Hypothetically Speaking

So my daughter is at it again. In our latest phone conversation she asked me this:

“Hypothetically speaking, if you ever get eaten by a bear Mom, what do you want done with all those bits and piece of writing that you’ve saved over the years?”

First of all when someone starts out a conversation by using the words “hypothetically speaking” you know whatever follows is going to be a little off the wall, right? I mean, hypothetically speaking if I sprouted horns and a tail. (Add your own sentence here.)

As silly as it sounded she made a good point. She wanted to know if I would view those incomplete, unedited stories the way I would a journal, and if so would I not want someone to read it after I was gone?

I’m not trying to be morbid, I promise. But hey, we’re all going to be bear bait at one time or another—- hypothetically speaking, of course.

I quickly told her I didn’t look at it the same way at all. Knowing that someone might read some of my first drafts (those unedited pieces of monkey crap I wrote that never jelled into a story) if a bear ever snacked me upon, doesn’t make me feel self-conscious at all. Not only that, as many drafts as I sometimes start, I couldn’t imagine anyone taking the time to sift through them all. They’d soon nod off I’m sure.

On the other hand, I told her, giving someone the okay to read my journal would depend upon the contents. Some people use journals as a way of recording family events, not as a place to purge, lash out, and write down their deepest darkest secrets. I don’t keep a journal but I do know if I had one that I used for moaning and complaining I wouldn’t want people reading it while the bear was licking its chops.

Now you know I’m going to ask your opinion here folks. So here goes: Hypothetically speaking of course, if you got eaten by a bear do you want your journals/ unpublished stories destroyed or placed under glass and preserved for future generations?

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  1. I’ve had a similar conversation with my kids (no bear involved!). I’ve given them permission to do what they want with my unpublished manuscripts – junk, add to, publish, not publish. Love this post, Laura!


  2. If anyone would want to read my journals after I am no longer around, they are welcome to it but I am sure they would find them boring. (that is if they could actually read them since my hand writing is terrible)As for all my scribbles and starts, if anyone would be able to make a marketable story out of them, they have my blessings. It’s something I haven’t put much thought into. I have always wished Cassandra hadn’t been so quick to destroy most of Jane Austen’s letters and journals though. A great subject to ponder Laura.
    Darlene Foster


  3. I travel light. Most of my writing is on my computer only. I don’t think my old stuff will be of any use to anyone else after I’m gone, so I’ll just leave it to the bear, and he probably won’t want it either. I don’t have a journal.

    This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it. 🙂

    I hope I am not eaten by a bear, and I hope you are not either. Blessings to you, Laura…


  4. Destroyed.


  5. What a thoughtful question from your daughter.

    I don’t journal, but I certainly wouldn’t want any of my unpolished stuff published. I don’t think I even want it read. I suppose it would be too late to be embarrassed, but still …

    Maybe I should instruct my family before that bear shows up.


  6. I don’t have a lot of unpublished stuff lying around…my paternal grandmother kept a diary for many years, and I used to read them when we were visiting…would love to have them now!



  7. Okay, my mind stuck at this: “what do you want done with all those bits and piece” LOL. I’m like, what? Then I read further. Okay, I feel better now. 🙂 I don’t really care what happens to the old drafts. I don’t have a lot of them. I would LOVE to find a hidden treasure of someone’s long lost work, so sure. I don’t mind.


  8. Keep the one that’s finished. Chuck the rest, because they’d make no sense to anyone but me, and I’m not around to help.

    Love the beginning. If you were eaten by a bear…


  9. Madison Woods

     /  February 21, 2011

    There are very few people I’d want reading my journals. Mine *are* a place for me to lash out, moan or gripe, but they are also a place where I record family events, happy times, and my deepest darkest secrets.

    I think I’d want them given to my daughter. I’d hope if she read them, she’d notice if she recognized herself in there soon enough to make the necessary changes in her life, if she didn’t like the way it looked.

    After that, I’d entrust them to my friend Robert. He and I are so much alike, I *know* he’d recognize himself. And he’d smile, because we’ve both made the necessary changes in our lives 🙂


  10. I appreciate your comments on the bear question. Hopefully it’s something none of us will have to worry about for a good long while. Most of you have given some thought to this already by the sound of it, but have you let your loved ones know what your wishes are?

    I think thats what prompted my daughter’s question. It was something I’d never mentioned to anyone. I guess because I hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought before.


  11. I had a similar, but very different conversation with my daughter — now 13. I told her, “When I’m dust, the stories are yours. Don’t throw them out. If you don’t want them, save them for someone who does. Maybe one of your brothers or your own daughter. I repeat, don’t throw them out or I’ll be back to haunt you.”

    As a genealogist, I want all my stuff — manuscripts, half-finished stories and journals — preserved. It is my way of passing on my wisdom — or my not so wise self — to the next generation. I warned my daughter that she may not appreciate this ‘stuff’ until she’s 50. That’s when you start looking back as much as you look forward.

    However, since she may not take my warning to heart, I’m busy getting things published, so regardless if she throws it out or not, a large chunk of my writing will be available for my great-grandkids when they go to the library. My journals span from around the age of 12 to 29. I’m sure she and the rest of the family will be amused by the many things I’ve written.

    Great post, Laura. It’s always good to plan for the future.


  12. I want my personal journals destroyed (in fact, I may have to put something in writing, lol), but (if they can handle the tedium, heh heh) folks could feel free to read the unpublished writing.



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