Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Susan Sontag's Journals--no, they're not children's lit

I really want Becca's take on Susan Sontag's journals, since she knows so much more than I do about journals and diaries and other forms of life-writing. But what really intrigued me about the journal excerpts reprinted in yesterday's New York Times was the sense that she knew she was not recording a life, but inventing a self. That her writing gave her a space in which to experiment with identity, and that the identity was not something that pre-existed the writing.

In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.

The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather — in many cases — offers an alternative to it.

I have to get back to work thinking about The Princess & the Goblin right now, but I want to remember Sontag when I look again at Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, one of the novels I'm (supposed to be) writing about this fall.

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