• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Don’t You Remember You Told Me You Loved Me Baby


I started a new diary today. The chances of abandonment are high. I’m not sure why, but they either don’t yield, or they get all fuck all in my face. For every filled diary I have, there are two or three with just a few sentences that never took stuck on some lower shelf or thrown away, abandoned. Sometimes the diaries themselves are too thick, too thin. Sometimes it’s the spaces between the lines. More often, I hate how the first few lines or pages sound. To coy or cute or resolute. You can really strike the wrong note and set the whole thing off to the wrong start. That’s part of the insanity, it’s only for your eyes and yet you seem to care. Funny that.

Do you keep a diary?

13 Responses

  1. Used to, don’t anymore. I have at least half a dozen started with promise and abandoned with disinterest.
    A while ago I kept the same diary, which I called a journal, going for years. It was actually a planner with spaces big enough to jot down a line or two year after year. It’s a great example of how my life ebbed and flowed over many years. We’ve moved twice since I’ve seen the thing. I think I’ll dig it out and have a read.

  2. What I wouldn’t give to still have the diary I had from the time I was about nine until my early twenties. When my first husband and I split the canned goods, I’m almost certain I left it on a closet shelf, in that little house in Zebulon. I was so intent on getting the hell out of there, I never gave it a thought, but I HAVE thought about it a lot lately – particularly b/c one plays such a central role in Dixie Dupree. Something tells me I would chuckle and LOL at some of those entries.

    I have a “grown up” journal in my nightstand upstairs. A very nice leather bound, full of empty pages journal. The idea of writing in this thing, or “journaling” as some call it, isn’t appealing at all. I envy those who’ve been diligent and have kept something like this for years. I just had this thought; I guess I’m just not that into me.

  3. I don’t know if this counts as a diary, but I kept a weather journal a couple of years ago, a cool little book with a green cover, a Celtic design embossed on it and an elastic band to keep it closed tight. I got it cheap because I bought it in February and the dated pages started on January 1st. Each day I would write down the weather conditions, temperature at 6am, color of the sky, wind conditions, etc. That was it. Then when someone would declare, “It wasn’t this cold last year!”, I’d plop out my weather diary and say, “Hmm, actually it was colder; we had a cold snap that lasted over a week.” Or, “Driest summer I remember!” “No, last year the water level was down because it was so dry until, let’s see, late September.” That was kind of fun although I probably pissed more than a few people off.

  4. “Do you keep a diary?”

    No. I kept one when I was a teen. Started my first diary when I was eleven-and-a-half. Lost that one and the one that came right after it. They may have been stolen by classmates suspicious of my constant secretive scribbling. Wish I still had those two earliest diaries. It is hard to write, at a later age, convincingly from the POV of a child. Most of the time when writers try to do that, you can see the adult peeking out from behind the curtain, as it were. To still have written examples of what and how I was thinking at that age would have been handy later, when I came to try to make art out of such.

    I resumed diary-keeping a year later, when I was twelve-and-a-half, and kept at it — though there were sometimes gaps of weeks or even months — for six years. Those diaries, though they no longer exist in their original form (I transcribed them, leaving out the dates and changing the names — I know: “Why bother?”), proved very useful to me as sources for later work. Not to mention as sources for later mortification. Teenagers, sheesh!

    I also kept something like a diary seven years ago. I recently transcribed it. I can’t help it — there’s gold in them thar hills, if’n I kin figger how to pan it.

  5. In the back of my sock drawer, which is never opened due to the fact that I don’t wear socks, even when it’s twenty below, is my diary. It’s one of those 4 x 6 black bound books with plenty of pages and no lines. I started it in the eighties. There are about thirty entries, but not for each year as you might think. I missed the nineties entirely. I became prolific in the early oughts when my parents were dying and the towers fell. I recently pulled it out to record my old age musings before I followed my parents to the grave. I still have many pages to fill so I’m probably not going anywhere soon. It’s absolute drivel, Betsy, but in the fire, I’ll grab it first.

  6. An entry here and there in notebooks where there’s grocery lists and old passwords and the plumber’s phone number.

    I blogged about this once and found that the same wish list scribbled in my high school journals persists:
    1) Have better posture
    2) Loose weight
    3) Become a Broadway star
    4) Figure out the meaning of life.
    Is it weird that I think a few of these things are still possible?

  7. First, I love that the lock colors are black, bronze, silver, pink, red, and “golden.”

    Anyway, I’ve never kept a diary or a journal, except for 9th grade, at the demand of Sister Toni Marie (age 81, teaching freshman English, with what we now would recognize as Parkinson’s). She actually collected and read them, too, and wrote shocked comments in the margin at my expressions of lust for Bonnie, the flaxen-haired beauty in my junior bowling league.

    I blog, and nobody reads that. I write novels, and nobody reads those. I send queries, and nobody reads those. So I guess I write for myself quite a lot.

  8. I’ve owned 2 diaries. The first, a faux-leather bound book with a flimsy lock, was kept while I was in elementary school. It chronicled eight years of childhood. Wish it hadn’t drowned in H. Katrina – I’m certain there were entries which could have settled many an argument between me and my siblings. The second was a journal – plain, dark blue cover and unlined pages – that I started when I got married. Anticipating this to be my wonderful, HEA story, I spared no detail or thought. It quickly morphed, however, into a sad essay of how a marriage fails. Ironically, that diary survived the levee floods. It’s now tucked away -somewhere- with all the other bits of my past. For the foreseeable future, I’m content with the notes I scribble on wall calendars.

  9. I’ve tried, thinking it would make me a better writer, or somehow reveal something about my psyche I hadn’t seen before. But then I was afraid someone would find it and have proof of how deeply disturbed I am. Everything now has a fictional character in front of the words. Just in case I’m questioned in court, for some unforeseen reason.

  10. I kept a diary in Vietnam, one with gaps where things were “busy”. I still have it.

    Every sailing trip of any length, I keep a log with weather, position, and some comments. Pages are sometimes stained with water or coffee, and quick scribbles match rough conditions. There are praises for hot soup and cold sandwiches.

    I can look through old logs and remember the situations and feelings of those times, and things not in the log. That is a really cool thing for me.

    On a really small boat like SCAMP, the log is posted at anchor, or on the hill. If it’s rough, the log must wait.

  11. I haven’t kept a diary in years, and I no longer bother to start a new one because I’m certain I’d break that promise in weeks. Plus, I’d surely be disappointed in what I wrote. For me, it would be like blogging–but with less accountability and likely much more self-serving drivel.

    That said, I’ve always had this almost unhealthy interest in reading other people’s diaries. So…

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