When I was little one of my favorite movies was Harriet the Spy. In the movie, a sixth grader named Harriet takes her private journal everywhere and uses it to make keen observations about everyone in her town. Then one day, she gets into trouble when all her classmates steal and read her journal and her critical thought about all of them. Even her best friends are understandably insulted, but Harriet’s journal was never meant to be read by anyone. She’s thrown into a frenzy of self-doubt in her own “spying skills” and her only companion becomes her own words. Towards the end of the movie Harriet’s wise nanny tells her, to make things right, she must do two things: apologize and lie. She eventually becomes editor of the middle school newspaper and uses her writing skills for public reading.
When I was younger, I wrote in a private journal but was afraid to read any of those written thoughts aloud for fear of being laughed at, insulting someone, sounding whiny or overdramatic, having my inner-thoughts questioned, and basically anything else that involved people’s opinions of me. Like Harriet, I scribbled in my journal but, like Harriet, I would be thrown into a frenzy had it ever been read by my classmates.
My favorite thing to photography, record, writing about, or document in any way is people. I want to be as honest as I can in my writing, but my biggest fear is offending someone. You can see how impossible it is to do one without at least somewhat sacrificing the other. This is especially difficult when it seems that people get offended so easily. I rarely have anything bad to say or even think about anyone but sometimes a photograph of or quote from someone that I think is stunningly beautiful would make the subject utterly embarrassed if I were to publish it.
This makes me so sad, because they cannot see the beauty within themselves that I see, and I want so badly to show them in my writing or photography, but they refuse. It’s frustrating, but ever since I saw Harriet the Spy, probably before I could even read chapter books, I learned a valuable lesson about being a writer.
I learned that that is part of being a writer. Sometimes, you will offend people. But you have to apologize and lie, in order to be ultimately honest.
And so, if I ever write about you in my blog or anything at all, please know that it simply means I am fascinated by you and take it as a compliment. In fact, if there was ever anyone I didn’t care for, I’d have no desire to write about them.