Saturday, January 27, 2007

Anne Frank: The first blogger?

Hello, Kitty!

No, I’m not talking about Hello Kitty, I’m talking about the way Anne Frank used to begin each entry in her famous diary. (She actually wrote “Dear Kitty”) The diary is deservedly a classic as well as an important historical document. As I heard the news the other day that some letters from Anne’s father were going to be released, I thought about Anne and the horrible book report I gave in Jr. High School. But I also realized that in some ways, years before the Internet, Anne was the first blogger.

Think about it. Why did Anne write the diary? I don’t think she ever showed it to her family. I don’t think she planned on releasing it to the world after the war. Basically, I think she wrote it for two people - herself and Kitty. Who is Kitty? I can’t answer that question for Anne, but as far as you and I are concerned, Kitty is you and I. Kitty is the “secret reader” of the diary. Kitty is the person who wasn’t there in the flesh, but in the spirit. Kitty was any person who might read the diary.

Anne Frank was a girl who had many dreams. Kitty was the dream that someone would read the diary someday. And boy, did we ever. A worldwide best-seller, the diary has been made into a play and a few movies. (FYI: Natalie Portman played Anne in a production of the play!)

Just as an aside, while there are many fine films about Anne, many of them focus more on the horrors of the war than on Anne herself. It’s sometimes so easy to forget that she was a relatively normal girl going through many of the same problems growing up that we all do. She just happened to be in a horrible situation. Considering the way she was forced to live, it’s inspiring that her feelings were as normal as they seemed to be.

At the very beginning of the diary, Anne Frank writes a message to her new friend Kitty. It is a moving message for you and I as we begin to look at life in the eyes of a young woman in hiding:

I hope I shall be able to confide in you completely, as I never have been able to anyone before, and I that you will be a great support and comfort to me.

Okay, stay with me here. . .

Why do we blog? Let’s face it, I don’t have millions of people reading this stuff. I’m not getting paid. So why do I do it? I think I do it for two people - myself and Kitty. Although this blog is not written like a diary, it contains things that I think about and that are small parts of my life.

When you read my blog, you get a tiny glimpse into what I’m thinking about, even if it’s not my “main focus” all the time. I am sharing things with you just like Anne did, in the secret hope that as you read, you might be able to learn about who I am.

One of the reasons that I put off creating a web page for so long was that I could never find one complete subject that satisfied me. For example, I like the muppets, but I didn’t want to do a web page with only the muppets. I don’t think about the muppets 24 hours a day! It’s the same thing with all those other subjects in the links section. None of them are completely “me.” The blog allows me to touch on many different things I enjoy, not just one subject all the time. That keeps it fresh and fun (for me, anyway).

No work of art can ever completely capture the life of another person. Art doesn’t work that way. When we read Anne’s diary, we get a peek into her heart, but that’s it. It’s the same with any writer or artist. Likewise, our blogs provide a peek into our hearts, and that’s all. But what a sight.

I seriously doubt that anything written in this blog will ever be as good as Anne’s diary, or made into a play or a movie. (I follow the advice of my friend Forrest Gump: “Don’t ever let them make a movie of your life!”) But what is here is some fun, and hopefully some stuff that will help you. I know it helps me. Thanks again for reading.


ANOTHER BOOK BY ANNE FRANK: Did you know that Anne Frank wrote another book, and that in some ways it’s better than her diary? No, I’m not kidding! It is a collection of stories she wrote called “Tales from the Secret Annex,” and it is a fabulous collection of her fiction and fantasy. It gives a peek into Anne’s heart that the diary doesn’t always do. Some of her stories remind me of the style of “The Little Prince.” It’s short and sweet and worth a read!

FLYING FOR ME: It was about this time in 1986 that the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in a terrible accident. We lost seven crew members, and we almost lost two celebrities who came close to being on that flight! Read all about it in my archives at this link: