• 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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The Words She Knows the Tune She Hums


Hi-res Safety Pin , isolated with clipping path

I know people write diaries for themselves, but I still feel there is something vaguely performative about it. For instance, you don’t just write without any attention to style, word choice, tone, narrative. Sometimes I even use asides and dialogue. I don’t want anyone to read my diary, but I still give it some shape, some wit, some beginnings, middles and ends. Will someone find it after I’m dead? Toss it in a Hefty bag and that is that? Whenever I read the diary of a famous writer, I always feel as if he or she was writing it for me.

Who is your diary for?

9 Responses

  1. Shame is most schools not even teaching cursive anymore. My friend’s grandson had a hard time reading something that was in cursive. So maybe when that generation is older many won’t be able to read a diary written in script.

  2. If I had a diary, I’d probably lie to myself and say it’s for me, no one else – while knowing as long as I was alive, I’d be thinking about how someone MIGHT read it after I’d kicked the bucket. Therefore, in the case of possible discovery posthumously, I’d likely spend too much time explaining my side of things, my life/my reasonings/my thoughts/my POVs – within reason*. Yes, to the dialogue, yes to word choice, tone, narrative – all of that, because I’d also want them to think I was interesting, or at least had an interesting life.

    *This is why I don’t do diaries. I cringe at the idea of putting down my innermost thoughts, the sort of thoughts we all have, the ones we would never speak out loud.

  3. Certainly written for me, as a trim of split ends. But always and I mean always with the knowledge that one of my kids will read it after I am gone. It’s bathroom reading. It’s a snapshot of one moment in time. It’s on the floor to be swept and thrown away with the rest of the detritus of my life.

  4. “Who is your diary for?”

    For me it would be “was” — who was my diary for? I kept it when I was a teen. For a long time I didn’t question who it was for. It was for me then, a safe place where I could say whatever I wanted. But even then, I knew it wasn’t completely safe. There were some things I would never tell, not even my diary.

    It was also a place where I could keep a record I could return to later, to rework into fictionalized tales. That was a goal I gave to it when I was barely into my teens — to tell what happened, bear witness.

    It was to make me feel special, to make me feel important. To make me feel like I had one true and understanding friend.

    It wasn’t until many years later that I finally realized who it was for. It was for the man I would become, so he could look back and see who he was when he was young, see the vanished world that had been for him the entirety of existence.

    Hello! Hi, it’s me back here. I’m waving, not drowning. I’m lighting up a cigarette, lighting up a joint, stealing a kiss or a candy bar, telling someone I would never dare to tell to their face what in this passing moment I think I truly think of them. I’m walking to school with the gang, I’m going to rehearsals for the play, cutting class, going to the movies, getting laid in my mom’s car or my dad’s van, hating myself, hating the world, loving never wisely nor well. Aren’t you glad you wrote it all down?

  5. Until you asked, I had not given this enough thought. I suppose my journals are the most passive of therapists: a one-time monetary investment, I am given complete freedom to express my emotions, fears and puzzlements (albeit in the silence of writing) without the need to schedule any appointments. That content, reexamined over the years, has given me insight into why my marriage failed, provided some clues into choices I have made and provided fodder for a book series I am currently peddling. My more recent journal entries, though, are helping me address several serious family crises. I may have to burn those pages, however, as a final act of release.

  6. “Ballerina/You Musta Seen Her/Dancin’ In The Sand.” Ballet: God’s Geometry, The Theology Of The Human Body. Happily Addicted To Classical & Neo-Classical; None Of This Modern Dance Bit. Sean X

  7. I’ve kept a handwritten journal (not quite the same as a diary) for 35+ years. It was always for me. It was note taking and story development and pencil work prior to putting the effort into actual writing. But it was/is also a chance for me to fume or muse or ramble. Still, it was always for me. Recently my adult son said he was eager to read my journals after I died. That put the chill in my entries. When I thought I might have an outside audience, I think I became much more uncertain about what I could put on the page. Now I’m thinking I should burn my journals.

    • This exact thing happened to me and I did burn tons of journals in response. It was very freeing to burn them, which surprised me. I still keep a written journal with non-threatening entries. For the good stuff, the super intense rants or bitch fests, I have a Word document hidden in my computer., password protected. I love it! When I’ve had enough of myself, I hit select all/delete. I don’t worry nearly as much now.

  8. My cat.
    Because she can’t read.
    I plan on destroying them all soon since no one should have to journey through my jungle mind when I am gone.

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