Thursday, 28 February 2013

Diary Writing

Feeling very nostalgic today. Think its because I have been reading a friend's blog on how she has set about writing her first novel based on her grandmother's journey from India to start a new life in England. My friend (Jane) is blogging about the whole process of writing the book, how she has gathered her research and what inspires her to write. She has also invited other guest writers to be interviewed on how they go about their writing too. One guest writer (Dean) talks about how he is  keen on keeping diaries and this got me thinking about all the diaries I have stashed in my attic from my teenage years. I would religiously set out in January down to WH Smiths or Woolworths to purchase the nicest diary my meagre pocket money would buy. I didnt write in it every day and looking back over the entries made me realise how simplistic life was back then. The months of the summer holidays were filled with entries such as "got up (obviously) went round to Janes, listened to Genesis, Stevie Wonder or Pink Floyd and played a game of Mousetrap". Sometimes we donned our afghan coats, sprayed on the petouli oil and headed off to Boots corner to loiter with friends, flirt with boys and possibly even buy something. Holidays were taken up with caravanning and camping, which even today makes up some of my favourite childhood memories. Other memories came flooding back to me whilst reading the diaries, some very poignant and sad like the passing of my dear old Grandad who we all adored.

My diaries are filled with school mementoes too, things that happened whilst in the confines of the classroom - gossip about who was dating whom, who had "done it" and what everyone was wearing to the next youth club or school disco. I would note who I fancied that week, had he looked at me or talked to me or asked me out? Only problem now is the diaries have their own code, thought up by me at the time, but damned if I can understand them years later. This coding was totally necessary  because with 3 sisters and 1 brother nothing remained secret in our house for long. So who the heck is DL? Probably the love of my life at the time but now just an entry written in a diary 30 years ago. What happened to him, wonder if I can find out from Facebook, Friends Reunited, Linkedin or any of the other myriads of social networking.

I admire Dean for the upkeep of his diaries, I wish I had. Especially when my two children were small but who has the time when you have little ones running around? And to be honest, is it good to detail what has happened during the day, on the negative side it might make you feel how regulated, and dull your life might be? Who can honestly say they go from day to day experiencing wonderful exciting events, meeting famous people, jetting around on planes and fulfilling their life's dreams? Or is a case of "got up, fed the kids, took them to school, went to work, picked up kids, fed the kids, put them to bed?"

I think the secret to keeping a good diary is to note things you see not necessarily what you did, perhaps even how you felt at the time rather than what you were doing at the time. That way I think it is truly a cathartic experience, off-loading any stresses, strains and problem solving an issue in your life. And lets me honest they are a brilliant snap-shot of a particular time within your own personal history.

I think Dean summed it up brilliant "Writing a diary is therapeutic. It helps me dissect my worries and challenges and reach an objective conclusion. I always feel better. I feel very proud to have created such a large volume. I love looking back at them"

Here here!
PS unfortunately the only diary I keep now, is to detail when guests are arriving, but after 6 years of running a guest house, I now also have a snapshot of how and who made up my business, I'm sure when I'm in my 80's I'll look back on them and try and put faces to all those names!

If you would like to read Jane's blog check it out here http://janespentopaper.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/my-first-guest-writer-dean-drew-reveals-why-he-writes/

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