Epstein article on Journaling

Talking to oneself by Joseph Epstein is a good read. Though we have different ideas about what constitutes a good journal, it’s fun to read such a detailed reflection on the subject.

There is a noticible shift of emphasis in online journaling compared to the traditional private sort. Online journals tend to be more entertaining and less morose. Epstein feels sure that “grave reflections” have little place in a journal:

As for the contents of my journal entries, they generally have to do with events, incidents, thoughts (more like notions) of the day before, though I am not above writing something genuinely vicious about something I’ve read, someone I’ve met, or some piece of gossip I’ve heard. A day’s entry rarely runs longer than two paragraphs of six or seven sentences each, and seldom takes me more than fifteen minutes to compose. I also try to be charming, if only to charm myself. The trick, I have discovered, is not to make the keeping of a journal into a chore. My advice on journal keeping is, as Cosima Wagner neglected to instruct Richard, keep it light.

This sounds like the prescription followed by online journals. The primary reason I switched to Greymatter was to cut down on the chore of creating journal pages. Now that the server time is being set correctly, I can enter little reflections like this with a minimum of effort. I suspect that my major problem is thinking too much.

But unlike most of the blogs out there, I prefer to write at least a paragraphs each time I link to something. The electronic shorthand of simple linking makes it possible for people to disappear from their logs. That’s boring. I want to know what people think of the sites they report.