Book of Me – Prompt 6: Diaries and Journals

book of meThe Book of Me – Written by You is a weekly blog prompt created by Julie Goucher of the blog Angler’s Rest. This is a fifteen month writing project to highlight my life so that I will have something to leave behind for my descendants. Week six asks about personal diaries and journals. For those of you who have been following along, this week I am not using my traditional 3rd person narrative. I did not feel that the prompt supported that format.

  • Do you keep a diary or journal?
  • When did you start?
  • What information do you record?
  • How do you keep a journal – written or electronic?
  • If you have a written journal, do you always buy the same one or buy whatever takes your fancy?
  • What are your succession plans for you journals & diaries?
  • Do you include pictures & other items as a way of recording events?
  • What do you use to write your journal – a special pen, or a fountain pen, or even the closest writing implement to hand?
  • Have you inherited any? If you have what are your plans for them?
Failed journals

Failed journals

When I first read this week’s prompt, I admit my first response was to be a little flip. Do you keep a diary or  journal? No. When did you start? Not applicable. What information do you record? Not applicable…and so on. I have attempted to write a journal in the past. It was mostly in my young, carefree and unattached adulthood. Back when I had time to spare, and little responsibility to anyone beyond myself. I never wrote one when I was a kid, at least that I recall. I do have the four journals that I attempted to use to express my feelings and daily activities. These were all purchased in the late 1980s or early 1990s. One is filled with poetry that I liked at the time. Another is virtually blank. It was also purchased to record inspiring quotes and poetry. The third book I used as a travel journal on my big adventure through Great Britain in 1991, although it had been started a couple years earlier as a combination budget book and who knows what else. Again, the book is only half filled. The fourth book does have some more traditional diary like entries but it is not completely used either. Half the pages are empty, like a broken promise.

The fact of the matter is I am just not that kind of a person. I have my daily routines, like having tea first thing in the morning, every morning, rain or shine, no matter what. I can’t stand coffee. I even travel with my own tea bags so I can have my tea. But writing is not part of my routine. As I stated in one of my early blog posts last year when I began my blog, I have never thought of myself as a writer. I’m an artist. I express myself in other ways. I have never used words as my medium before. So the questions remain hanging in the air. Do you keep a diary or journal?

No, but I have other things that paint a picture of my life. There are the quilts that I have made for myself and my children. I have the programs of all the theatrical shows I worked on during my college and graduate school years and some from later on when I started to work professionally. I have renderings of costumes I designed, pictures of costumes I constructed (and sweated over), and clothes that I have made for myself. I am the family photographer. I have photographs. I have scrapbooks that I made using some of those photographs. I manage the collection of photographs that chronicle all the trips we have taken, the special events and holidays, and the ordinary. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? And now that I have taken the steps to “become” a writer, I have my blog. Granted the major focus of my blog is transcribing the letters of my grandparents. But doing that is part of my daily routine. When my descendants look through my daily chattel, they can deduce what I did every day for 3 or 4 or how many years it takes me to get through this immense stack of letters. And in today’s (and the future’s) age of technology, I am sure my descendants will figure out a way to see all my ordinary everyday Facebook posts. That’s about as close as I am ever going to get to writing a journal.

The above photographs were all taken by Deborah Sweeney

P.S. On a side note, my father has been keeping a daily journal since I was one month old. Let’s just say I am officially middle aged so that is a really long time! I have already made my case as the family archivist that I want those journals and he has already made provisions for the journals to be passed on to me when he is gone. So no, I haven’t inherited any journals yet but I will someday but I am more than happy to wait.

©2013 copyright owned and written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found at: https://genealogylady.net/2013/10/05/book-of-me-pro…s-and-journals/

5 thoughts on “Book of Me – Prompt 6: Diaries and Journals

  1. davidmadison1942

    “I have never thought of myself as a writer. I’m an artist. I express myself in other ways. I have never used words as my medium before.” While this may be true, you have read so widely for so many years that good writing seems now to come naturally to you.”

    Yes, my diaries are piling up, year after year…and they are willed to you…” You’ll need a team of assistants to get through them all. You’ll have to hire folks who have a high tolerance for boredom! 🙂

    Reply
  2. luvviealex

    I really like the way you have responded to this post.

    In a kind of non-related sequitur – I have often thought of how many movies I have watched while I’ve knitted various items. Wouldn’t it be neat to keep a record and give them a list when you’ve finished the project to say I watched these movies/series while this jumper was knitted? Nah…dumb idea. Just as well I’m too busy knitting to carry out such a mad concept.

    Reply
    1. Genealogy Lady Post author

      You make a good point about the knitting. I was always fascinated by the French Revolution. One of my favorite books is The Scarlet Pimpernel. I was especially intrigued by the women that sat at the foot of the guillotines and knitted. Supposedly they were knitting the names of the people who were being beheaded in their pieces. I do sometimes remember things I was doing when I was knitting a garment, or the show I was watching while I did it. So you are not alone!
      And thank you for the compliment! It does keep me writing when I get positive feedback.

      Reply

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