Diaries and Journals

Anne here. Do you keep a diary or a journal? Journals

As a child, I regularly resolved each new year that this year I would keep one, but  every year my enthusiasm for the diary had more or less petered out by the end of January. Partly it was because I was too busy living my life — New Year in Australia is the beginning of the long summer holidays, which meant for me, many happy hours at the beach and no thoughts of writing. But also, I thought to do it properly, I had to write in it every day, so once I missed a day, a backlog immediately started to mount up. (Yes, the dark side of perfectionism was in evidence even then.)

The other thing was, I was never quite sure who I was writing it for. Was it for myself? And if so, why bother writing it all down? I had a memory for that, didn't I? (Remember, I was a child.) Or was I aiming to write something that would be of interest to future generations, like Samuel Pepys, or Anne Frank?Yes, the Anne Frank of my small country town, sitting in the box room, reflecting on my everyday world in a way that might be of interest to historians of the future. I knew quite a bit about dogs. What else?

It was a fairly daunting prospect — what did I have to say? How did I know what might be interesting? What sort of detail should I include?

RolypolyA friend of mine's grandfather kept a diary every day of his life for years. He never shared it, and for years the family speculated on what he noted in it so diligently every night at the kitchen table.

After his death they read it; it contained a detailed description of everything he ate— this kind of thing, for instance. "Breakfast, porridge, scorched through Ada's inattention. Dinner, mutton chops a little tough, beans, mashed potatoes, roly poly pudding and custard." Riveting stuff. Well, the roly poly pudding might be — it's yummy. Here's a pic on the left. 

 The only variation was Sunday, which included a tally of the numbers of people who attended the service, and bizarrely, the number of women wearing hats. I say bizarrely, because my own grandfather used to tell us how many hats there were in church as well. It's either a generational thing — a Grandfatherly Habit — or else a standard way of whiling away a boring service. 

Churchhats

Anyway, the diary was a huge disappointment to his grandchildren, who were hoping for something a bit more juicy than the Sunday roast. And hats.

So I wondered whether my diary should be something incredibly personal and meaningful to me. I remember when I was about thirteen starting a journal that was chock-full of teenage angst — heartfelt and dramatic outpourings of all sorts. After about three weeks it was such an embarrassing and incriminating document —what if someone read it? I'd simply die of agony!—that I had no alternative but to burn it. Destroy the evidence.

I don't really know why I persisted so long as a serial failed diarist. But I felt I ought to be able to do it. Other friends kept diaries from one end of the year to the next, so why couldn't I?

(I wish someone back then had suggested to me I write stories instead, but no-one ever did, and the idea — as far as I can remember— never occurred to me. Stories came from books or were told by old people about when they were young. I dreamed them up all the time, but they were just for me, and I never wrote them down. Or if I did, I've forgotten. Because we moved a lot, most of my things were thrown out — only Teddy and a few beloved books survived all the moves. Nothing so flimsy as a story on paper.)

Then in 2007, I listened to Eric Maisel speak at the NINC (Novelists Inc) conference, and he suggested it was A Very Good Thing for a writer to keep a writing diary, so they could look back on their process and reflect on it. That way you could a) understand your process better and b) improve it.  

MyjournalNow that was a purpose I could see the sense of, and so from then on I started keeping a journal. I don't write in it every day, just whenever I feel like it.

In this journal, I reflect on my writing — though rarely, I have to say, when it's going well. In fact there are some bits where I'm reminded of those teenage outpourings of angst. And often it's not about the writing but about various aspects of my life. But I'm talking to me, working things out, and not thinking of any audience other than myself. And the extraordinary thing to me is, is I've kept this journal, more or less continuously since March, 2007.

Has it helped me in the process of writing? I have to say it has. There are times when I'm in a dark place with the current book and I'm totally convinced it's never going to work, that I'll have to give the advance back and what was I ever doing, thinking I could make this idea work? Or even be a writer.

So I read back over some old entries, and I find parts where I've felt much the same for every book I've written since I started keeping the journal.  Ok, so this is part of my process. And I read over how I felt then, and what I did then, and I come away reassured that I can make this book work, that if I keep working and thinking, the solution will come to me. And though so many of the entries verge on teenage angst revisited, they end up reassuring me. In fact, I love my journals. But they're nothing I would ever share. Ever! Byronalbaniandress1813

And that thought got me thinking about the various diaries and letters that have been burned over the years — Byron's memoirs, burned after his death, and in opposition of his will, by his friend and publisher, John Murray, who presumably thought the public would be so scandalized by the memoirs that it would irretrievably damage Byron's reputation — and John Murray's sales. Byronfireplace
On the left is a painting of Byron in Albanian costume; on the right is a photo of John Murray's descendant, also called John Murray, standing in front of the fireplace where the memoirs were burned, over which hangs a portrait of Byron.

What the world lost that day.

And the letters of Jane Austen that her sister Cassandra burned and censored, and those her great-niece also destroyed. I'm ambivalent about those decisions — the reader and historian in me is appalled at the wanton destruction of those priceless letters. The person who keeps a very personal journal (see admission of embarrassing and incriminating outpourings of angst, above) heartily sympathizes with the protection of a person's privacy. 

As a writer, I love reading old diaries and journals and collections of letters. In fact when I started writing this, I was going to write about some I've used in the research for my books, but I'm looking down the barrel of a deadline and don't have the time to look up the references I want to quote from, so I'll save that topic for another day.

So, what about you — do you keep a journal or diary? If so, for how long?  And do you Count Hats, List Vegetables or something more interesting? And if not, are you a failed serial diarist like I was, or have you never been interested? What do you think of the burning of Byron's memoirs and Jane Austen's letters? Would it make a difference to you what the person's wishes were? Do you like reading other people's journals? Have you ever sneaked a peek at someone's diary? What happened?

180 thoughts on “Diaries and Journals”

  1. I’ve tried and failed to journal.. I have a hard time keeping a travel journal… But my mom had a diary when younger… until she caught her little brother selling the opportunity to read it to her beaus in the 30’s.. We found a joint diary from Mom & Dad’s return from the West Coast after the war, and their style remained consistant throughout their life… Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….

    Reply
  2. I’ve tried and failed to journal.. I have a hard time keeping a travel journal… But my mom had a diary when younger… until she caught her little brother selling the opportunity to read it to her beaus in the 30’s.. We found a joint diary from Mom & Dad’s return from the West Coast after the war, and their style remained consistant throughout their life… Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….

    Reply
  3. I’ve tried and failed to journal.. I have a hard time keeping a travel journal… But my mom had a diary when younger… until she caught her little brother selling the opportunity to read it to her beaus in the 30’s.. We found a joint diary from Mom & Dad’s return from the West Coast after the war, and their style remained consistant throughout their life… Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….

    Reply
  4. I’ve tried and failed to journal.. I have a hard time keeping a travel journal… But my mom had a diary when younger… until she caught her little brother selling the opportunity to read it to her beaus in the 30’s.. We found a joint diary from Mom & Dad’s return from the West Coast after the war, and their style remained consistant throughout their life… Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….

    Reply
  5. I’ve tried and failed to journal.. I have a hard time keeping a travel journal… But my mom had a diary when younger… until she caught her little brother selling the opportunity to read it to her beaus in the 30’s.. We found a joint diary from Mom & Dad’s return from the West Coast after the war, and their style remained consistant throughout their life… Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….

    Reply
  6. I was forced to keep one freshman year of college for a class. Huge mistake. All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy. I quit halfway through the semester after a talk with the professor. Not good for my mental health.

    Reply
  7. I was forced to keep one freshman year of college for a class. Huge mistake. All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy. I quit halfway through the semester after a talk with the professor. Not good for my mental health.

    Reply
  8. I was forced to keep one freshman year of college for a class. Huge mistake. All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy. I quit halfway through the semester after a talk with the professor. Not good for my mental health.

    Reply
  9. I was forced to keep one freshman year of college for a class. Huge mistake. All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy. I quit halfway through the semester after a talk with the professor. Not good for my mental health.

    Reply
  10. I was forced to keep one freshman year of college for a class. Huge mistake. All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy. I quit halfway through the semester after a talk with the professor. Not good for my mental health.

    Reply
  11. At my real job, I work in a historical genealogy research department. We get numerous journals and diaries donated. A lot of them are mundane, but every once in a while there is a real gem. I’ve had occasion to read an American civil war journal and letters. I loved the civil war journals, days and days of boredom, homesickness, then marching off to battle. The manner of writing was soooo different from ours today. Even when the spelling was wrong, the written words were so much fuller. Of course, there is also the fact that all of these things were at one time meant to be private and here I am looking into their lives.

    Reply
  12. At my real job, I work in a historical genealogy research department. We get numerous journals and diaries donated. A lot of them are mundane, but every once in a while there is a real gem. I’ve had occasion to read an American civil war journal and letters. I loved the civil war journals, days and days of boredom, homesickness, then marching off to battle. The manner of writing was soooo different from ours today. Even when the spelling was wrong, the written words were so much fuller. Of course, there is also the fact that all of these things were at one time meant to be private and here I am looking into their lives.

    Reply
  13. At my real job, I work in a historical genealogy research department. We get numerous journals and diaries donated. A lot of them are mundane, but every once in a while there is a real gem. I’ve had occasion to read an American civil war journal and letters. I loved the civil war journals, days and days of boredom, homesickness, then marching off to battle. The manner of writing was soooo different from ours today. Even when the spelling was wrong, the written words were so much fuller. Of course, there is also the fact that all of these things were at one time meant to be private and here I am looking into their lives.

    Reply
  14. At my real job, I work in a historical genealogy research department. We get numerous journals and diaries donated. A lot of them are mundane, but every once in a while there is a real gem. I’ve had occasion to read an American civil war journal and letters. I loved the civil war journals, days and days of boredom, homesickness, then marching off to battle. The manner of writing was soooo different from ours today. Even when the spelling was wrong, the written words were so much fuller. Of course, there is also the fact that all of these things were at one time meant to be private and here I am looking into their lives.

    Reply
  15. At my real job, I work in a historical genealogy research department. We get numerous journals and diaries donated. A lot of them are mundane, but every once in a while there is a real gem. I’ve had occasion to read an American civil war journal and letters. I loved the civil war journals, days and days of boredom, homesickness, then marching off to battle. The manner of writing was soooo different from ours today. Even when the spelling was wrong, the written words were so much fuller. Of course, there is also the fact that all of these things were at one time meant to be private and here I am looking into their lives.

    Reply
  16. I’ve never done well with daily entries in a diary, but I’ve had more success with single-purpose journals at different times in my life. A teaching journal when I taught a new text or tried a new method proved enormously helpful in letting me know what worked and what didn’t. Diet journals have made me more conscious of empty calories. And I begin a new reading journal each January in which I note titles and authors and my response to the books I read.
    I’m of two minds about burning diaries, journals, and letters. As a reader who has found fascinating the journals and letters of writers such as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, I’m sad that I’ll never be able to read Byron’s take on all the scandals or Austen’s thoughts, which based on the surviving letters must have been a delight. On the other hand, I understand the desire for privacy. Of course, some decisions to destroy journals and letters seem more self-serving on the part of family and literary executors than protective of privacy.

    Reply
  17. I’ve never done well with daily entries in a diary, but I’ve had more success with single-purpose journals at different times in my life. A teaching journal when I taught a new text or tried a new method proved enormously helpful in letting me know what worked and what didn’t. Diet journals have made me more conscious of empty calories. And I begin a new reading journal each January in which I note titles and authors and my response to the books I read.
    I’m of two minds about burning diaries, journals, and letters. As a reader who has found fascinating the journals and letters of writers such as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, I’m sad that I’ll never be able to read Byron’s take on all the scandals or Austen’s thoughts, which based on the surviving letters must have been a delight. On the other hand, I understand the desire for privacy. Of course, some decisions to destroy journals and letters seem more self-serving on the part of family and literary executors than protective of privacy.

    Reply
  18. I’ve never done well with daily entries in a diary, but I’ve had more success with single-purpose journals at different times in my life. A teaching journal when I taught a new text or tried a new method proved enormously helpful in letting me know what worked and what didn’t. Diet journals have made me more conscious of empty calories. And I begin a new reading journal each January in which I note titles and authors and my response to the books I read.
    I’m of two minds about burning diaries, journals, and letters. As a reader who has found fascinating the journals and letters of writers such as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, I’m sad that I’ll never be able to read Byron’s take on all the scandals or Austen’s thoughts, which based on the surviving letters must have been a delight. On the other hand, I understand the desire for privacy. Of course, some decisions to destroy journals and letters seem more self-serving on the part of family and literary executors than protective of privacy.

    Reply
  19. I’ve never done well with daily entries in a diary, but I’ve had more success with single-purpose journals at different times in my life. A teaching journal when I taught a new text or tried a new method proved enormously helpful in letting me know what worked and what didn’t. Diet journals have made me more conscious of empty calories. And I begin a new reading journal each January in which I note titles and authors and my response to the books I read.
    I’m of two minds about burning diaries, journals, and letters. As a reader who has found fascinating the journals and letters of writers such as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, I’m sad that I’ll never be able to read Byron’s take on all the scandals or Austen’s thoughts, which based on the surviving letters must have been a delight. On the other hand, I understand the desire for privacy. Of course, some decisions to destroy journals and letters seem more self-serving on the part of family and literary executors than protective of privacy.

    Reply
  20. I’ve never done well with daily entries in a diary, but I’ve had more success with single-purpose journals at different times in my life. A teaching journal when I taught a new text or tried a new method proved enormously helpful in letting me know what worked and what didn’t. Diet journals have made me more conscious of empty calories. And I begin a new reading journal each January in which I note titles and authors and my response to the books I read.
    I’m of two minds about burning diaries, journals, and letters. As a reader who has found fascinating the journals and letters of writers such as Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, I’m sad that I’ll never be able to read Byron’s take on all the scandals or Austen’s thoughts, which based on the surviving letters must have been a delight. On the other hand, I understand the desire for privacy. Of course, some decisions to destroy journals and letters seem more self-serving on the part of family and literary executors than protective of privacy.

    Reply
  21. I also fall in the perfectionist camp vis a vis journals. I have in the past kept one for a while, at various times when struggling with loneliness or depression and so on, but never as a regular habit.
    Speaking of regular, my great-grandfather kept a small journal… of the weather and his bowel movements.
    POSTERITY.
    Or posterior-ity?

    Reply
  22. I also fall in the perfectionist camp vis a vis journals. I have in the past kept one for a while, at various times when struggling with loneliness or depression and so on, but never as a regular habit.
    Speaking of regular, my great-grandfather kept a small journal… of the weather and his bowel movements.
    POSTERITY.
    Or posterior-ity?

    Reply
  23. I also fall in the perfectionist camp vis a vis journals. I have in the past kept one for a while, at various times when struggling with loneliness or depression and so on, but never as a regular habit.
    Speaking of regular, my great-grandfather kept a small journal… of the weather and his bowel movements.
    POSTERITY.
    Or posterior-ity?

    Reply
  24. I also fall in the perfectionist camp vis a vis journals. I have in the past kept one for a while, at various times when struggling with loneliness or depression and so on, but never as a regular habit.
    Speaking of regular, my great-grandfather kept a small journal… of the weather and his bowel movements.
    POSTERITY.
    Or posterior-ity?

    Reply
  25. I also fall in the perfectionist camp vis a vis journals. I have in the past kept one for a while, at various times when struggling with loneliness or depression and so on, but never as a regular habit.
    Speaking of regular, my great-grandfather kept a small journal… of the weather and his bowel movements.
    POSTERITY.
    Or posterior-ity?

    Reply
  26. Cate, I love this: “Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….”
    How lovely to have this as a little family treasure, seeing a little of your parent’s personalities emerge between the lines. Your dad was obviously a practical man. Interesting how many men like to record “factual” details and women more impressionistic ones.

    Reply
  27. Cate, I love this: “Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….”
    How lovely to have this as a little family treasure, seeing a little of your parent’s personalities emerge between the lines. Your dad was obviously a practical man. Interesting how many men like to record “factual” details and women more impressionistic ones.

    Reply
  28. Cate, I love this: “Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….”
    How lovely to have this as a little family treasure, seeing a little of your parent’s personalities emerge between the lines. Your dad was obviously a practical man. Interesting how many men like to record “factual” details and women more impressionistic ones.

    Reply
  29. Cate, I love this: “Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….”
    How lovely to have this as a little family treasure, seeing a little of your parent’s personalities emerge between the lines. Your dad was obviously a practical man. Interesting how many men like to record “factual” details and women more impressionistic ones.

    Reply
  30. Cate, I love this: “Mom wrote about the wonderful ‘views’ and shopping — Dad kept track of the gas, miles traveled and miles per gallon….”
    How lovely to have this as a little family treasure, seeing a little of your parent’s personalities emerge between the lines. Your dad was obviously a practical man. Interesting how many men like to record “factual” details and women more impressionistic ones.

    Reply
  31. Isobel, that’s awful. “All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy.”
    Clearly people have to want to keep a journal for it to be successful. Also, it depends on your purpose — in this case, being forced to keep one, it probably exacerbated your negative feelings, because you hadn’t chosen the purpose.
    When I taught adult literacy, I used to get the students to keep journals, but we used to write the entries together — I used to have the very beginners — and we’d write little stories about their weekend, or when they were young, etc, and when beginners read over their own stories, they could read more easily and predict the harder words, so it was fun. I hope.

    Reply
  32. Isobel, that’s awful. “All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy.”
    Clearly people have to want to keep a journal for it to be successful. Also, it depends on your purpose — in this case, being forced to keep one, it probably exacerbated your negative feelings, because you hadn’t chosen the purpose.
    When I taught adult literacy, I used to get the students to keep journals, but we used to write the entries together — I used to have the very beginners — and we’d write little stories about their weekend, or when they were young, etc, and when beginners read over their own stories, they could read more easily and predict the harder words, so it was fun. I hope.

    Reply
  33. Isobel, that’s awful. “All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy.”
    Clearly people have to want to keep a journal for it to be successful. Also, it depends on your purpose — in this case, being forced to keep one, it probably exacerbated your negative feelings, because you hadn’t chosen the purpose.
    When I taught adult literacy, I used to get the students to keep journals, but we used to write the entries together — I used to have the very beginners — and we’d write little stories about their weekend, or when they were young, etc, and when beginners read over their own stories, they could read more easily and predict the harder words, so it was fun. I hope.

    Reply
  34. Isobel, that’s awful. “All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy.”
    Clearly people have to want to keep a journal for it to be successful. Also, it depends on your purpose — in this case, being forced to keep one, it probably exacerbated your negative feelings, because you hadn’t chosen the purpose.
    When I taught adult literacy, I used to get the students to keep journals, but we used to write the entries together — I used to have the very beginners — and we’d write little stories about their weekend, or when they were young, etc, and when beginners read over their own stories, they could read more easily and predict the harder words, so it was fun. I hope.

    Reply
  35. Isobel, that’s awful. “All it did was make me nervy, obsessive, and unhappy.”
    Clearly people have to want to keep a journal for it to be successful. Also, it depends on your purpose — in this case, being forced to keep one, it probably exacerbated your negative feelings, because you hadn’t chosen the purpose.
    When I taught adult literacy, I used to get the students to keep journals, but we used to write the entries together — I used to have the very beginners — and we’d write little stories about their weekend, or when they were young, etc, and when beginners read over their own stories, they could read more easily and predict the harder words, so it was fun. I hope.

    Reply
  36. Kay, what a wonderful job to have. I love reading old journals and letters, though I read them on line, mostly, or in collections in books, rather than in the original. Those civil war ones would be so poignant to read.
    I’ve been able to find some wonderful detail in old journals that I’ve fed into my books. And yes, the language is, as you say, often much fuller. I love spelling mistakes in old documents, I have to admit. One of my uncles used to write to my aunt when he was away at war, before they were married, and he’d start each letter with, “My darling little angle. . .”

    Reply
  37. Kay, what a wonderful job to have. I love reading old journals and letters, though I read them on line, mostly, or in collections in books, rather than in the original. Those civil war ones would be so poignant to read.
    I’ve been able to find some wonderful detail in old journals that I’ve fed into my books. And yes, the language is, as you say, often much fuller. I love spelling mistakes in old documents, I have to admit. One of my uncles used to write to my aunt when he was away at war, before they were married, and he’d start each letter with, “My darling little angle. . .”

    Reply
  38. Kay, what a wonderful job to have. I love reading old journals and letters, though I read them on line, mostly, or in collections in books, rather than in the original. Those civil war ones would be so poignant to read.
    I’ve been able to find some wonderful detail in old journals that I’ve fed into my books. And yes, the language is, as you say, often much fuller. I love spelling mistakes in old documents, I have to admit. One of my uncles used to write to my aunt when he was away at war, before they were married, and he’d start each letter with, “My darling little angle. . .”

    Reply
  39. Kay, what a wonderful job to have. I love reading old journals and letters, though I read them on line, mostly, or in collections in books, rather than in the original. Those civil war ones would be so poignant to read.
    I’ve been able to find some wonderful detail in old journals that I’ve fed into my books. And yes, the language is, as you say, often much fuller. I love spelling mistakes in old documents, I have to admit. One of my uncles used to write to my aunt when he was away at war, before they were married, and he’d start each letter with, “My darling little angle. . .”

    Reply
  40. Kay, what a wonderful job to have. I love reading old journals and letters, though I read them on line, mostly, or in collections in books, rather than in the original. Those civil war ones would be so poignant to read.
    I’ve been able to find some wonderful detail in old journals that I’ve fed into my books. And yes, the language is, as you say, often much fuller. I love spelling mistakes in old documents, I have to admit. One of my uncles used to write to my aunt when he was away at war, before they were married, and he’d start each letter with, “My darling little angle. . .”

    Reply
  41. Janga, I wish, wish wish I’d kept a teaching journal, especially in my early days of teaching. A fascinating exercise in so many ways. And a reading journal, too has always impressed me in other people, though not enough to make me start one. Sometimes I look at books on my shelf and know I’ve read them, but have no recollection of what they were like until I glance inside them again. Mind you, that’s as good a recommendation as any, I suppose — if I can’t recall what the book was about, it’s probably not worth rereading.
    I too have loved reading extracts from writers’ diaries and letters — did you ever read Quentin Bell’s biography of Virginia Woolf? I loved it.
    And yes, always that ambivalence between invading someone’s privacy, and learning more about them. I think in both cases of Austen letters and the Byron memoirs, the destroyers were more self-serving than anything else. Byron actually wanted his published.

    Reply
  42. Janga, I wish, wish wish I’d kept a teaching journal, especially in my early days of teaching. A fascinating exercise in so many ways. And a reading journal, too has always impressed me in other people, though not enough to make me start one. Sometimes I look at books on my shelf and know I’ve read them, but have no recollection of what they were like until I glance inside them again. Mind you, that’s as good a recommendation as any, I suppose — if I can’t recall what the book was about, it’s probably not worth rereading.
    I too have loved reading extracts from writers’ diaries and letters — did you ever read Quentin Bell’s biography of Virginia Woolf? I loved it.
    And yes, always that ambivalence between invading someone’s privacy, and learning more about them. I think in both cases of Austen letters and the Byron memoirs, the destroyers were more self-serving than anything else. Byron actually wanted his published.

    Reply
  43. Janga, I wish, wish wish I’d kept a teaching journal, especially in my early days of teaching. A fascinating exercise in so many ways. And a reading journal, too has always impressed me in other people, though not enough to make me start one. Sometimes I look at books on my shelf and know I’ve read them, but have no recollection of what they were like until I glance inside them again. Mind you, that’s as good a recommendation as any, I suppose — if I can’t recall what the book was about, it’s probably not worth rereading.
    I too have loved reading extracts from writers’ diaries and letters — did you ever read Quentin Bell’s biography of Virginia Woolf? I loved it.
    And yes, always that ambivalence between invading someone’s privacy, and learning more about them. I think in both cases of Austen letters and the Byron memoirs, the destroyers were more self-serving than anything else. Byron actually wanted his published.

    Reply
  44. Janga, I wish, wish wish I’d kept a teaching journal, especially in my early days of teaching. A fascinating exercise in so many ways. And a reading journal, too has always impressed me in other people, though not enough to make me start one. Sometimes I look at books on my shelf and know I’ve read them, but have no recollection of what they were like until I glance inside them again. Mind you, that’s as good a recommendation as any, I suppose — if I can’t recall what the book was about, it’s probably not worth rereading.
    I too have loved reading extracts from writers’ diaries and letters — did you ever read Quentin Bell’s biography of Virginia Woolf? I loved it.
    And yes, always that ambivalence between invading someone’s privacy, and learning more about them. I think in both cases of Austen letters and the Byron memoirs, the destroyers were more self-serving than anything else. Byron actually wanted his published.

    Reply
  45. Janga, I wish, wish wish I’d kept a teaching journal, especially in my early days of teaching. A fascinating exercise in so many ways. And a reading journal, too has always impressed me in other people, though not enough to make me start one. Sometimes I look at books on my shelf and know I’ve read them, but have no recollection of what they were like until I glance inside them again. Mind you, that’s as good a recommendation as any, I suppose — if I can’t recall what the book was about, it’s probably not worth rereading.
    I too have loved reading extracts from writers’ diaries and letters — did you ever read Quentin Bell’s biography of Virginia Woolf? I loved it.
    And yes, always that ambivalence between invading someone’s privacy, and learning more about them. I think in both cases of Austen letters and the Byron memoirs, the destroyers were more self-serving than anything else. Byron actually wanted his published.

    Reply
  46. I’ve kept a personal journal on/off over the years since I was @16yrs old (when I wasn’t on my horse apparently). I thought I’d lost them, then found one many years later – and it mentions the start of my relationship with my exhusband. I was still married at the time and found it fascinating reading myself eight years earlier.
    When I went through my divorce I resumed writing to expel the pent up emotions (good, bad, ugly, excited) and found another volume – this one had a half-finished entry about my pregnancy. It was written literally hours before my son was born (no wonder it was interrupted).
    I have also, sporadically, kept a writing journal. It tends to be a very haphazard process.
    Over the years I gave up the “every” day/week/night/month type entry and rather, write when I feel the need to ‘download’ the busy-ness in my head/heart. I rarely go out without it as I never know when I have the urge to write strike.

    Reply
  47. I’ve kept a personal journal on/off over the years since I was @16yrs old (when I wasn’t on my horse apparently). I thought I’d lost them, then found one many years later – and it mentions the start of my relationship with my exhusband. I was still married at the time and found it fascinating reading myself eight years earlier.
    When I went through my divorce I resumed writing to expel the pent up emotions (good, bad, ugly, excited) and found another volume – this one had a half-finished entry about my pregnancy. It was written literally hours before my son was born (no wonder it was interrupted).
    I have also, sporadically, kept a writing journal. It tends to be a very haphazard process.
    Over the years I gave up the “every” day/week/night/month type entry and rather, write when I feel the need to ‘download’ the busy-ness in my head/heart. I rarely go out without it as I never know when I have the urge to write strike.

    Reply
  48. I’ve kept a personal journal on/off over the years since I was @16yrs old (when I wasn’t on my horse apparently). I thought I’d lost them, then found one many years later – and it mentions the start of my relationship with my exhusband. I was still married at the time and found it fascinating reading myself eight years earlier.
    When I went through my divorce I resumed writing to expel the pent up emotions (good, bad, ugly, excited) and found another volume – this one had a half-finished entry about my pregnancy. It was written literally hours before my son was born (no wonder it was interrupted).
    I have also, sporadically, kept a writing journal. It tends to be a very haphazard process.
    Over the years I gave up the “every” day/week/night/month type entry and rather, write when I feel the need to ‘download’ the busy-ness in my head/heart. I rarely go out without it as I never know when I have the urge to write strike.

    Reply
  49. I’ve kept a personal journal on/off over the years since I was @16yrs old (when I wasn’t on my horse apparently). I thought I’d lost them, then found one many years later – and it mentions the start of my relationship with my exhusband. I was still married at the time and found it fascinating reading myself eight years earlier.
    When I went through my divorce I resumed writing to expel the pent up emotions (good, bad, ugly, excited) and found another volume – this one had a half-finished entry about my pregnancy. It was written literally hours before my son was born (no wonder it was interrupted).
    I have also, sporadically, kept a writing journal. It tends to be a very haphazard process.
    Over the years I gave up the “every” day/week/night/month type entry and rather, write when I feel the need to ‘download’ the busy-ness in my head/heart. I rarely go out without it as I never know when I have the urge to write strike.

    Reply
  50. I’ve kept a personal journal on/off over the years since I was @16yrs old (when I wasn’t on my horse apparently). I thought I’d lost them, then found one many years later – and it mentions the start of my relationship with my exhusband. I was still married at the time and found it fascinating reading myself eight years earlier.
    When I went through my divorce I resumed writing to expel the pent up emotions (good, bad, ugly, excited) and found another volume – this one had a half-finished entry about my pregnancy. It was written literally hours before my son was born (no wonder it was interrupted).
    I have also, sporadically, kept a writing journal. It tends to be a very haphazard process.
    Over the years I gave up the “every” day/week/night/month type entry and rather, write when I feel the need to ‘download’ the busy-ness in my head/heart. I rarely go out without it as I never know when I have the urge to write strike.

    Reply
  51. Hi Anne!
    I kept a diary in my teen years, which was full of crushes, girls who were bitchy, awesome books I’d read and stuff I wanted to do when I was older. Yes, I still have it, buried in a box of memories. Maybe I should dig it up and post the best bits? LOL!
    In high school we were encouraged to write in a journal for English and I ended up with ‘this is soooo boring!’ and ‘here’s what happened in the news today’. Was so afraid of others getting ahold of it so I kept it clean 🙂

    Reply
  52. Hi Anne!
    I kept a diary in my teen years, which was full of crushes, girls who were bitchy, awesome books I’d read and stuff I wanted to do when I was older. Yes, I still have it, buried in a box of memories. Maybe I should dig it up and post the best bits? LOL!
    In high school we were encouraged to write in a journal for English and I ended up with ‘this is soooo boring!’ and ‘here’s what happened in the news today’. Was so afraid of others getting ahold of it so I kept it clean 🙂

    Reply
  53. Hi Anne!
    I kept a diary in my teen years, which was full of crushes, girls who were bitchy, awesome books I’d read and stuff I wanted to do when I was older. Yes, I still have it, buried in a box of memories. Maybe I should dig it up and post the best bits? LOL!
    In high school we were encouraged to write in a journal for English and I ended up with ‘this is soooo boring!’ and ‘here’s what happened in the news today’. Was so afraid of others getting ahold of it so I kept it clean 🙂

    Reply
  54. Hi Anne!
    I kept a diary in my teen years, which was full of crushes, girls who were bitchy, awesome books I’d read and stuff I wanted to do when I was older. Yes, I still have it, buried in a box of memories. Maybe I should dig it up and post the best bits? LOL!
    In high school we were encouraged to write in a journal for English and I ended up with ‘this is soooo boring!’ and ‘here’s what happened in the news today’. Was so afraid of others getting ahold of it so I kept it clean 🙂

    Reply
  55. Hi Anne!
    I kept a diary in my teen years, which was full of crushes, girls who were bitchy, awesome books I’d read and stuff I wanted to do when I was older. Yes, I still have it, buried in a box of memories. Maybe I should dig it up and post the best bits? LOL!
    In high school we were encouraged to write in a journal for English and I ended up with ‘this is soooo boring!’ and ‘here’s what happened in the news today’. Was so afraid of others getting ahold of it so I kept it clean 🙂

    Reply
  56. Arrgh…you have reminded me that somewhere in a bottom drawer are my teenage diaries. FULL of teenage angst and a whole lot of other stuff that I am sure my descendents will love but I’m not that keen for them to see it!
    Like you, as an adult, I have tried to keep a diary off and on, but I love the idea of a “writer’s diary”.
    Everything we write now is via email or internet. It is ephemera that will not be available to our descendents. Sad.

    Reply
  57. Arrgh…you have reminded me that somewhere in a bottom drawer are my teenage diaries. FULL of teenage angst and a whole lot of other stuff that I am sure my descendents will love but I’m not that keen for them to see it!
    Like you, as an adult, I have tried to keep a diary off and on, but I love the idea of a “writer’s diary”.
    Everything we write now is via email or internet. It is ephemera that will not be available to our descendents. Sad.

    Reply
  58. Arrgh…you have reminded me that somewhere in a bottom drawer are my teenage diaries. FULL of teenage angst and a whole lot of other stuff that I am sure my descendents will love but I’m not that keen for them to see it!
    Like you, as an adult, I have tried to keep a diary off and on, but I love the idea of a “writer’s diary”.
    Everything we write now is via email or internet. It is ephemera that will not be available to our descendents. Sad.

    Reply
  59. Arrgh…you have reminded me that somewhere in a bottom drawer are my teenage diaries. FULL of teenage angst and a whole lot of other stuff that I am sure my descendents will love but I’m not that keen for them to see it!
    Like you, as an adult, I have tried to keep a diary off and on, but I love the idea of a “writer’s diary”.
    Everything we write now is via email or internet. It is ephemera that will not be available to our descendents. Sad.

    Reply
  60. Arrgh…you have reminded me that somewhere in a bottom drawer are my teenage diaries. FULL of teenage angst and a whole lot of other stuff that I am sure my descendents will love but I’m not that keen for them to see it!
    Like you, as an adult, I have tried to keep a diary off and on, but I love the idea of a “writer’s diary”.
    Everything we write now is via email or internet. It is ephemera that will not be available to our descendents. Sad.

    Reply
  61. I have so much to say on this subject! I will try not to ramble. I had a few failed attempts at diary writing as a kid. I must have had a grandpa hiding in me somewhere, because it was ALL ABOUT FOOD! In year 5 we had to write Captain Cook’s diary, and mine went something like: “Saw a whale, ate salty beef and soggy lettuce for lunch. Wind changed. Had stale biscuits for tea.” Actually – early signs I would end up writing romance: as soon as the Captain became romantic with a (wrongly accused) female convict, she took over the cooking and suddenly the salad was crisp! and fresh! (I don’t think you can accuse a nine-year-old of misogyny, can you?)
    When I was 12 we were set a class exercise in journal writing, and we started each day with 15 mins of writing. For 15 years I wrote regularly in my journal – it became my way to process the world/my thoughts etc. And yes, there is horrible, awful teen angst in there. But I’m glad I kept it. It means I can stumble across such gems as the ticket stub from Waterworld and thinking about having a threesome when I was fourteen (!!!).
    I’ve found myself writing less often in recent years, and when I do write it makes me smile that my relationship obsessiveness (any and all relationships will do) has been replaced with obsessive angst over my writing, and my adult endeavours. I’ve started thinking recently about writing thoughtfully in my journal – actually saying something, rather than just out-pouring my thoughts.
    And lastly (phew, I did ramble – sorry!) I’m in the camp that would happily skewer John Murray for what he did. Though weirdly, I understand Cassandra’s actions… I think because I can’t help imagining that Byron was writing to be read, whereas Jane’s letters were purely personal.

    Reply
  62. I have so much to say on this subject! I will try not to ramble. I had a few failed attempts at diary writing as a kid. I must have had a grandpa hiding in me somewhere, because it was ALL ABOUT FOOD! In year 5 we had to write Captain Cook’s diary, and mine went something like: “Saw a whale, ate salty beef and soggy lettuce for lunch. Wind changed. Had stale biscuits for tea.” Actually – early signs I would end up writing romance: as soon as the Captain became romantic with a (wrongly accused) female convict, she took over the cooking and suddenly the salad was crisp! and fresh! (I don’t think you can accuse a nine-year-old of misogyny, can you?)
    When I was 12 we were set a class exercise in journal writing, and we started each day with 15 mins of writing. For 15 years I wrote regularly in my journal – it became my way to process the world/my thoughts etc. And yes, there is horrible, awful teen angst in there. But I’m glad I kept it. It means I can stumble across such gems as the ticket stub from Waterworld and thinking about having a threesome when I was fourteen (!!!).
    I’ve found myself writing less often in recent years, and when I do write it makes me smile that my relationship obsessiveness (any and all relationships will do) has been replaced with obsessive angst over my writing, and my adult endeavours. I’ve started thinking recently about writing thoughtfully in my journal – actually saying something, rather than just out-pouring my thoughts.
    And lastly (phew, I did ramble – sorry!) I’m in the camp that would happily skewer John Murray for what he did. Though weirdly, I understand Cassandra’s actions… I think because I can’t help imagining that Byron was writing to be read, whereas Jane’s letters were purely personal.

    Reply
  63. I have so much to say on this subject! I will try not to ramble. I had a few failed attempts at diary writing as a kid. I must have had a grandpa hiding in me somewhere, because it was ALL ABOUT FOOD! In year 5 we had to write Captain Cook’s diary, and mine went something like: “Saw a whale, ate salty beef and soggy lettuce for lunch. Wind changed. Had stale biscuits for tea.” Actually – early signs I would end up writing romance: as soon as the Captain became romantic with a (wrongly accused) female convict, she took over the cooking and suddenly the salad was crisp! and fresh! (I don’t think you can accuse a nine-year-old of misogyny, can you?)
    When I was 12 we were set a class exercise in journal writing, and we started each day with 15 mins of writing. For 15 years I wrote regularly in my journal – it became my way to process the world/my thoughts etc. And yes, there is horrible, awful teen angst in there. But I’m glad I kept it. It means I can stumble across such gems as the ticket stub from Waterworld and thinking about having a threesome when I was fourteen (!!!).
    I’ve found myself writing less often in recent years, and when I do write it makes me smile that my relationship obsessiveness (any and all relationships will do) has been replaced with obsessive angst over my writing, and my adult endeavours. I’ve started thinking recently about writing thoughtfully in my journal – actually saying something, rather than just out-pouring my thoughts.
    And lastly (phew, I did ramble – sorry!) I’m in the camp that would happily skewer John Murray for what he did. Though weirdly, I understand Cassandra’s actions… I think because I can’t help imagining that Byron was writing to be read, whereas Jane’s letters were purely personal.

    Reply
  64. I have so much to say on this subject! I will try not to ramble. I had a few failed attempts at diary writing as a kid. I must have had a grandpa hiding in me somewhere, because it was ALL ABOUT FOOD! In year 5 we had to write Captain Cook’s diary, and mine went something like: “Saw a whale, ate salty beef and soggy lettuce for lunch. Wind changed. Had stale biscuits for tea.” Actually – early signs I would end up writing romance: as soon as the Captain became romantic with a (wrongly accused) female convict, she took over the cooking and suddenly the salad was crisp! and fresh! (I don’t think you can accuse a nine-year-old of misogyny, can you?)
    When I was 12 we were set a class exercise in journal writing, and we started each day with 15 mins of writing. For 15 years I wrote regularly in my journal – it became my way to process the world/my thoughts etc. And yes, there is horrible, awful teen angst in there. But I’m glad I kept it. It means I can stumble across such gems as the ticket stub from Waterworld and thinking about having a threesome when I was fourteen (!!!).
    I’ve found myself writing less often in recent years, and when I do write it makes me smile that my relationship obsessiveness (any and all relationships will do) has been replaced with obsessive angst over my writing, and my adult endeavours. I’ve started thinking recently about writing thoughtfully in my journal – actually saying something, rather than just out-pouring my thoughts.
    And lastly (phew, I did ramble – sorry!) I’m in the camp that would happily skewer John Murray for what he did. Though weirdly, I understand Cassandra’s actions… I think because I can’t help imagining that Byron was writing to be read, whereas Jane’s letters were purely personal.

    Reply
  65. I have so much to say on this subject! I will try not to ramble. I had a few failed attempts at diary writing as a kid. I must have had a grandpa hiding in me somewhere, because it was ALL ABOUT FOOD! In year 5 we had to write Captain Cook’s diary, and mine went something like: “Saw a whale, ate salty beef and soggy lettuce for lunch. Wind changed. Had stale biscuits for tea.” Actually – early signs I would end up writing romance: as soon as the Captain became romantic with a (wrongly accused) female convict, she took over the cooking and suddenly the salad was crisp! and fresh! (I don’t think you can accuse a nine-year-old of misogyny, can you?)
    When I was 12 we were set a class exercise in journal writing, and we started each day with 15 mins of writing. For 15 years I wrote regularly in my journal – it became my way to process the world/my thoughts etc. And yes, there is horrible, awful teen angst in there. But I’m glad I kept it. It means I can stumble across such gems as the ticket stub from Waterworld and thinking about having a threesome when I was fourteen (!!!).
    I’ve found myself writing less often in recent years, and when I do write it makes me smile that my relationship obsessiveness (any and all relationships will do) has been replaced with obsessive angst over my writing, and my adult endeavours. I’ve started thinking recently about writing thoughtfully in my journal – actually saying something, rather than just out-pouring my thoughts.
    And lastly (phew, I did ramble – sorry!) I’m in the camp that would happily skewer John Murray for what he did. Though weirdly, I understand Cassandra’s actions… I think because I can’t help imagining that Byron was writing to be read, whereas Jane’s letters were purely personal.

    Reply
  66. I kept a journal fairly regularly (and how’s that for two, count ’em, TWO, adverbs to destroy a sentence? *snort*) when I was younger. I don’t even know what happened to them.
    I have a lovely journal given to me by a dear friend that I write in now when the mood strikes me. There might be weeks in between entries and many are boring by others standards, but they’re usually based on things I need to work through.
    I am curious though. You mention Byron’s memoirs being burned and how tragic it is, but you’re torn as to whether Austen’s were the right move. Is it just because Byron wanted his published that you don’t share the same division?

    Reply
  67. I kept a journal fairly regularly (and how’s that for two, count ’em, TWO, adverbs to destroy a sentence? *snort*) when I was younger. I don’t even know what happened to them.
    I have a lovely journal given to me by a dear friend that I write in now when the mood strikes me. There might be weeks in between entries and many are boring by others standards, but they’re usually based on things I need to work through.
    I am curious though. You mention Byron’s memoirs being burned and how tragic it is, but you’re torn as to whether Austen’s were the right move. Is it just because Byron wanted his published that you don’t share the same division?

    Reply
  68. I kept a journal fairly regularly (and how’s that for two, count ’em, TWO, adverbs to destroy a sentence? *snort*) when I was younger. I don’t even know what happened to them.
    I have a lovely journal given to me by a dear friend that I write in now when the mood strikes me. There might be weeks in between entries and many are boring by others standards, but they’re usually based on things I need to work through.
    I am curious though. You mention Byron’s memoirs being burned and how tragic it is, but you’re torn as to whether Austen’s were the right move. Is it just because Byron wanted his published that you don’t share the same division?

    Reply
  69. I kept a journal fairly regularly (and how’s that for two, count ’em, TWO, adverbs to destroy a sentence? *snort*) when I was younger. I don’t even know what happened to them.
    I have a lovely journal given to me by a dear friend that I write in now when the mood strikes me. There might be weeks in between entries and many are boring by others standards, but they’re usually based on things I need to work through.
    I am curious though. You mention Byron’s memoirs being burned and how tragic it is, but you’re torn as to whether Austen’s were the right move. Is it just because Byron wanted his published that you don’t share the same division?

    Reply
  70. I kept a journal fairly regularly (and how’s that for two, count ’em, TWO, adverbs to destroy a sentence? *snort*) when I was younger. I don’t even know what happened to them.
    I have a lovely journal given to me by a dear friend that I write in now when the mood strikes me. There might be weeks in between entries and many are boring by others standards, but they’re usually based on things I need to work through.
    I am curious though. You mention Byron’s memoirs being burned and how tragic it is, but you’re torn as to whether Austen’s were the right move. Is it just because Byron wanted his published that you don’t share the same division?

    Reply
  71. Nicky, I think that’s pretty much what I do in my journal — download the busyness. And it is fascinating to look back at times past and read yourself and what you were thinking and feeling then. What a wonderful thing to have kept journals since you were 16. I’m envious.
    Now, the question is, what would you want done with them when you die? Would you leave them for your child to read? Or would you want them destroyed?

    Reply
  72. Nicky, I think that’s pretty much what I do in my journal — download the busyness. And it is fascinating to look back at times past and read yourself and what you were thinking and feeling then. What a wonderful thing to have kept journals since you were 16. I’m envious.
    Now, the question is, what would you want done with them when you die? Would you leave them for your child to read? Or would you want them destroyed?

    Reply
  73. Nicky, I think that’s pretty much what I do in my journal — download the busyness. And it is fascinating to look back at times past and read yourself and what you were thinking and feeling then. What a wonderful thing to have kept journals since you were 16. I’m envious.
    Now, the question is, what would you want done with them when you die? Would you leave them for your child to read? Or would you want them destroyed?

    Reply
  74. Nicky, I think that’s pretty much what I do in my journal — download the busyness. And it is fascinating to look back at times past and read yourself and what you were thinking and feeling then. What a wonderful thing to have kept journals since you were 16. I’m envious.
    Now, the question is, what would you want done with them when you die? Would you leave them for your child to read? Or would you want them destroyed?

    Reply
  75. Nicky, I think that’s pretty much what I do in my journal — download the busyness. And it is fascinating to look back at times past and read yourself and what you were thinking and feeling then. What a wonderful thing to have kept journals since you were 16. I’m envious.
    Now, the question is, what would you want done with them when you die? Would you leave them for your child to read? Or would you want them destroyed?

    Reply
  76. Paula, I don’t think you should dig up that diary and post it — I think you should write a YA novel. It’s gold, girl, and you being a writer and all. . .
    As for the boring English journal, yes, I suspect I inflicted that on a few people. The idea that someone might read it is crippling, isn’t it?
    And so the inner grandfather comes out. 😉

    Reply
  77. Paula, I don’t think you should dig up that diary and post it — I think you should write a YA novel. It’s gold, girl, and you being a writer and all. . .
    As for the boring English journal, yes, I suspect I inflicted that on a few people. The idea that someone might read it is crippling, isn’t it?
    And so the inner grandfather comes out. 😉

    Reply
  78. Paula, I don’t think you should dig up that diary and post it — I think you should write a YA novel. It’s gold, girl, and you being a writer and all. . .
    As for the boring English journal, yes, I suspect I inflicted that on a few people. The idea that someone might read it is crippling, isn’t it?
    And so the inner grandfather comes out. 😉

    Reply
  79. Paula, I don’t think you should dig up that diary and post it — I think you should write a YA novel. It’s gold, girl, and you being a writer and all. . .
    As for the boring English journal, yes, I suspect I inflicted that on a few people. The idea that someone might read it is crippling, isn’t it?
    And so the inner grandfather comes out. 😉

    Reply
  80. Paula, I don’t think you should dig up that diary and post it — I think you should write a YA novel. It’s gold, girl, and you being a writer and all. . .
    As for the boring English journal, yes, I suspect I inflicted that on a few people. The idea that someone might read it is crippling, isn’t it?
    And so the inner grandfather comes out. 😉

    Reply
  81. Hi Alison, I suspect that historians of the future will have learned to dig out the squillions of emails that will be floating in cyber space like old space junk.
    And THEN we’ll be sorry. LOL.
    But yes, definitely dig out your old diaries and see who you were then.

    Reply
  82. Hi Alison, I suspect that historians of the future will have learned to dig out the squillions of emails that will be floating in cyber space like old space junk.
    And THEN we’ll be sorry. LOL.
    But yes, definitely dig out your old diaries and see who you were then.

    Reply
  83. Hi Alison, I suspect that historians of the future will have learned to dig out the squillions of emails that will be floating in cyber space like old space junk.
    And THEN we’ll be sorry. LOL.
    But yes, definitely dig out your old diaries and see who you were then.

    Reply
  84. Hi Alison, I suspect that historians of the future will have learned to dig out the squillions of emails that will be floating in cyber space like old space junk.
    And THEN we’ll be sorry. LOL.
    But yes, definitely dig out your old diaries and see who you were then.

    Reply
  85. Hi Alison, I suspect that historians of the future will have learned to dig out the squillions of emails that will be floating in cyber space like old space junk.
    And THEN we’ll be sorry. LOL.
    But yes, definitely dig out your old diaries and see who you were then.

    Reply
  86. Anna, I laughed out loud at your comment — and I love your inner grandfather. I suspect nine-year olds are fairly focused on what’s-for-dinner anyway, and the horrors of what those old time sailors had to live on — weevilly hard-tack biscuits and salt beef.
    Those old journals of yours are gems, I think. And it’s interesting to see how the use of the journal has evolved over time. I like the idea of being more thoughtful. Have you read Barbara Samuel’s journal pieces? She used to have them on her website. Not sure if they’re still there — she used to post them on a Thursday and I always hoped that one day she’s publish them. Must check up. But hers is an example of what journal writing can do for a writer.
    I’m with you on being appalled at the John Murray destruction. Apparently he never revealed what it was in the memoirs that made him decide to destroy them. It must have been a pretty significant thread that went through all the memoirs, otherwise he could have just edited the worst bits out. But he burned the LOT!

    Reply
  87. Anna, I laughed out loud at your comment — and I love your inner grandfather. I suspect nine-year olds are fairly focused on what’s-for-dinner anyway, and the horrors of what those old time sailors had to live on — weevilly hard-tack biscuits and salt beef.
    Those old journals of yours are gems, I think. And it’s interesting to see how the use of the journal has evolved over time. I like the idea of being more thoughtful. Have you read Barbara Samuel’s journal pieces? She used to have them on her website. Not sure if they’re still there — she used to post them on a Thursday and I always hoped that one day she’s publish them. Must check up. But hers is an example of what journal writing can do for a writer.
    I’m with you on being appalled at the John Murray destruction. Apparently he never revealed what it was in the memoirs that made him decide to destroy them. It must have been a pretty significant thread that went through all the memoirs, otherwise he could have just edited the worst bits out. But he burned the LOT!

    Reply
  88. Anna, I laughed out loud at your comment — and I love your inner grandfather. I suspect nine-year olds are fairly focused on what’s-for-dinner anyway, and the horrors of what those old time sailors had to live on — weevilly hard-tack biscuits and salt beef.
    Those old journals of yours are gems, I think. And it’s interesting to see how the use of the journal has evolved over time. I like the idea of being more thoughtful. Have you read Barbara Samuel’s journal pieces? She used to have them on her website. Not sure if they’re still there — she used to post them on a Thursday and I always hoped that one day she’s publish them. Must check up. But hers is an example of what journal writing can do for a writer.
    I’m with you on being appalled at the John Murray destruction. Apparently he never revealed what it was in the memoirs that made him decide to destroy them. It must have been a pretty significant thread that went through all the memoirs, otherwise he could have just edited the worst bits out. But he burned the LOT!

    Reply
  89. Anna, I laughed out loud at your comment — and I love your inner grandfather. I suspect nine-year olds are fairly focused on what’s-for-dinner anyway, and the horrors of what those old time sailors had to live on — weevilly hard-tack biscuits and salt beef.
    Those old journals of yours are gems, I think. And it’s interesting to see how the use of the journal has evolved over time. I like the idea of being more thoughtful. Have you read Barbara Samuel’s journal pieces? She used to have them on her website. Not sure if they’re still there — she used to post them on a Thursday and I always hoped that one day she’s publish them. Must check up. But hers is an example of what journal writing can do for a writer.
    I’m with you on being appalled at the John Murray destruction. Apparently he never revealed what it was in the memoirs that made him decide to destroy them. It must have been a pretty significant thread that went through all the memoirs, otherwise he could have just edited the worst bits out. But he burned the LOT!

    Reply
  90. Anna, I laughed out loud at your comment — and I love your inner grandfather. I suspect nine-year olds are fairly focused on what’s-for-dinner anyway, and the horrors of what those old time sailors had to live on — weevilly hard-tack biscuits and salt beef.
    Those old journals of yours are gems, I think. And it’s interesting to see how the use of the journal has evolved over time. I like the idea of being more thoughtful. Have you read Barbara Samuel’s journal pieces? She used to have them on her website. Not sure if they’re still there — she used to post them on a Thursday and I always hoped that one day she’s publish them. Must check up. But hers is an example of what journal writing can do for a writer.
    I’m with you on being appalled at the John Murray destruction. Apparently he never revealed what it was in the memoirs that made him decide to destroy them. It must have been a pretty significant thread that went through all the memoirs, otherwise he could have just edited the worst bits out. But he burned the LOT!

    Reply
  91. Theo, it is partly that — I know that Byron wanted his memoirs published, so I don’t think destroying them was the right thing to do at all.
    Jane’s letters I’m ambivalent about — I really can’t decide whether Cassandra and the great niece did the right thing at all. I don’t know what Jane herself wanted done with them, and also, we don’t know why they censored the parts and letters they did. Partly I think, since they were letters to someone, there was an element of “public” about them — she was writing for an audience, even if it was an audience of one. I suspect a diary is more private. So I remain ambivalent. Naturally I would have loved to read all of the letters, without the censorship of any relative, but whether I have the right to is another matter.

    Reply
  92. Theo, it is partly that — I know that Byron wanted his memoirs published, so I don’t think destroying them was the right thing to do at all.
    Jane’s letters I’m ambivalent about — I really can’t decide whether Cassandra and the great niece did the right thing at all. I don’t know what Jane herself wanted done with them, and also, we don’t know why they censored the parts and letters they did. Partly I think, since they were letters to someone, there was an element of “public” about them — she was writing for an audience, even if it was an audience of one. I suspect a diary is more private. So I remain ambivalent. Naturally I would have loved to read all of the letters, without the censorship of any relative, but whether I have the right to is another matter.

    Reply
  93. Theo, it is partly that — I know that Byron wanted his memoirs published, so I don’t think destroying them was the right thing to do at all.
    Jane’s letters I’m ambivalent about — I really can’t decide whether Cassandra and the great niece did the right thing at all. I don’t know what Jane herself wanted done with them, and also, we don’t know why they censored the parts and letters they did. Partly I think, since they were letters to someone, there was an element of “public” about them — she was writing for an audience, even if it was an audience of one. I suspect a diary is more private. So I remain ambivalent. Naturally I would have loved to read all of the letters, without the censorship of any relative, but whether I have the right to is another matter.

    Reply
  94. Theo, it is partly that — I know that Byron wanted his memoirs published, so I don’t think destroying them was the right thing to do at all.
    Jane’s letters I’m ambivalent about — I really can’t decide whether Cassandra and the great niece did the right thing at all. I don’t know what Jane herself wanted done with them, and also, we don’t know why they censored the parts and letters they did. Partly I think, since they were letters to someone, there was an element of “public” about them — she was writing for an audience, even if it was an audience of one. I suspect a diary is more private. So I remain ambivalent. Naturally I would have loved to read all of the letters, without the censorship of any relative, but whether I have the right to is another matter.

    Reply
  95. Theo, it is partly that — I know that Byron wanted his memoirs published, so I don’t think destroying them was the right thing to do at all.
    Jane’s letters I’m ambivalent about — I really can’t decide whether Cassandra and the great niece did the right thing at all. I don’t know what Jane herself wanted done with them, and also, we don’t know why they censored the parts and letters they did. Partly I think, since they were letters to someone, there was an element of “public” about them — she was writing for an audience, even if it was an audience of one. I suspect a diary is more private. So I remain ambivalent. Naturally I would have loved to read all of the letters, without the censorship of any relative, but whether I have the right to is another matter.

    Reply
  96. Hmmm, I think I’d have them hidden in amidst all the rough drafts and story planning (I use A2 artbooks for that) and let them try to sort out the workings of my mind.

    Reply
  97. Hmmm, I think I’d have them hidden in amidst all the rough drafts and story planning (I use A2 artbooks for that) and let them try to sort out the workings of my mind.

    Reply
  98. Hmmm, I think I’d have them hidden in amidst all the rough drafts and story planning (I use A2 artbooks for that) and let them try to sort out the workings of my mind.

    Reply
  99. Hmmm, I think I’d have them hidden in amidst all the rough drafts and story planning (I use A2 artbooks for that) and let them try to sort out the workings of my mind.

    Reply
  100. Hmmm, I think I’d have them hidden in amidst all the rough drafts and story planning (I use A2 artbooks for that) and let them try to sort out the workings of my mind.

    Reply
  101. I tried a few times as a youngster to write in a diary…never lasted more than a few pages.
    The only journal that I kept was back when I was an active radio amateur…list of contacts, time of day and sometimes names. Still have it stuck away somewhere.

    Reply
  102. I tried a few times as a youngster to write in a diary…never lasted more than a few pages.
    The only journal that I kept was back when I was an active radio amateur…list of contacts, time of day and sometimes names. Still have it stuck away somewhere.

    Reply
  103. I tried a few times as a youngster to write in a diary…never lasted more than a few pages.
    The only journal that I kept was back when I was an active radio amateur…list of contacts, time of day and sometimes names. Still have it stuck away somewhere.

    Reply
  104. I tried a few times as a youngster to write in a diary…never lasted more than a few pages.
    The only journal that I kept was back when I was an active radio amateur…list of contacts, time of day and sometimes names. Still have it stuck away somewhere.

    Reply
  105. I tried a few times as a youngster to write in a diary…never lasted more than a few pages.
    The only journal that I kept was back when I was an active radio amateur…list of contacts, time of day and sometimes names. Still have it stuck away somewhere.

    Reply
  106. Wow, Nicky — A2 notebooks, that’s almost poster sized, isn’t it? Would love to see how you do it. A mind-map? A collage? A flow chart?
    Love the idea of letting the notebooks sort out your mind. Mine are lazy that way. 🙂

    Reply
  107. Wow, Nicky — A2 notebooks, that’s almost poster sized, isn’t it? Would love to see how you do it. A mind-map? A collage? A flow chart?
    Love the idea of letting the notebooks sort out your mind. Mine are lazy that way. 🙂

    Reply
  108. Wow, Nicky — A2 notebooks, that’s almost poster sized, isn’t it? Would love to see how you do it. A mind-map? A collage? A flow chart?
    Love the idea of letting the notebooks sort out your mind. Mine are lazy that way. 🙂

    Reply
  109. Wow, Nicky — A2 notebooks, that’s almost poster sized, isn’t it? Would love to see how you do it. A mind-map? A collage? A flow chart?
    Love the idea of letting the notebooks sort out your mind. Mine are lazy that way. 🙂

    Reply
  110. Wow, Nicky — A2 notebooks, that’s almost poster sized, isn’t it? Would love to see how you do it. A mind-map? A collage? A flow chart?
    Love the idea of letting the notebooks sort out your mind. Mine are lazy that way. 🙂

    Reply
  111. Louis, that makes a lot of sense, keeping track of who you’ve contacted and when, and, I imagine, their frequencies (or is that a dumb statement?)
    I don’t know how often I’ve gone searching on the web for some site I liked but forgot to bookmark.

    Reply
  112. Louis, that makes a lot of sense, keeping track of who you’ve contacted and when, and, I imagine, their frequencies (or is that a dumb statement?)
    I don’t know how often I’ve gone searching on the web for some site I liked but forgot to bookmark.

    Reply
  113. Louis, that makes a lot of sense, keeping track of who you’ve contacted and when, and, I imagine, their frequencies (or is that a dumb statement?)
    I don’t know how often I’ve gone searching on the web for some site I liked but forgot to bookmark.

    Reply
  114. Louis, that makes a lot of sense, keeping track of who you’ve contacted and when, and, I imagine, their frequencies (or is that a dumb statement?)
    I don’t know how often I’ve gone searching on the web for some site I liked but forgot to bookmark.

    Reply
  115. Louis, that makes a lot of sense, keeping track of who you’ve contacted and when, and, I imagine, their frequencies (or is that a dumb statement?)
    I don’t know how often I’ve gone searching on the web for some site I liked but forgot to bookmark.

    Reply
  116. Yes, they are that big. I like to view them as old-fashioned (aka non digital) mind map/doodle pages. I use a mix of charcoal pencils, pastels, graphite pencils, olouring pencils & whatever else takes my fancy.
    I use them to word (& ocasionally abstract image) doodle out my characters (the who are they/why & what are they doing in this story) and from that more doodling (with a lot of criss cross lines) of words a plot or at least a sequence of events comes out.
    Then, that all gets written (again art supply style pencils etc) into an A3 book (more manageable near a computer *lol*) into a more written up page/s.
    Eventually this becomes an A4 bullet point word document that is my ‘mud-map’ for the dirty draft.
    Ooops, sorry, that kinda morphed into a how I write event.

    Reply
  117. Yes, they are that big. I like to view them as old-fashioned (aka non digital) mind map/doodle pages. I use a mix of charcoal pencils, pastels, graphite pencils, olouring pencils & whatever else takes my fancy.
    I use them to word (& ocasionally abstract image) doodle out my characters (the who are they/why & what are they doing in this story) and from that more doodling (with a lot of criss cross lines) of words a plot or at least a sequence of events comes out.
    Then, that all gets written (again art supply style pencils etc) into an A3 book (more manageable near a computer *lol*) into a more written up page/s.
    Eventually this becomes an A4 bullet point word document that is my ‘mud-map’ for the dirty draft.
    Ooops, sorry, that kinda morphed into a how I write event.

    Reply
  118. Yes, they are that big. I like to view them as old-fashioned (aka non digital) mind map/doodle pages. I use a mix of charcoal pencils, pastels, graphite pencils, olouring pencils & whatever else takes my fancy.
    I use them to word (& ocasionally abstract image) doodle out my characters (the who are they/why & what are they doing in this story) and from that more doodling (with a lot of criss cross lines) of words a plot or at least a sequence of events comes out.
    Then, that all gets written (again art supply style pencils etc) into an A3 book (more manageable near a computer *lol*) into a more written up page/s.
    Eventually this becomes an A4 bullet point word document that is my ‘mud-map’ for the dirty draft.
    Ooops, sorry, that kinda morphed into a how I write event.

    Reply
  119. Yes, they are that big. I like to view them as old-fashioned (aka non digital) mind map/doodle pages. I use a mix of charcoal pencils, pastels, graphite pencils, olouring pencils & whatever else takes my fancy.
    I use them to word (& ocasionally abstract image) doodle out my characters (the who are they/why & what are they doing in this story) and from that more doodling (with a lot of criss cross lines) of words a plot or at least a sequence of events comes out.
    Then, that all gets written (again art supply style pencils etc) into an A3 book (more manageable near a computer *lol*) into a more written up page/s.
    Eventually this becomes an A4 bullet point word document that is my ‘mud-map’ for the dirty draft.
    Ooops, sorry, that kinda morphed into a how I write event.

    Reply
  120. Yes, they are that big. I like to view them as old-fashioned (aka non digital) mind map/doodle pages. I use a mix of charcoal pencils, pastels, graphite pencils, olouring pencils & whatever else takes my fancy.
    I use them to word (& ocasionally abstract image) doodle out my characters (the who are they/why & what are they doing in this story) and from that more doodling (with a lot of criss cross lines) of words a plot or at least a sequence of events comes out.
    Then, that all gets written (again art supply style pencils etc) into an A3 book (more manageable near a computer *lol*) into a more written up page/s.
    Eventually this becomes an A4 bullet point word document that is my ‘mud-map’ for the dirty draft.
    Ooops, sorry, that kinda morphed into a how I write event.

    Reply
  121. Nicky, don’t apologize — I always find it interesting to see how other writers write. I’d love to see some of your creations — maybe on your blog one day.
    Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  122. Nicky, don’t apologize — I always find it interesting to see how other writers write. I’d love to see some of your creations — maybe on your blog one day.
    Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  123. Nicky, don’t apologize — I always find it interesting to see how other writers write. I’d love to see some of your creations — maybe on your blog one day.
    Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  124. Nicky, don’t apologize — I always find it interesting to see how other writers write. I’d love to see some of your creations — maybe on your blog one day.
    Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  125. Nicky, don’t apologize — I always find it interesting to see how other writers write. I’d love to see some of your creations — maybe on your blog one day.
    Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  126. I tried to keep a diary maybe three or four times, but always gave up after a week or so. At the moment, the only journal I keep is to record the books I read, but I hardly put any information in that besides the genre and whether or not I finished the book.
    I do, however, keep sketchbooks, (or did, anyway), which can be somewhat journalistic. (Looking through them can also be quite embarrassing.)

    Reply
  127. I tried to keep a diary maybe three or four times, but always gave up after a week or so. At the moment, the only journal I keep is to record the books I read, but I hardly put any information in that besides the genre and whether or not I finished the book.
    I do, however, keep sketchbooks, (or did, anyway), which can be somewhat journalistic. (Looking through them can also be quite embarrassing.)

    Reply
  128. I tried to keep a diary maybe three or four times, but always gave up after a week or so. At the moment, the only journal I keep is to record the books I read, but I hardly put any information in that besides the genre and whether or not I finished the book.
    I do, however, keep sketchbooks, (or did, anyway), which can be somewhat journalistic. (Looking through them can also be quite embarrassing.)

    Reply
  129. I tried to keep a diary maybe three or four times, but always gave up after a week or so. At the moment, the only journal I keep is to record the books I read, but I hardly put any information in that besides the genre and whether or not I finished the book.
    I do, however, keep sketchbooks, (or did, anyway), which can be somewhat journalistic. (Looking through them can also be quite embarrassing.)

    Reply
  130. I tried to keep a diary maybe three or four times, but always gave up after a week or so. At the moment, the only journal I keep is to record the books I read, but I hardly put any information in that besides the genre and whether or not I finished the book.
    I do, however, keep sketchbooks, (or did, anyway), which can be somewhat journalistic. (Looking through them can also be quite embarrassing.)

    Reply
  131. Margot, I’m so envious of people who can draw, so I love the sound of your sketchbooks. I do fairly impressive stick figures 😉
    And I often wish I had kept a list of all the books I read, because I read a lot, and so often I forget the title and they’ve changed the cover and I buy it only to realize I’ve read it before. At least my local library benefits.
    Interesting that you note whether you finished it. I’m finding more and more books that I start, but never finish. Is it me or the books, I wonder.

    Reply
  132. Margot, I’m so envious of people who can draw, so I love the sound of your sketchbooks. I do fairly impressive stick figures 😉
    And I often wish I had kept a list of all the books I read, because I read a lot, and so often I forget the title and they’ve changed the cover and I buy it only to realize I’ve read it before. At least my local library benefits.
    Interesting that you note whether you finished it. I’m finding more and more books that I start, but never finish. Is it me or the books, I wonder.

    Reply
  133. Margot, I’m so envious of people who can draw, so I love the sound of your sketchbooks. I do fairly impressive stick figures 😉
    And I often wish I had kept a list of all the books I read, because I read a lot, and so often I forget the title and they’ve changed the cover and I buy it only to realize I’ve read it before. At least my local library benefits.
    Interesting that you note whether you finished it. I’m finding more and more books that I start, but never finish. Is it me or the books, I wonder.

    Reply
  134. Margot, I’m so envious of people who can draw, so I love the sound of your sketchbooks. I do fairly impressive stick figures 😉
    And I often wish I had kept a list of all the books I read, because I read a lot, and so often I forget the title and they’ve changed the cover and I buy it only to realize I’ve read it before. At least my local library benefits.
    Interesting that you note whether you finished it. I’m finding more and more books that I start, but never finish. Is it me or the books, I wonder.

    Reply
  135. Margot, I’m so envious of people who can draw, so I love the sound of your sketchbooks. I do fairly impressive stick figures 😉
    And I often wish I had kept a list of all the books I read, because I read a lot, and so often I forget the title and they’ve changed the cover and I buy it only to realize I’ve read it before. At least my local library benefits.
    Interesting that you note whether you finished it. I’m finding more and more books that I start, but never finish. Is it me or the books, I wonder.

    Reply
  136. I started keeping a journal not long after I moved away from home. I wrote a lot about things that happened at work, or with my family, or places I went, and as you say, Anne, there was a lot of teenage angst in it even though chronologically I was long past that age. I did it for quite a while, and then I stopped; I guess I got bored with it, or with my life, or maybe I was done working through those particular feelings. Years later I was cleaning out the coffee table chest and looked through some of the diaries. Omigod. This is so embarrassing. What an idiot I was! How could I have been so blind about this or that person? I don’t want anybody seeing this! And I chucked them all. I hope I shredded them so that not even some future anthropoligist will see them, not even long after I’m gone!
    Now, I don’t regret my decision to toss the diaries, but I do wish I’d made a few notes of dates, names and places – there are some memories I would like to revisit and I know some notes would have brought them back.
    My college best friend told me once that she kept all my letters; she died a few years ago and I miss her very much. I would also like to know that those letters were burnt! Nothing in them that would keep me from running for public office, but still 🙁
    I don’t regret spending hours writing in them either. It was good practice, and a change from the sort of work that occupied my brain from 9 to 5. Nowadays that energy goes into emails and messages to friends, and I hope they don’t keep them long either.
    Maybe Jane Austen felt the same way? Maybe she didn’t want her private feelings exposed for public view. Maybe she asked her people to make sure the letters were censored or destroyed. I don’t think we know, but my money’s on Jane having a desire to keep some things private.

    Reply
  137. I started keeping a journal not long after I moved away from home. I wrote a lot about things that happened at work, or with my family, or places I went, and as you say, Anne, there was a lot of teenage angst in it even though chronologically I was long past that age. I did it for quite a while, and then I stopped; I guess I got bored with it, or with my life, or maybe I was done working through those particular feelings. Years later I was cleaning out the coffee table chest and looked through some of the diaries. Omigod. This is so embarrassing. What an idiot I was! How could I have been so blind about this or that person? I don’t want anybody seeing this! And I chucked them all. I hope I shredded them so that not even some future anthropoligist will see them, not even long after I’m gone!
    Now, I don’t regret my decision to toss the diaries, but I do wish I’d made a few notes of dates, names and places – there are some memories I would like to revisit and I know some notes would have brought them back.
    My college best friend told me once that she kept all my letters; she died a few years ago and I miss her very much. I would also like to know that those letters were burnt! Nothing in them that would keep me from running for public office, but still 🙁
    I don’t regret spending hours writing in them either. It was good practice, and a change from the sort of work that occupied my brain from 9 to 5. Nowadays that energy goes into emails and messages to friends, and I hope they don’t keep them long either.
    Maybe Jane Austen felt the same way? Maybe she didn’t want her private feelings exposed for public view. Maybe she asked her people to make sure the letters were censored or destroyed. I don’t think we know, but my money’s on Jane having a desire to keep some things private.

    Reply
  138. I started keeping a journal not long after I moved away from home. I wrote a lot about things that happened at work, or with my family, or places I went, and as you say, Anne, there was a lot of teenage angst in it even though chronologically I was long past that age. I did it for quite a while, and then I stopped; I guess I got bored with it, or with my life, or maybe I was done working through those particular feelings. Years later I was cleaning out the coffee table chest and looked through some of the diaries. Omigod. This is so embarrassing. What an idiot I was! How could I have been so blind about this or that person? I don’t want anybody seeing this! And I chucked them all. I hope I shredded them so that not even some future anthropoligist will see them, not even long after I’m gone!
    Now, I don’t regret my decision to toss the diaries, but I do wish I’d made a few notes of dates, names and places – there are some memories I would like to revisit and I know some notes would have brought them back.
    My college best friend told me once that she kept all my letters; she died a few years ago and I miss her very much. I would also like to know that those letters were burnt! Nothing in them that would keep me from running for public office, but still 🙁
    I don’t regret spending hours writing in them either. It was good practice, and a change from the sort of work that occupied my brain from 9 to 5. Nowadays that energy goes into emails and messages to friends, and I hope they don’t keep them long either.
    Maybe Jane Austen felt the same way? Maybe she didn’t want her private feelings exposed for public view. Maybe she asked her people to make sure the letters were censored or destroyed. I don’t think we know, but my money’s on Jane having a desire to keep some things private.

    Reply
  139. I started keeping a journal not long after I moved away from home. I wrote a lot about things that happened at work, or with my family, or places I went, and as you say, Anne, there was a lot of teenage angst in it even though chronologically I was long past that age. I did it for quite a while, and then I stopped; I guess I got bored with it, or with my life, or maybe I was done working through those particular feelings. Years later I was cleaning out the coffee table chest and looked through some of the diaries. Omigod. This is so embarrassing. What an idiot I was! How could I have been so blind about this or that person? I don’t want anybody seeing this! And I chucked them all. I hope I shredded them so that not even some future anthropoligist will see them, not even long after I’m gone!
    Now, I don’t regret my decision to toss the diaries, but I do wish I’d made a few notes of dates, names and places – there are some memories I would like to revisit and I know some notes would have brought them back.
    My college best friend told me once that she kept all my letters; she died a few years ago and I miss her very much. I would also like to know that those letters were burnt! Nothing in them that would keep me from running for public office, but still 🙁
    I don’t regret spending hours writing in them either. It was good practice, and a change from the sort of work that occupied my brain from 9 to 5. Nowadays that energy goes into emails and messages to friends, and I hope they don’t keep them long either.
    Maybe Jane Austen felt the same way? Maybe she didn’t want her private feelings exposed for public view. Maybe she asked her people to make sure the letters were censored or destroyed. I don’t think we know, but my money’s on Jane having a desire to keep some things private.

    Reply
  140. I started keeping a journal not long after I moved away from home. I wrote a lot about things that happened at work, or with my family, or places I went, and as you say, Anne, there was a lot of teenage angst in it even though chronologically I was long past that age. I did it for quite a while, and then I stopped; I guess I got bored with it, or with my life, or maybe I was done working through those particular feelings. Years later I was cleaning out the coffee table chest and looked through some of the diaries. Omigod. This is so embarrassing. What an idiot I was! How could I have been so blind about this or that person? I don’t want anybody seeing this! And I chucked them all. I hope I shredded them so that not even some future anthropoligist will see them, not even long after I’m gone!
    Now, I don’t regret my decision to toss the diaries, but I do wish I’d made a few notes of dates, names and places – there are some memories I would like to revisit and I know some notes would have brought them back.
    My college best friend told me once that she kept all my letters; she died a few years ago and I miss her very much. I would also like to know that those letters were burnt! Nothing in them that would keep me from running for public office, but still 🙁
    I don’t regret spending hours writing in them either. It was good practice, and a change from the sort of work that occupied my brain from 9 to 5. Nowadays that energy goes into emails and messages to friends, and I hope they don’t keep them long either.
    Maybe Jane Austen felt the same way? Maybe she didn’t want her private feelings exposed for public view. Maybe she asked her people to make sure the letters were censored or destroyed. I don’t think we know, but my money’s on Jane having a desire to keep some things private.

    Reply
  141. Great post, Janice. I do think that only someone who’s kept a journal and reread it years later, grimacing with embarrassment, would understand the need to destroy precious diaries and letters written by famous people — at their behest, I hasten to add.
    I don’t think my journals reflect the real me, or even the whole me, but only a very small and insecure part of me, often at my most miserable. And wouldn’t it be shocking if that was the you who the world later came to believe was the authentic you?

    Reply
  142. Great post, Janice. I do think that only someone who’s kept a journal and reread it years later, grimacing with embarrassment, would understand the need to destroy precious diaries and letters written by famous people — at their behest, I hasten to add.
    I don’t think my journals reflect the real me, or even the whole me, but only a very small and insecure part of me, often at my most miserable. And wouldn’t it be shocking if that was the you who the world later came to believe was the authentic you?

    Reply
  143. Great post, Janice. I do think that only someone who’s kept a journal and reread it years later, grimacing with embarrassment, would understand the need to destroy precious diaries and letters written by famous people — at their behest, I hasten to add.
    I don’t think my journals reflect the real me, or even the whole me, but only a very small and insecure part of me, often at my most miserable. And wouldn’t it be shocking if that was the you who the world later came to believe was the authentic you?

    Reply
  144. Great post, Janice. I do think that only someone who’s kept a journal and reread it years later, grimacing with embarrassment, would understand the need to destroy precious diaries and letters written by famous people — at their behest, I hasten to add.
    I don’t think my journals reflect the real me, or even the whole me, but only a very small and insecure part of me, often at my most miserable. And wouldn’t it be shocking if that was the you who the world later came to believe was the authentic you?

    Reply
  145. Great post, Janice. I do think that only someone who’s kept a journal and reread it years later, grimacing with embarrassment, would understand the need to destroy precious diaries and letters written by famous people — at their behest, I hasten to add.
    I don’t think my journals reflect the real me, or even the whole me, but only a very small and insecure part of me, often at my most miserable. And wouldn’t it be shocking if that was the you who the world later came to believe was the authentic you?

    Reply
  146. And don’t we see that all the time, Anne? — when some lazy cut and paste journalist pulls a quote from an interview 20 years old and assumes that it still represents the attitudes and knowledge of that person now? As if nobody ever grew, gained experience and changed in the intervening years?
    And you are right – it is so difficult to put down one’s exact state of mind in a journal that it never is the entire authentic person there. We can see this even now when people who ‘met’ online meet in person and often get an entirely different impression.
    Still, journal writing is good experience and everybody ought to try it at some time in their lives.

    Reply
  147. And don’t we see that all the time, Anne? — when some lazy cut and paste journalist pulls a quote from an interview 20 years old and assumes that it still represents the attitudes and knowledge of that person now? As if nobody ever grew, gained experience and changed in the intervening years?
    And you are right – it is so difficult to put down one’s exact state of mind in a journal that it never is the entire authentic person there. We can see this even now when people who ‘met’ online meet in person and often get an entirely different impression.
    Still, journal writing is good experience and everybody ought to try it at some time in their lives.

    Reply
  148. And don’t we see that all the time, Anne? — when some lazy cut and paste journalist pulls a quote from an interview 20 years old and assumes that it still represents the attitudes and knowledge of that person now? As if nobody ever grew, gained experience and changed in the intervening years?
    And you are right – it is so difficult to put down one’s exact state of mind in a journal that it never is the entire authentic person there. We can see this even now when people who ‘met’ online meet in person and often get an entirely different impression.
    Still, journal writing is good experience and everybody ought to try it at some time in their lives.

    Reply
  149. And don’t we see that all the time, Anne? — when some lazy cut and paste journalist pulls a quote from an interview 20 years old and assumes that it still represents the attitudes and knowledge of that person now? As if nobody ever grew, gained experience and changed in the intervening years?
    And you are right – it is so difficult to put down one’s exact state of mind in a journal that it never is the entire authentic person there. We can see this even now when people who ‘met’ online meet in person and often get an entirely different impression.
    Still, journal writing is good experience and everybody ought to try it at some time in their lives.

    Reply
  150. And don’t we see that all the time, Anne? — when some lazy cut and paste journalist pulls a quote from an interview 20 years old and assumes that it still represents the attitudes and knowledge of that person now? As if nobody ever grew, gained experience and changed in the intervening years?
    And you are right – it is so difficult to put down one’s exact state of mind in a journal that it never is the entire authentic person there. We can see this even now when people who ‘met’ online meet in person and often get an entirely different impression.
    Still, journal writing is good experience and everybody ought to try it at some time in their lives.

    Reply
  151. I kept diaries off and on as a teenager but since I quit work in 1978 and started having my children I’ve kept a daily journal. You should see my attic! I’ve referred to them over the years when I wanted to remember a particular event. I just hope whoever does read them will read ALL of them to see how I’ve grown and not dwell on just one part of my life. I write about everything, including whether I did laundry that day, how I feel about people (yikes!), what my kids did, my spiritual journey and anything I’m struggling with. I figure if any of my kids become famous, a biographer is going to love me because I also have photo albums chronicling their lives. And the reason? It seems to validate my existence for me.

    Reply
  152. I kept diaries off and on as a teenager but since I quit work in 1978 and started having my children I’ve kept a daily journal. You should see my attic! I’ve referred to them over the years when I wanted to remember a particular event. I just hope whoever does read them will read ALL of them to see how I’ve grown and not dwell on just one part of my life. I write about everything, including whether I did laundry that day, how I feel about people (yikes!), what my kids did, my spiritual journey and anything I’m struggling with. I figure if any of my kids become famous, a biographer is going to love me because I also have photo albums chronicling their lives. And the reason? It seems to validate my existence for me.

    Reply
  153. I kept diaries off and on as a teenager but since I quit work in 1978 and started having my children I’ve kept a daily journal. You should see my attic! I’ve referred to them over the years when I wanted to remember a particular event. I just hope whoever does read them will read ALL of them to see how I’ve grown and not dwell on just one part of my life. I write about everything, including whether I did laundry that day, how I feel about people (yikes!), what my kids did, my spiritual journey and anything I’m struggling with. I figure if any of my kids become famous, a biographer is going to love me because I also have photo albums chronicling their lives. And the reason? It seems to validate my existence for me.

    Reply
  154. I kept diaries off and on as a teenager but since I quit work in 1978 and started having my children I’ve kept a daily journal. You should see my attic! I’ve referred to them over the years when I wanted to remember a particular event. I just hope whoever does read them will read ALL of them to see how I’ve grown and not dwell on just one part of my life. I write about everything, including whether I did laundry that day, how I feel about people (yikes!), what my kids did, my spiritual journey and anything I’m struggling with. I figure if any of my kids become famous, a biographer is going to love me because I also have photo albums chronicling their lives. And the reason? It seems to validate my existence for me.

    Reply
  155. I kept diaries off and on as a teenager but since I quit work in 1978 and started having my children I’ve kept a daily journal. You should see my attic! I’ve referred to them over the years when I wanted to remember a particular event. I just hope whoever does read them will read ALL of them to see how I’ve grown and not dwell on just one part of my life. I write about everything, including whether I did laundry that day, how I feel about people (yikes!), what my kids did, my spiritual journey and anything I’m struggling with. I figure if any of my kids become famous, a biographer is going to love me because I also have photo albums chronicling their lives. And the reason? It seems to validate my existence for me.

    Reply
  156. Cathy, your diaries sound wonderful. I love it that everything is included, including the kitchen sin—er, laundry 😉 and shows your full existence. I’m sure it will become a family treasure in years to come. And if the full collection ever goes into an archive, it will be a wonderful resource for a historian of the future.

    Reply
  157. Cathy, your diaries sound wonderful. I love it that everything is included, including the kitchen sin—er, laundry 😉 and shows your full existence. I’m sure it will become a family treasure in years to come. And if the full collection ever goes into an archive, it will be a wonderful resource for a historian of the future.

    Reply
  158. Cathy, your diaries sound wonderful. I love it that everything is included, including the kitchen sin—er, laundry 😉 and shows your full existence. I’m sure it will become a family treasure in years to come. And if the full collection ever goes into an archive, it will be a wonderful resource for a historian of the future.

    Reply
  159. Cathy, your diaries sound wonderful. I love it that everything is included, including the kitchen sin—er, laundry 😉 and shows your full existence. I’m sure it will become a family treasure in years to come. And if the full collection ever goes into an archive, it will be a wonderful resource for a historian of the future.

    Reply
  160. Cathy, your diaries sound wonderful. I love it that everything is included, including the kitchen sin—er, laundry 😉 and shows your full existence. I’m sure it will become a family treasure in years to come. And if the full collection ever goes into an archive, it will be a wonderful resource for a historian of the future.

    Reply
  161. It’s not really a diary. It was originally called Notes of the Newly Unoccupied, Part 2 is Phantasmagoria, and Part 3 will be called Eudemonia. One of my readers told me I am really an ethnographer. * As you can see I am a sesquipedalian for fun.

    Reply
  162. It’s not really a diary. It was originally called Notes of the Newly Unoccupied, Part 2 is Phantasmagoria, and Part 3 will be called Eudemonia. One of my readers told me I am really an ethnographer. * As you can see I am a sesquipedalian for fun.

    Reply
  163. It’s not really a diary. It was originally called Notes of the Newly Unoccupied, Part 2 is Phantasmagoria, and Part 3 will be called Eudemonia. One of my readers told me I am really an ethnographer. * As you can see I am a sesquipedalian for fun.

    Reply
  164. It’s not really a diary. It was originally called Notes of the Newly Unoccupied, Part 2 is Phantasmagoria, and Part 3 will be called Eudemonia. One of my readers told me I am really an ethnographer. * As you can see I am a sesquipedalian for fun.

    Reply
  165. It’s not really a diary. It was originally called Notes of the Newly Unoccupied, Part 2 is Phantasmagoria, and Part 3 will be called Eudemonia. One of my readers told me I am really an ethnographer. * As you can see I am a sesquipedalian for fun.

    Reply

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