Wednesday, 19 August 2015

On My Diaries and Their Writer

I used to keep diaries in middle and high school. It never lasted long; I would try to make it a daily habit before I fell asleep, but I'd always forget, fall behind, wake up one morning and suddenly realize I hadn't written in my diary in months. And then I'd feel compelled to catch my journal up on everything that had happened since then, no matter how much time had passed. And then I'd get self-conscious; what did I think I was doing, writing a novel? No one wants that much detail! And after a few months of this I'd put the diary away on a shelf and never look at it again.

Sometimes I'd find them while I was cleaning my room. Sometimes I'd read them--the old one with Harry Potter on the cover, the little one with rough pulpy pages and wooden covers that smelled nice, the one I'd taken on all my summer vacations since I'd learned to write. And I would cringe. Why was past me so excited about this crush that didn't work out, that summer camp where no one liked her? I knew how those things ended, and I didn't want to be reminded. Why did she write these things down, in such dramatic language, as if every argument with her sister or her mother was the end of the world?

To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, she wrote because it mattered. These are the things that mattered to her. And as much as I would like to distance myself from the misapprehensions and faux pas of my childhood, I'm now in graduate school and starting a new blog about the things that matter to me rather than even look at the one I tried writing as an undergrad. It had about the same success rate as any of my diaries. Maybe I'll be better at keeping up with this one.

Or maybe I'll end up like this guy. (Image from

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