Do you keep a diary, or do posts on Facebook or Twitter suffice for you? I sometimes think of my blog as a diary in addition to being BLATANT SELF-PROMOTION (hey, it’s Tuesday, so I have to slip that in at least once), but it’s still a record open to the world in more or less real time.
Reading this article this morning reminded me that I do keep a diary. I keep several, in fact. There’s a file on my computer, a bound journal that I sometimes carry around with me, and another file on my phone, all filled with items of varying degrees of personal interest. I’d hate for any of them to see the light of day. Each is a space where I can sit with my own thoughts without having to sanitize them for public consumption (such as, for example, my mother).
I know, you don’t believe that I censor myself in public forums, do you? Assorted f-bombs aside, it’s true. If you heard what goes through my head, you’d probably be appalled.
Social media is great—I’ve gleaned insights and struck up acquaintances with any number of writers I admire. A diary is When I was in college I received a copy of Andy Warhol’s diaries for Christmas. It was delightful and, of course, a little scandalous, but I also loved that it was a conversation between him and his secretary, Pat Hackett. She kept track of expenses in the diary (Warhol was audited by the IRS), but also there are glimpses of what’s on his mind, and occasionally there was a level of sentiment that surprised me. Similarly, collections of letters between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his editor reveal a side of the writer’s mindset that is, of course, now very familiar to us.
I started keeping a journal when I was sixteen. If I could find those legal pad pages and read them now, I’d probably cringe and want to burn them. At the time, though, it was at least getting me writing.
Do you keep a diary?