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Ethically Yours

Part of: Literati

I am reprinting some of my faves from my old journal...

Ethically Yours

*Edit: I said Judith Thurman wrote this biography, but that's not true. I have also been reading Thurman's Collette bio. I have been having difficulties getting through the book because it's very academically written.

I am currently reading the biography of poet Edna St.Vincent Millay. The biography is really enjoyable. I?d also like to read the biographer's book on Zelda Fitzgerald. The writer of these books, Nancy Milford, lucked out with both of her subjects. She found family members of each one who had boxes and boxes of juicy information.

Is it ethical to publish this information without the writer's consent? I wouldn't want anyone publishing my personal letters and journals after I was deceased. This idea is the equivalent of having the naked in the office, etc. dream. Is it abhorrent that I feel this way yet continue to read these sorts of biographies? Am I despicable for wanting to read all of JD Salinger's writing that he?s been hoarding all these years? I'm sure when he dies; someone will want to cash in. What about when authors like VC Andrews die and there are a slew of books published posthumously? Is this fair? I would want to give permission for my books to be ghost written.

Sitting on my dresser are Kurt Cobain's journals. Kurt Cobain was known for not wanting his journals published. For a long time I wasn't going to read them, but I relented. My desire to know won out. People would probably argue that these people are public figures and that loss of privacy goes with this.

I have kept journals and correspondence for years. My mom probably threw away my old letters, but not without reading them first. I think about burning my journals now and then. I wouldn't mind if my blog entries were published. I write differently on here--much more coherently than in my paper journal.


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