Being Seen and the Value of Journaling

I’ve been writing all morning. Things I don’t want to put into the world. But I need to get the words out.

In No Exit, Estelle says that when she can’t see herself, she wonders if she really exists.

It’s not a flattering comparison on any level, I suppose. Not in the context of Sartre’s intentions – at least not in the context of traditional interpretations of the character.

But I can only examine the validity of my thoughts when I dare to make room for a sort of reflection.

Inez tells Estelle to see herself reflected in Inez’s eyes: “I’m so tiny.”

There is an assumption that Estelle uses the mirror to make conscious adjustments to what she thinks other people see.

But what if what she sees is both the “ugly” truth that keeps her grounded and strong, and the acceptable facade: a kind of complexity of existence that requires reflection – a large-scale, unobstructed reflection.

Estelle is diminished without the mirror.

I find it odd that so many approach No Exit with a collective sense of morality that Sartre himself rejected. If Sartre can get behind Stalin’s choices, surely he can get behind Estelle’s?

Maybe Garcon and Estelle are in Hell only because Inez convinces them of it. “I’m watching you,” she tells Garcon when he decides to have sex with Estelle.

Yeah, that’s a problem for him now? It wasn’t before.

How bourgeois.

A collective sense of morality exists in Hell.

Inez is the torturer after all.

Funny how, once a character is on the page, the author loses control.

Sometimes I stumble on my own writing – an old poem, or a bit of a journal entry – and it is completely foreign to me.

I wrote a draft of a novel once.
And realized that I am a poet: fragmented.


All these truths that rise and dive beneath the surface like sharks.







One Reply to “Being Seen and the Value of Journaling”

  1. I read my old journal entries as if observing a separate person from another life. Bardo experience comes alive in each reflection of my journal read from a new shore. My journal keeps me both sane and insane. I appreciated this post of yours as a slice of shared understanding.


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