A poem pleading for the right to journal privately – at whatever age

My response to recent reports that a mother shared her five-year-old daughter’s journal online (fearing that she was sharing sad thoughts with paper, rather than her mother) is this:

My diary was always mine, unless spying eyes stole

my secret-est thoughts from the heart,

or spied my flaws, my dreams, my holes.

 I always write to heal, never to share or flaunt

my shadow stuff that’s too far too delicate

to bring to public taunt.

I’ve written daily words from at least the age of nine

from the clothes of Charlie’s Angels

to the depths of Freud and Klein.

So spying on a little girl’s words leaves me frozen with self-doubt.

I can only think of one grown person

whose probing left my craft in drought.

So as I tense for the critic, hoping for the praise

that moment of potential brilliance

gets lost in a fearful malaise.

So, mothers, for creativity’s sake, don’t censor your girl’s every move.

Leave her to find her voice,

through pen and page her groove.

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