Sur son blogue, Beth offre une réflexion très intéressante sur l’écriture du journal intime. En référence à Thomas Merton, elle dit :
He had left the academic world of New York in order to seek God and some sort of personal overhaul. He was aiming at authenticity, transparency, honesty, directness, egolessness… and yet he learned how the very act of writing — which he couldn’t help, couldn’t give up completely — became a trap for the ego. He talks about it a lot. This was his huge struggle: the need to say what he saw and felt out of the depths of his contemplative experience, to communicate it to others, and to try to make a difference in a broken world, but how writing can become performance that addictively seeks something else entirely: admiration, praise, fame.
Ça m’a fait penser à un texte de l’autrice Helen Garner que j’ai lu récemment dans The Guardian. Elle raconte l’expérience pénible de replonger dans ses vieux journaux intimes :
A few years ago I had a huge bonfire in my backyard and burned all my diaries up to the point where Yellow Notebook begins. I did this because when I went through the cartons of exercise books one day, looking for what I’d written around the time of the dramatic dismissal of the Whitlam government, I found to my astonishment that I hadn’t even mentioned it. That day, crouching over the crates in the laundry, I was soon so bored with my younger self and her droning sentimental concerns that there was nothing for it – this shit had to go.
Elle a quand même fini par y trouver du matériel qui avait une certaine valeur de partage, mais le travail d’édition des écrits en question n’a pas été facile. Je n’ai pas (encore) lu le résultat publié, mais les réflexions qu’elle tire de ce travail sont d’une pertinence cinglante :
And of course I soon found myself, day after day, strapped into the straitjacket that is the very nature of a diary: it’s got a voice, it’s entirely composed of voice, but it has no voiceover. It exists in an eternal present.
Inspirée par le blogue de Karl que je retrouve avec grand plaisir ces jours-ci, et stimulée par le concept du 100 Days To Offload, il me reprend des envies de publier ici… J’aurais cependant envie d’une publication à l’accès plus limité qu’à l’époque de l’âge d’or des blogues. J’ai envie de retrouver plusieurs d’entre vous, mais sans pour autant m’ouvrir « au monde ». Vous comprenez ce que je veux dire? Illusoire? Une newsletter serait plus appropriée?
Pardonnez-moi. Je réfléchis tout haut. La pandémie nous fait faire de bien drôles de choses.
I met Beth before I started reading her blog, at a time when I was very involved in a Montreal blogging community. There were about twenty of us meeting in a bar on a monthly basis. Beth and Jon showed up one night and my partner and I ended up talking with them for a good part of the evening. I found them open, curious and easy to talk to. She and Jon had not yet moved to Montreal full time but after I went home and read her blog, I really hoped that we would share the same city one day.
We did more than that: we became friends, the kind that actually hang out with each other in person. I have met a lot of people through blogging and Iâ€™m often surprised by how different people are from the presence they project through their own writing. Not Beth! Sheâ€™s as warm, calm and thoughtful as her words are.
Over the years, The Cassandra Pages have been â€œun moment de pauseâ€ for me, a way to stop time for a minute and take a second look at things that are familiar to me (the city of Montreal) or things Iâ€™m less at ease with (poetry, religion, in-lawsâ€¦)
I always feel better about the world after I read Bethâ€™s blog, even when the subject of her post is dark or sad. But best of all, after every visit, I leave The Cassandra pages with a deep desire to write. What an inspiration she can be! Of course, this feeling is immediately followed by nervousness: how could I possibly express moments, feelings, beauty, places and people as well and as steadily as she does?
Itâ€™s a silly thought, of course. Blogging is not a competitive sport. Itâ€™s about giving a platform to a great variety of voices that would not otherwise be heard. In the last few years, the blogosphere has lost quite a bit of steam (my 11 year-old blog included) and it can get pretty noisy. Through all that noise, 10 years later, The Cassandra Pages remain an oasis of calm and a place to reflect on things that matter. â€œLongue vieâ€ to Bethâ€™s blog and long live our friendship!