On Keeping a Diary and Keeping It

I had a better night last night (thanks for asking) and another vivid dream. This time I was on holiday somewhere with another woman, someone older than me who I didn’t know very well. We were on our way to the beach (at least I was) when I lost my car keys. She was much more anxious about this than I was and gave me a lift back to our holiday home to get the spare keys. I missed out on going to the beach twice but managed to get on with some very satisfying work in the meantime.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is about lockdown. I didn’t get to go to the coast this year, though we had a couple of dates pencilled in; I’ve hardly used the car at all and I’ve done lots of really good work. In many ways lockdown has been like a holiday for me, though I do recognise it’s been awful for many people.

The novel, having been finished in draft form, is now gently simmering on the back burner while I get on with other stuff. Yesterday I sent off a poetry pamphlet to Mslexia and I’m getting another one together for future use. I expect I’ll get back to short stories but in the meantime I’m doing a lot of what I call ‘diary’ writing.

I don’t keep a diary in the usual sense as a record of events. It will not surprise readers of this blog to know that I can’t keep to one topic but go off in dozens of different directions, and that’s how it is with my diary. Though I do record some events in it (it’s my daily practice to write something at the end of each day) it’s more about how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking. But it’s also a place for ideas, snatches of poetry, dialogues (especially recording some of the whackier things OH comes out with) plans and anything else I haven’t yet thought of. I never go away without it and I always know where it is should I need to write something down in the middle of the night.

I’ve kept a diary like this since 1984. Sadly I don’t have the original notebooks as I found I was re-reading them too much and threw them out, but I do have stacks going back at least to the 90’s. I’m trying to keep them in some sort of order now and even though I rarely look back at them, they are a record of my life and thought. I can pull one out and read where I was at, say, ten years ago: what was I thinking? What were my preoccupations? Often they reveal anxieties that are now long-gone, things I’ve grown out of. It’s like looking at old photos. Who was I hanging out with in 1995? What were my hopes and fears? What was my daily routine? It’s good to have these diaries because you forget so much.

So that’s us up to date. How are you doing?

Kirk out

3 thoughts on “On Keeping a Diary and Keeping It

  1. Thank you for asking 😀 I had a lovely long walk into town this morning [about 5k] with my daughter, son in law and lovely granddaughter, who is now teething; a huge mocha [necessitating a couple of subsequent ‘comfort’ stops]; then a walk back including a diversion to help said daughter & pram up a vertiginous cobbled ‘bank’ [as they’re called locally] to get to a mother & baby session, then home, so around 10k in all, give or take. On the subject of dreams, I wish I could say mine were as coherent as yours: mine generally [although not exclusively, to be fair] tend to be [from what I can remember] a mixture of random and often bizarre events which leave me wondering, on waking, what on earth was going on while I was asleep, in a manner of speaking anyway. They don’t generally seem to have a direct correlation with current events, but I guess everybody’s different! Cheers, Jon.

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