Here is your weekly dose of my grandmother, Beatrice Allen Page’s, unpublished manuscript Landscape with Figures. This one is the one that made me decide to start posting the manuscript on my blog. You’ll see why when you get to the end:
One doesn’t keep a journal, I’ve discovered, just to save (and savor) moments of delight in the landscape, as I recently wrote. There is an impulse to write down anything that teases the mind, be it something seen, some occurrence, or some thought or insight which may have no importance in itself but is personally significant. Or if you feel like it, you can reminisce, complain, speculate, admonish and advise yourself or find fault with other people. And all with the reassuring thought which I have found stated in published journals, that ‘this is for my eyes only.’
Well, if it’s for the writer’s eyes along, why does he have to tell himself that fact? Actually, the phrase is a sneaky way of putting a possible reader off guard. One can reveal one’s bleeding heart without seeming to ask for sympathy, or make some casual reference to one’s achievements without seeming to boast, or express a malicious comment about somebody without seeming to be a slanderer – just by those tricky words, ‘for my eyes alone.’
The truth, I guess, is one doesn’t really want to talk to oneself; one wants to communicate. One wants a listener or a reader and privately hopes for one. I suppose I rather like the idea of these pages, yellowed with time, turning up via some devious route a hundred years from now in the hands of someone who will cherish them. It will be a young man, no doubt, somewhere in his late twenties; good looking, of course; intelligent, perceptive, virile; who eyes will light up with admiration and yearning as he visualizes the writer of the old manuscript in his hands. He will not think of me as old, naturally, but as a maturely fascinating woman still young at heart, and body too, despite the crow’s feet and a slight degree of thickening around the midriff. In other words, I am apparently envisioning a posthumous love affair. Does a woman ever give up her daydreams of romantic love, I wonder?
Even though I don’t seriously hope for that specific type of reader, I realize that secretly I harbor a wish for a reader or readers somewhere, sometime. I want to share my experiences, no matter how trivial, to tell someone: once when I was spending the summer at Stoneleigh…or that winter in New York…or wherever and whatever…”