In a recent post about Noteworthy Rock Musicians and their Journals, I included Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain’s uncensored and posthumously published Journals without having ever been a fan of the band, and ultimately knowing very little about Cobain.
(What did his fans think about his journals being published? “Its release polarized fans, some of whom felt it constituted an invasion of Cobain’s privacy, and others of whom saw it as a unique opportunity to better understand him.” – Wikipedia)
In the recent HBO Documentary Montage of Heck, Cobain’s journals were brought to life in an energetic animated process- one that kept me riveted to the screen. Something else that piqued my interest in this movie was learning that Nirvana hated giving interviews. If a microphone was pointed in his direction, Kurt would drop his head and yell through the shaggy mop of his dirty blonde hair, “It’s all in the music!”
If he didn’t want to give interviews, I wonder what he would have thought about the potential for his journals to be published? And speaking of, what would you think about YOUR journals being published after you were gone? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Here are how some of my friends answered the same question:
Kim: “I trust the people who are likely to find my journals to not publish anything whole cloth but rather to winnow….out of respect for me, but also, out of kindness for the potential reader– parts would be quite the boring read, out of context!
It took me a while, though, to read Willa Cather’s letters that were published a couple years ago. I wanted to read them…but it felt invasive…because I had read that she had not given permission for them to be published. Clearly I have dipped into them, so I got over the resistance…by consciously thanking her and explaining the context I was bringing to her body of work.”
Anonymous: I hope that someone is able to learn from my tale. And I really really hope they were published without my name on them.
Susan: If my children found that useful I hope it would be a blessing for them. Maybe in death I could still give them something.
Anonymous: Oh, hell no!
Marlana Eck: I doubt it would matter. The text might resemble “Go Ask Alice.”
Beth Ann McFadden: I would be fine with it. I’m gone- I can’t be embarrassed by them.
Lizzie Jordon: Given that I am ‘gone’, I don’t imagine I’ll care in the way that I am thinking about it now. Most of the writings in my journals are raw and unpolished and isn’t that what journals are? In truth, most of what I work out in a journal I am willing to speak publicly, save perhaps the unbridled anger and judgement of those who left me speechless while in their company.
Zoe ZenGarden: Horrified! There’s a lot of heated emotion in there, stuff that I would never say out loud because it would be hurtful to others… I use the journals to help me work through the emotion, dig down below the surface, and resolve the old issues that are usually the real problem. My journals are kind of like my therapy sessions, and very private.
Mandy van Goeije: If I donate my journal to the national archive or if my children do, then I will give full consent to any publication. The thing is, we all feel the same feelings, go through the same lessons in life. There’s lots of stuff in there that I’d find embarrassing if someone read that out loud to other people. But on the other hand it’s often the recognition we find in others that helps us, that sparks sources of creative thinking, solace and inspiration inside of us. So if my diaries would get that function, then I would be delighted.
4Ravens: Given that I intend to write my story, I don’t have a problem with them being published. What concerns me is if they were not read in the context that they were written. I guess this is partly the reason I would like to have control over how my story is told and if the journals are published.