In a comment on my previous post, Marcheline http://www.blogger.com/profile/11201825708442679157
(oh, must write down how to do that linky thing) said that she thought that a picture is worth a thousand words.
I don't really agree. Yes, there are some things that are better seen than described. A rose, for example. A baby. A house, maybe, especially if one's planning to buy it. But not a person, definitely not a person.
We have photos of various ancestors - great-grandparents and the odd great-great grandparent. And it's lovely and interesting and intriguing to have them. But they don't really tell us much. I'd so much rather have their words. Words give a far better impression of the person, don't you think? I have only one piece of writing from my father's father - who died a few months before I was born. It's a letter that he sent to my grandmother, his future wife, saying that he hoped to see her again. I have not a scrap of writing from that grandmother. I have two plates from her wedding china but that's it. (And quite a lot of her genes, I suppose. I look a bit like her.) I do have a few letters written to me by my other grandparents and they give at least a flavour of their personalities.
But I feel I know a lot about Samuel Pepys and Anne Frank and Nella Last and Virginia Woolf and lots of other people whose diaries I've read, and about Philip Larkin and Noel Coward and all the Mitford sisters and Joyce Grenfell and lots of other people whose letters I've read.
And then there are blogs, of course. Our children and grandchildren, if the blogs survive, will know a huge amount about us and our lives. And what an archive for historians - if our journals don't disappear when we do, or shortly thereafter.
What do you think? Words or pictures? If you could only have one of them?