Sunday Scribblings: Diaries
Isn't it seductive, perching on a Great Writer's shoulders, privileged to watch the slow accrual of genius? Even the set backs, the struggles, are satisfying because the ending is a foregone conclusion. Art. Creation. Fame. And occasionally, even fortune. That's the allure of the writer's diary...the ability to observe a creative mind at work and play.
This is why, even if I became exceedingly famous (hey, a girl can dream), I'll never allow my diaries to be published.
For starters, you know that nascent seed of brilliance, carefully nurtured in the fertile soil of the diary? Yeah, not so much in mine. In my pages, I am barely literate, barely conscious, perhaps because usually I am barely awake. For the last couple of years, the only consistent diary I have kept are those morning pages recommended by Julia Cameron. Stream of consciousness pages that stream forth the way real, considered writing barely ever does. Picture me, propped against the kitchen counter, pushing pen against that pocket of resistant time. Words piling on words frantically until, inevitably...mama! Or a little hand comes to pull me away from the page, back into my life.
These are not the words I want to be remembered by.
And then there are my girlhood and adolescent diaries, where I freed myself to explore every obsessive enthusiasm without the fear that I was making anyone (i.e. my parents) nervous. When I loved or hated, much to their chagrin, I kept myself at a white hot pitch of excitement, stoking it with the words of all of my favorite writers. I loved like Scarlett O'Hara. I wrote like Jo March in a “vortex” (or wanted to). I wanted to experience what couldn't be put into words...and then write about it, like D. H. Lawrence. I told myself that I contained multitudes, like my beloved Whitman.
Unfortunately, like most adolescents, my diaries fluctuated between high-minded philosophical musings and boys, dreams for the future and boys, imitations of my favorite authors and boys. I wanted to be offbeat, not to care about teenage crushes. But I was depressingly normal in that way. I cared about my teenage crushes, passionately.
I can't see any of that as a worthy legacy.
Sometimes I do think about starting a writer's diary, using my life consciously as material for stories, as a way to practice my craft and observation skills. But, I shrink from having yet another place where I have to perform, where I can't just relax, be foolish, naïve, angry. Bad. I use my diary to dig, dig through the surface emotions, to try and find a deep breath between them. I don't want to become self-conscious there as well.
So, no, I won't ever publish any of my diaries, should I ever become famous enough for someone to ask. The diaries are all process, not product. My terrible handwriting is like the jagged lines of a lie detector—the pages keep me honest, but they don't really reflect what I would like to do as a writer. Hopefully, whatever work I manage to produce will speak for itself.
That being said, if the literary establishment is very insistent, I'll can always point them towards a certain blog...
To unlock more secrets in a diary, go here.
Labels: sunday scribblings