What I found when I read through my diary

Sleep reports.  Notes about dreams.  Severe admonishments about time spent on endless scrolling.  Headache details. Plans for tomorrow and thinking ahead to the weekend.  Scraps of ideas. Statements about sleep requirements. Observations about what is going on elsewhere in the house. Self-congratulations on dishes cooked.  Lists of every ingredient.  Details about where in the house a meal was eaten.    Observations about my children’s lives.  A catalogue of wine consumption.  Time of day and who is doing what. Health report.  Symptoms noted.  Worst expectations jotted down over half a page.  Plans for the year ahead noted.  Six months covered in three lines.  Poems to write.  Projects to tinker with.  Severe admonishments.   Lines of French, website addresses, snippets of telephone conversations, absent-minded jottings down. Details about ticket bookings, tickets for poetry readings, festivals, theatre, cinema, dates and times.  Weaknesses I’ve had all my life.  Analysis of my faults.  A severe talking to.  An absolute rant. Anger details.  Thoughts about where I might send a poem; a magazine, a competition.  Detailed record of my waking hours, sleeping hours, eating habits.  Precise record of number of cups of tea drunk.  Weather details.  Levels of energy. Health report.  Films watched.  What music is playing inside my head and what it makes me think about.  Record of church visits.  Snippets of what the priest said and do I agree/disagree.  Snippets of conversations.  Successful outfits. Charity shop finds. Who is annoying me, what they said, what I think about them but would never say to them.  Where I’m sitting when I’m writing in my diary, what I’m drinking, who is where in the house, who is elsewhere, hours spent alone.  Plans for what I will do when I am alone again.

I write in my diary in bed last thing at night or first thing in the morning.  Or, in late afternoon or early evening when there is something cooking in the oven,  I carry my diary to a sofa or chair in my house and sit with a drink and write notes about my day, what I have done, what I’ve been thinking about, who has hurt me, who has ignored me, who has praised me, who has loved me, who has intensely annoyed me.  I note rejections and acceptances. I find a way to explode anger onto the page without ripping through the paper.

I swear lavishly and viciously and feel better for it. At some point in the year, I’ll sit with my diary to browse the year I’m living through and laugh at what I’ve written.  I laugh at myself and feel tenderness for this person who has poured her heart onto pages that nobody else reads.

Notes about what is growing in garden, what isn’t growing, what is being eaten alive, who is  invading, who is digging under fences.  Notes about sounds; music playing, son’s band rehearsing, arguments overheard from neighbour’s gardens.  Notes about smells, cigarettes, barbecues, bonfires, weed, burnt toast, frying onions, incense, scented candles.  Late night revellers heard through open windows. Climate details. What I am writing about, when I wrote, how much I wrote, what needs to be finished. What my daughter said in a text.

Times I’ve cried.  Times I’ve laughed about crying.  Times I’ve read about the times I’ve cried and laughed about it and laughed about it again.  And cried.

Who has been listed for which prizes, who is published, who has succeeded, who has failed and my feelings about same.  Who I am pleased for, who I am not pleased for.  Endless trivia, banalities, words meaningless to anyone but me.  The wrong day in the wrong place.  Writing about yesterday and thinking about tomorrow.  Surprisingly little about how worried I am.

9 thoughts on “What I found when I read through my diary”

  1. Thank you for sharing how you ‘harvest’ some life experiences onto paper. I particularly like your ability to move from being ‘in’ experiences to reflecting on them and am so warmed by your comment “I……feel tenderness for this person who has poured her heart onto pages that nobody else reads”
    yes inspiring and generous, thanks Josephine

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! You’re a brave woman. I very rarely reread what I write in my journal nowadays. It’s a record of my day, thoughts, emotional landscape, meals yes, wine yes, where & when I’m writing it. Writing ideas mostly go on scrap A4 paper or many of my other notebooks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. More foolish than brave, probably! Treat yourself to a diary – I’ve only started to do this again in the past few years (was in the habit, like you, of using notebooks before) and there is something special about a diary. I am a sucker for stationery, so any excuse! x


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