Sunday Scribblings: Dear Diary

I don’t remember my first diary. I remember having one that was red and had sort of a smooshy fake-leather cover and gilt-edged pages and a lock with an impossibly tiny key, but I don’t know if that was actually the first.

I do know that until I started blogging, I was the world’s worst diarist. I’d start them, write a few pages, and then end up doodling in them, or writing short stories. I didn’t write down my deepest secrets because I didn’t really HAVE that many secrets. I mean, even when I was little, “Dear Diary, I had an extra cookie at lunch today, and Brad Gillespie is kind of cute,” seemed like a stupid thing to write down.

I have strong memories of reading about journals and diaries. Probably the most famous was Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl – which I devoured. Looking back, I think part of what made it so special is that Anne treated Kitty (the diary) as if she was a person, not just a book full of empty pages.

I have never named a diary.
But I did once write a series of letters to Pavel Chekov (the character) from TOS, as if time travel was possible and we’d met. Hey, I was eleven. We all do stupid things when we’re eleven. At least mine were just pages in a book, and not actual, you know, LETTERS. (Of course, now if I did such a thing, I’d call it fanfic and there’d be no embarrassment.)

I like pen and ink, and there are times when in order to get a passage “right” I have to actually write it, but I don’t generally use a journal for stuff like that. I use a moleskine, or I use a plain old spiral notebook. I really like those. Especially when they have green lines and are college ruled.

I still don’t keep a diary as a diary. I have this amazing book that a friend gave me, and I don’t use it as a diary, but as one of my “magic notebooks” – part commonplace, part collection of quotes, part fragments of stories, or notes. To me, a diary implies structure, and my notebooks have none. I lead a rather unordered life.

(Hey, that’d be a great domain name. Unordered Life DOT Com. Wonder if it’s available…)

See what I mean about distractions?

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Sunday Scribblings: Dear Diary by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

14 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings: Dear Diary

  1. Like you, my diary years were inconsistent…though I was a great letter writer and find that blogging is a good combination of both. My notebooks/journals are used the same way as you…..to capture words or phrases, ideas and thoughts for future use. I love to filter through my “unordered life” capture in my journal because it seems quite orderly to my left handed brain. :)
    I think your domain name idea is a great one!

    ps. Anne Frank and Kitty played a major role in my love of reading and my fascination for learning of other people’s stories.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this. I never liked hand writing. My penmanship is so atrocious, a week later, I can’t read what I’ve written. With my ADD I’d already lost the paper I’d written on anyway. Typewriters made my pages legible — but I still ‘lost’ them. However, I did write for years, starting in the 8th grade with first lyrics for my numerous R&B and rock bands over the years. Nearly all of that is lost now. My first computer, in the 1980’s, marked the beginning of serious archiving of my written work.

  3. ah,,, anne frank,, i feel sorry for the little girl that has not been fully immersed in all that is anne frank… a jewel of childhood no doubt…..

  4. I love letter writing. I’ve recently ‘acquired’ two sets of lets I wrote to the same person at two very important times in my life. It was fascinating reading through them once again 20 years later.

    Paul

  5. I always carry a small journal with me. That way I jot down any thoughts which flit in my mind.

    Snatches of ideas, a poem or anything…

  6. When I was eleven my best friend and I sat side by side and wrote our own TOS adventures together during the early 70s. We “communicated” with the characters, too!

    My diary has no structure whatsoever — I throw everything in there…

  7. These days I also keep a magic notebook. I love the way that the less than orderly details of my life are kept within those pages.

  8. I am craving writing in a pen and ink journal now and have a moleskin but don’t know how to structure it, I guess. Maybe I’ll take your example and embrace the unstructured notebook. It has worked for me in the past.

  9. Like the colors and fresh look of your blog. Makes one feel young and joyful! As for keeping diaries, well this is the first time for me keeping a diary at Olsum’s Diary! Mm…not familiar with Anne Frank. Anyway, thanks for dropping by at Olsum’s Diary!

  10. I was never very good at keeping a diary either. I like blogging much better. The “public” aspect of it keeps me accountable.

    PS I just read today that the famous horse chestnut tree that Anne used to look at out the window is diseased and needs to be cut down, but a sapling grafted from it is going to be replanted on the same spot.

  11. I tried keeping a journal in high school and college. My handwriting is horrid, but I still liked the feel of a pen in my hand as it touched paper. I am also a deeply flawed perfectionist, as I would cross out every other line, or start a sentence over again until I thought I got it right. Thank goodness for computers.

  12. I agree with your comments on the physical act of writing. I prefer the scratchy sound of a lead pencil frantically scrawling upon a wad of paper.

  13. I don’t have the patience for hand writing…my hand can’t write fast enough for the streaming thoughts in my head! That’s why I always tend to type my thoughts on the computer. I envy people who are patient enough to sit and slowly express their thoughts with paper and a pen!

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