Friday, January 7, 2011

My Five Year Diary Days

As you can probably tell from the few posts already written here, I've been thinking a lot lately about means of communication, past and present.

I grew up in a family of diary-keepers. I had diaries starting in double-digit childhood; at first, they were one-year diaries. But I quickly followed my parents' footsteps in keeping 5-year diaries.

I hate to think that I don't know whatever happened to these early diaries; they're probably still somewhere in my parents' closets, which is a rather scary concept.

2010 was the last year of my latest one, and I haven't replaced it. I stopped writing my four lines a day somewhere back over the summer, and never got back into the habit.

The principle is a fun one, though. I often noticed how similar events would happen on the same day, or how weather would repeat itself, and was interesting to be able to go back over how past years had unfolded.

This summer I tried to find a 5-year diary online for my mother, and had the darndest time. I finally ran into one, by chance, at Village Books in the Fairhaven district of Bellingham, WA, and scooped it up.

However, when looking for images for this post, I found plenty of UK sites that seem to still be selling 5-year diaries.

I'm vaguely tempted.


  1. Wow! A 5-year diary. Both my daughters were avid diary keepers when they were younger. The closest I've got to it is my (infrequent) blogging and a holiday journal.

  2. i just found your blog via a comment on another view! you don't have a 'follow' gizmo so i'm gonna have to add you to the mouse's blogroll so i can remember to pop on over.

    i feel a odd connection as you hail from olympia washington (where my bestest and friend of 37 years lives). my spiritual home is the pnw and i try to visit as often as time and funds permit.

    and you now live in france.... i must confess to being a tad of a francophile (although i murder the language when i try to speak, so i spare people potential suffering and don't) - my sister lived in paris for 3 years and i got over every year while she was there - alas she is now back in the states...which is nice as i see her, but sad to not have an 'excuse' to visit france/paris!

    and you have been to village books in b'ham!!!! another favorite place!! i did major damage at their sale table just this past april, despite the fact i was traveling and ended up having to mail a box of books to cleveland. oh their sale table is dangerous.

    good luck finding your childhood diaries. i was heartbroken years ago when i learned my mother had thrown mine out when i went to get them.... to add insult to injury i lost my college-age diary when i was flying back to college my senior year. it slipped out of my backpack best as i could figure out and unfortunately the airline did not have it - i figured someone found it and had an interesting read..... fortunately the lost journal never came back to bite me!

    oh look at me rattle on!! sorry!!

  3. I started a journal when we left the US.... Not a proper diary as it's just notebooks... I was very faithful up until we moved here, to this house. For some reason the urge to write left. I updated it yesterday.
    I also used to write long emails to everyone. I think both have fallen to the wayside because of the blog. Maybe I just don't have enough words for all of it.

  4. well, my diaries seem to last for about 5 years anyway. Write a couple entries per year...
    I have too many different journals, I would prefer to keep everything in one place.

  5. @Megan There is a great online journal site called Penzu. You can lock your entries with some sort of military-strength encrypton...could that be the one place?

  6. What a lovely post and what interesting comments it has engendered.

    I started keeping a personal journal in Sept 1973, shortly before I turned 21. I always looked longingly at those 1-year and 5-year diaries with locks but never had one in which I wrote, if memory serves. Or if I did, it was not memorable and I did not keep it up.

    The journal that I began in '73 was inspired by the journal(s) of a young man I met. Now that I think about it, he probably had things scotch-taped into it, which seems to be key for me. I have never been able to maintain interest in a "words only" journal intime which means I now have bookshelves overflowing with little books stuffed with words and ticket stubs, newspaper clipping, photo booth images--you name it, it's glued into those books.

    Fortuitously, I now have all those books to refer back to in my ancestor worship phase here in France using and I've also been able to explore the little books, diaries, letters, postcards, and jottings of my father's mother who was just like me with the "scrapbook" approach to diary/journaling. It's amazing.

    Thank gawd I found the blogging outlet because it has that capacity for uploading images and I'm wedded to my scanner and my digital camera now! I also investigated (and bought in the case of) MacJournal when I wasn't sure if I could or would continue to blahg, and Scrivener, which has some properties for holding scraps of ideas in suspension until one can permanently root them somewhere. I'm going to look at the Penzu site mentioned here.

    One thing I would like to say about online journaling is that, if you are like me, there might have been a decline in the legibility of one's penmanship, or one's patience with the effort of writing (I had hand surgery so my writing sucks now, in my humble opinion) and the opportunity offered by typing or even voice-activated typing/journaling is a life/experience saver for posterity, if one has any, posterity that is.

    I really love this new creative work of yours, Betty. I am happy that you decided to make a new start for a fresh perspective/slant on your evolving life and writing.


  7. @The Pliers -- Thank you for your lovely and encouraging comment. In some ways, I wish I had taken the scrapbook/journal approach but that can't be done over again.

    Your comment could practically be a post in itself! Sometimes comments get that way...

    Bon dimanche, if that's possible after the disturbing news from the USA...

  8. Do you have a "comment length limit?" I never would have written a post at this time. It's all I can do to visit anyone else with the other work I'm doing. Sorry if I exceeded the comment limit.

    I'm afraid that I am not up-to-date on the latest shooting in the USA. It seems as if they will never ever learn that lethal weapons and human being don't mix well.

  9. @ThePliers -- No, of course I don't have a "comment length limit." I am touched and inspired by long comments. It's just that sometimes I have gotten carried away myself with a very long comment, and later thought that I should have made it a blog post and just linked back to the blog post of inspiration!

  10. Betty C.,

    At the rate I'm going over here with my project, my blahging is taking short shrift and I just barely peek out to read what you are up to and cheer you on! If it weren't for that, it would be very quiet around here!!!