thousands of emotions and ideas and reflections that come out of the disorder of the brain and are ordered on paper or on a screen and they shed light on that life of mine that is mine alone although logically I share it with many people because I don’t live in a desert, nor am I Robinson Crusoe before Friday appeared. The most intimate and sincere diary is the one that ensures that it will be secret, to the extent that some of us write it and almost immediately destroy it. But then you begin to love the exercise of seeing yourself in that mirror and you decide to keep it and reread it and even tie it with beautiful ribbons and decorate your notebooks (or add cute emojis to the text). Choosing not to destroy it begins the exciting process of figuring out how to hide it. Now, if you do not have a time of absolute privacy to write, nor a space to hide your pranks and you live stalked by beings who want to know if they are mentioned there and in what terms… then you still do not own your being. . This brings us back to the first step mentioned at the beginning: the need to appropriate one’s own being, which, more than an isolated act, is a vindication of a basic right against others. It is incredible, but we have managed to have our right to privacy respected in the bathroom or in the nuptial bed, but reclaiming the space of thought poured into words is an uphill struggle. The original intention of the intimate diary is that it be secret so that it is free. Sharing it later is also part of that exercise of freedom. Let’s begin to question how much ownership we are of our being if we want to undertake this beautiful adventure of telling our own story.
In the next installment we will talk about newspapers that circumstances have allowed us to discover. Let’s think about Anne Frank or Anais Nin or literary pieces that have adopted the classic “Dear Diary” format.


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