Sunday, 4 January 2015


My little collection of diaries (and other things)

For as long as I can remember, I've had an obsession with documenting everything. As a child it was through random diary entries scattered around in numerous colourful notepads. Usually accompanied with an attempted illustration. Nothing special, sometimes no more than a description of something I enjoyed eating that day, and a drawing of an ice cream (I was a chubby kid). But this desire to write down everything about my life never disappeared. At the age of ten I began writing a journal, and for the first time I remained dedicated to it. It's been 9 years, and at some point during that time span, documenting my day-to-day life became a natural part of my routine. 

There is nothing extravagant or truly noteworthy about my life, but it's still mine. And there's something about picking a diary off my shelf, opening it up and seeing what my life was like on this day, two/three years ago that I find just a little thrilling. Was I content? Or was I fighting my way through a turmoil of confusion and teenage angst? Am I better now? What would I tell my younger self if I knew then what I know now? Sometimes I can't help laughing out loud at just how melodramatic I was at the age of 13/14. Or allowing myself a wry and slightly sad smile as I read through the dark days. The dark years. It got better. I wish I could tell that to my 16/17 year old self. 

But it's not just through diaries that I find a way to express myself. Some of my favourite books are heavily highlighted. I highlight the parts that move me, that stir a deep and inexpressible emotion within me. Or the parts that are simply so beautifully and perfectly written that I need to remind myself to appreciate them the next time I come across the passage. 

And then there are my notebooks and workbooks and folders for school/sixth form/university. I find little messages jotted down here and there. Tiny little screams of frustrations or a song lyric I can't get out of my head. Or a name. Or two names. 

It's impossible for me to remember everything I've ever written. So at times when I come across a particular diary entry, what I read is surprising. And occasionally finding a little message will feel like discovering a secret. Like a clue that directs you to the gold at the end of a treasure hunt. 

Which leads me on to what inspired this post. 

I'm currently attempting to write a poetry essay for university, and one of the poem's I've chosen to analyse is 'In Memoriam' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I studied his poems for the entirety of my first year in sixth form, so being the insanely nostalgic person I am, I obviously had to pull out my old copy of Tennyson's poetry, (I say old but it was literally just two years ago). I turned to the first page, and saw this:

Page 40? I had no idea what this was about. But then I remembered doing something similar in my copy of 'Of Mice and Men' when I was 16, and I smiled to myself and heeded the bright red instruction.

And this is what I found:

It was as if I had been pulled back in time to two years ago in the space of a second. In a sudden rush of nostalgia, I felt the ghost of everything I experienced the first time I read that passage. It's not only beautiful, but the first time I read it in an english literature class surrounded by my friends and classmates, I was so incredibly moved. Because it is so perfect. Because it described exactly how I was feeling at the time, before I even realised I was feeling it. Like the missing piece of a puzzle that had finally found its way back home. In nothing more than four simple lines, Tennyson somehow managed to concisely express complex emotions, and the result is stunning. 

Some may find keeping a diary or writing things down to be utterly pointless. But personally, it's not only a way for me to write every single day, it's a special and validating part of my life. If you don't keep a diary, or even jot anything about your life down here and there but you've always wanted to, it's never too late to start. Your life may not be anything extraordinary, but it's yours. It's special, it's important and it's worth writing about. 


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