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Meet Me In Montauk or Somewhere In Between

clementine kruczynski

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d.
–Alexander Pope

In early 1999, while doing my best to cope with my impending divorce, I came across a tiny blurb in either Glamour or Self about a new Web site starting up called the Open Diary. I’ve written about this before. The Open Diary was an online journal, the forerunner of blogs, and the first site to innovate the reader comment. I couldn’t wait for launch day.

Searching for Solitude, Flying Daphne

I’d kept diaries and journals for years, and the ease of an online journal held great promise. I dove deep and hard and wrote every day for weeks and months and years. The diary was anonymous and I changed its name often. In the beginning it was Searching for Solitude. Those of us who were the first to sign up for the Open Diary was the world’s first bloggers, and we enjoyed a vibrant online community.

Following the breakup of my first post-divorce relationship, I downloaded and deleted my diary and re-emerged with a new title, Flying Daphne. I took the name from Greek mythology. Daphne rejected the gods that pursued her, and she prayed to Earth or her father to rescue her, whereupon she was turned into a tree. In my version of the story, Daphne kept flying but rejecting love all the while.

Meet in Montauk

At one time, my diary, which was always anonymous, was accessible by the general public. But, the more specific my journal entries became, the more I thought of creating a private diary, which is what I eventually did. I allowed only two people access. Both were strangers, but I trusted them. One was Julia from New York and the other, someone I never knew with a diary subhead Meet Me in Montauk. My diary was raw and confessional, as were theirs.

In 2003, I remarried and my online journaling became sparse and random. Then I had two back-to-back pregnancies. I was very sick. I didn’t feel like writing. In 2007, I started this blog although my posts were infrequent. Then, in May 2008, I decided to quit my job. By July, I was posting via Blogger daily. Alas, I deleted my remaining open diary, but not before downloading it.

Today, I miss the Open Diary very much and recently received this email from Julia. She wrote: “I read your blog every now and then and am always left with a sense of a missing story, the one you would confess in the OD (Open Diary). The public version looks good, but I wish you still wrote the rest of the story. I miss that a lot.”

So many posts, so few stories.

I miss the days of online journaling before there were Google ads and Technorati scores; Alexa ranks and link-baiting. There are 10 million posts floating around the Blogosphere about how to make it big in blogging; how to drive traffic to your site; how to write posts people will want to stumble and Digg; how to get people to link to your site. So many posts, so few stories.

For me, Julia is more than just a woman in New York, a stranger, who heard my confessions. She is also my conscience. She is a faerie on my shoulder telling me not to cherry-pick the truth. She winces at my sterilized posts and my white-washed versions of reality. She read my diary for a long time, and the voice in this blog is not one she recognizes. This voice skips, but that voice was hunted, ran for its life. That voice is why writers become novelists and cloak experience in fiction. Otherwise, they’d be accused of being exhibitionists; turncoats; liars.


Finger Along the Spines

Somedays, I give up on blogging, but I never give up on writing. I am a writer who blogs, not a blogger who writes. I knock around my house sometimes, reading chapters from my favorite books. I run my index finger along the spines of the memoirs in my bookcase and I wonder how they did it: Simone de Beauvoir and Amy Tan; Elizabeth Kim and Janet Framme, even Jane Austen. Did they pay a price, and if so, was it worth it? And, the biggest question of all – will it be worth it for me?

I want to write again like I did when I was searching for solitude, flying through the air, brave and broken like Daphne. Will you recognize my voice if you stumble upon it in the sea of 7 million blogs? Will you forgive me if I stay put and tell the truth? Meet me in Montauk or digg me somewhere in between.

From Alexander Pope:
No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;
Rise alps between us! and whole oceans roll!
Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me…

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Daddy Forever

    I think a lot of people miss the days when people wrote their thoughts in private diaries. It’s not easy sharing every detail of life with the entire Internet.

  2. jenX

    @JANNIE FUNSTER – I am glad to connect with you, too. The grocery shopping post made me feel normal. Ha!

    I totally know what you mean about the next step up the mountain. I think I waste too much time thinking about it instead of just writing. I hope can distribute my focus better in the future, and of course, find courage.

    @CGHILL – Someone needs to do a story about you being the longest tenured blogger in Oklahoma. It has changed so much. You know, I use to do this weekly feature via email – in the mid 1990s. I called it the “Song of the Week.” I’d write about a song and email it to everyone I knew. I’m sure they thought I was a weirdo; probably still do. Do you think I care. Charles, you’re so talented. At the GNO the consensus was that you were one smart dude. Oh, and the modem days. I kind of miss that sound!

  3. CGHill

    About twenty seconds after we realize that we’ve put up a soapbox accessible to anybody anywhere, we start wondering where the limits are, how little we can say and still make a point, how much we can say and still not get it out of our system.

    I don’t know any more about those boundaries now than I did back in the Old Silurian times when I had a steam-powered modem. Sometimes I push them a little; sometimes they push me.

  4. jenX

    @TR – Thank you for your words of life. I’m lucky to know you, TR. I may vacate the premise with my coming posts. =0 Make me brave, not stupid, Lord.

    @LOREN – I do love a good poem. You’re pretty literary yourself – in fact, way more than me!!

  5. Loren Christie

    Very interesting post. Meet Me in Montauk…Could that mean Montauk Point on Long Island? That other reader may have also been from NY.
    I love how literary your posts are, the reference to mythology and A. Pope add so much meat to your writing. Yes, of course I will let you know when my old school Sesame Street comes and your in the contest for a HairZing.

  6. T.R.

    I don’t know how you do it. You have this amazing, graceful way to connect to your readers that is hard to explain. Sometimes it’s like you’re speaking for us, on our behalf, and that we’re the ones afraid to tell the whole story. Some days your story is our story. I hope you grow, blossom and bloom here. Those that enjoy the ride can hang on and those that don’t aren’t ready for the journey of an open heart anyway.

  7. YB

    What do you think about doing a photo montage of your sewerline repair. Gen X’ers are inheirting the homes of the long dead original owners in droves, and dealing with a sewerline repair (=EMERGENCY) in your family home.

    Take photos of your technician locating the problem, electronically. If he does a satisfactory job, you might include a photo of the company truck on your blog (& of course inform the plumbing company owner for props).

    What do you think? We could show how to do the repair YOURSELF for hundreds, not thousands.

    CALL ME!!!!!!!

    Do not publish this!

    APolgies for communicating in this manner.


  8. jenX

    @JIM SMITH- Thank you for sharing that. I really liked this line: “I tell you everything that’s really nothing, and nothing of what’s everything, of what’s crying within me.” This pome was written 1 year to the month before I was born. It is everyone woman and man we meet. Thank you…

    @OKLAHOMA GIRL – Thank you for accepting me. Your friendship is a gift I cherish. All your words are like a balm to the wound! That is amazing, and a gift you’ve been given, and you’re so free with it. We’re lucky in that way. =)

    @KEITH – Words like this mean so much when I wrestle with all that I could be saying, but don’t say. So, to achieve some transparency, when I feel like I’m hiding – thank you. And, I know you wouldn’t just say this to say it.

    @YOGI – I’ve always known there was great depth there. It comes through in subtle ways. Maybe we can’t hide at all? When I’m sitting at my computer and I laugh out loud, my husband says, “It must be TR or Yogi saying something funny!” You’re famous in our house!!! LOL!

  9. Yogi♪♪♪

    You are good, compelling, and intriguing writer, who blogs.

    I have kept a journal for 38 years. When I started blogging about a year ago I cut back the journaling about 95%. I’m getting back into more and more as time goes by.
    I enjoy the blogging but it shows just part of me, not the whole me. I need to write about the other parts.
    I’ve experimented with online journaling and I’ll continue to do so because of the handling of photographs. But I like my written journals which are now quite a pile.

  10. Keith


    I “feel” what you’re saying with this article. Do know that this blog is an excellent one and provides much inspiration. While you may not have been as open or “raw” with this blog as you were with your diary, you still write with a transparency that allows your heart to show through.

    Lance said it best “…wherever this leads you, I believe that if you’re listening to your heart – it’s the right place for you to be.”

    I echo those words. Follow your heart. 🙂

  11. jenX

    @B2DESIGN – Thank you. I really didn’t intend to create a chorus of support for a continued effort. I hope I didn’t milk that. =/ Still, it’s good to know that my voice resonates as genuine with some, even if I feel like I’m holding back all the time, avoiding the raw confession that requires sacrifice – of pride, association, opportunity, relationship.

  12. jenX

    @LOFOLULU – Thank you so much for the feedback. I really appreciate it. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, I encourage you to do so. I love your tweets – micro-blogging style! Blogging is so much fun, even when I can’t tell the whole story.

  13. jenX

    @LANCE – I appreciate your support so much. Everytime I see your comment and pic, I think, “he’s still reading my blog!”

    I am honest here, but the raw confession is absent, and I suppose it’s true for most of us? I wonder how the world’s great diarists endured full disclosure, and I wonder if I can still write someting worth reading when the greater whole of my life experiences go completely unmentioned. I do keep a private journal, but sometimes, I wish I could take those entries public.

    Thank you for your encouragement. I really liked what you said about Montauk.

  14. Oklahoma Girl

    WOW!! Yours is always such a true, pure voice. Beautifully written w/heart-felt honesty. You posts are always thought provoking & so real. Whether you write about daily life, your beliefs, a headline, your passion, or your doubts your voice comes through with such clarity, honesty, understanding, depth, & graciousness. YOU shine!!! I am humbled & inspired.

    Well done, dear girl!! Absolutely award winning. I am so very proud of you!

    blessed be…

  15. Jim Smith

    I really love this post. You speak for a lot of us.

    There’s a poem I use whenever I teach interpersonal that was brought to mind when I read the post. I thought you might enjoy it:

  16. B2design

    I enjoy your voice here very much, Jen. I can’t imagine the time and energy it must take to keep this up-to-date.

    If you’re looking to go deeper in your posts, though, I agree with Lance… Do what feels right inside. I sure would hate to miss hearing what you have to say, though.

  17. lofolulu

    Thanks for the honesty you have allowed us to read. As far as your “open diary,” it takes courage to open the windows to permitt passersby a deeper view inside your life.

    Whatever your choice, know the reader relates well to your writing style. You hit the nail on the head for me. I have never truly blogged for I haven’t decided how much of myself to expose to ink… Perhaps soon.

  18. Lance

    This writing today…it has that feeling of a glimpse of what “meeting in Montauk” might have looked like. I, for one, find much I connect with here. And I think there’s something about feeling connected to writing that can be a very strong draw.

    So, wherever this leads you, I believe that if you’re listening to your heart – it’s the right place for you to be. And that’s whether we find “Montauk” here, or it becomes anonymous somewhere else, or if this all just stays the same…

    Will I recognize your voice? I don’t know. If it’s real – this voice – then it is so worth hearing – wherever that’s at… More importantly, though, is what letting that voice out – what it gives you…

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