M called me a documentarian in recent days

M called me a documentarian in recent days. That’s an identity I don’t think I would’ve wanted to accept/embrace in past years, but now, with an expansive idea of “documentarian,” I think that might be a useful way for me to think of who I am as a writer and what my writings are. I don’t spend a lot of time imagining things and writing them down. Instead, I’m writing down things that really happened (or so it seemed to me), things that I really think—so honesty matters (more than style, perhaps).

I don’t yet have some grand theory of Harper Lee. I wondered what she did with her life past To Kill. M said I’d have to read a biography of her before theorizing usefully. I don’t need to make claims about things I don’t know. I’m speculating about that. But I can post what I see, what my new photos are. (I’d considered posting some pics of their displays, but maybe don’t do that. Or maybe you can show those pics of the Lee house. We’ll see—but my point is (my point is always on the move, like a compass needle in a confused person’s hand. (Eh, that analogy is trying a little too hard.))

From journal of Weds., 29 June 2016, Journal 230, pages 428-30]

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