First post of 2022 and it’s a meme. ILB, you predictable bastard.
In any case, this is my attempt at taking part in the new Five Things meme, with thanks to Julie from MPB for coming up with the concept. The prompt is “journals, diaries and planners.” I can do that, I’m sure.
When I was in my teens, before I stated blogging, I kept a journal. I wrote it, diligently – almost religiously – every single day. Occasionally my entry would be a couple of sentences (on two occasions I wrote “too tired to write”, read: “too lazy to write”), but more often than not, I managed to fill the whole page. So here ae five things about my handwritten journaling days.
1) My journal was written purely to entertain.
From the instant I started writing, I knew that the intent was for my journal to be read. Once it got out that I had a journal, I knew people would want to read it, and I knew that I liked to write. My aim wasn’t to keep secrets, nor was it to mention anything too explicit. I wanted my writing to be read and I kept that in mind.
2) Once it was read, it became wildly popular.
Maybe “wildly popular” is a little hyperbolic, but for a while, it was one of the few things any of us brought to read on residential trips, holidays, etc. – and I certainly took a few of them. Since I didn’t mind my journal being read (and it was written for that purpose), I was quite pleased to let it be passed around the group and let everyone read my words. (This may come as a shock to you, but some writers are self-obsessed, wanting people to actually read their content. I know: amazing, isn’t it?)
3) Other journallers were confused by my attitude.
Our year 9 History teacher once asked if any of us wrote a journal; three hands went up. His question was about reading – did any of us let anyone else read their diary? Both girls who had also raised their hands confessed to letting each other read (they were best friends who, at this point, lived together), but that it was private. I said, truthfully, that my journal was an open book (quite literally, heh…) and that I would willingly read bits out if people wanted me to. Neither girl understood this, but they both ended up reading it.
4) I wrote my journal with an incredibly specific style and structure.
This is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else ever do. Every journal entry had to have:
(i) A title – usually a pun, or a sentence, or a couple of key words… like a blog post does. This would range from “Xmas Day” (my very first entry) to things like “Venture On In!” (a Venturer day out) or “Droit du seigneur” (when we’d first done sex ed in school and I was amused by it). I did this accidentally at the beginning and liked it so much I carried on doing it for all three journals I managed to fill.
(ii) A quote of the day. This was something funny, clever or memorable that somebody had said throughout the day. My favourite was “I shall never make soap”, but that takes a bit of explanation to justify.
(iii) In later years, I’d add a statistic or fact (one that I knew; I was too lazy to look anything up) relevant to the day’s events. This went after the quote and was rarely a replacement for it…
(iv) …and/or a “moral learnt”, which was later still and only really appeared in “Journal III”, the final one. This was intended to provide a bit of humour – everything I write is meant to be humorous, really – but throughout the year it became more and more bitter and self-deprecating.
(v) Cross-posting appeal. My first diary was a little longer than my second, so I would write each entry twice: once in my first journal, and then again – word for word – in my second. Towards the end of my third, I started a LiveJournal, and when I didn’t have anything new to add for a journal entry, I would print out that day’s LJ entry and stick it on the page.
5) It wasn’t just a journal.
Because I’m… well… me, although my main intent was to write an entertaining, humorous, self-deprecating account of my life, my journal was used for more. Every now and again, snippets of fiction that I was working on, bits of a playscript (I finished the play, eventually, after photocopying journal pages), song lyrics I’d written, schematics for a droid I wanted, or emotional short-form poetry.
I started my journal when I was 14. At 16, I genuinely wasn’t sure who I was or what I wanted to be… but I was pretty certain that I could write anything I wanted. About anything. In any form.
So I did.
And I still do.