My love affair with the diary started at age seven. My first was a birthday gift – white, printed with mini hearts and stars, with pepto-pink pages, and an indestructible gold lock that had exactly two pop-tab sized keys. I hid them in the most unimaginably secret locations, checked them twice a day, and rotated them to new clandestine hiding spots at least twice a week (a girl can’t be too careful when it comes to guarding her top 5).
The diary instantly became my place to confide, confess, rant, rejoice, dream, dwell, and describe my un-poetic life without reservations, and my secret affair is as strong today as it was the moment I unwrapped my first edition. With time, I’ve graduated from my Disney-themed journals, to faux-leather-bound notebooks, to mini moleskins, that have accompanied me around the world. They’ve shared my take-offs and landings, tables for one, unpredictable bouts of insomnia, and about a thousand-and-one frothy lattes in cafes from Toronto to Tanzania.
And then I was hit with a question, one that probably strikes every closet novelist, journalist, and poet, who put their pen to the modest pages of a notebook. For whom are we writing these diaries? I ran across the idea in Orwell’s 1984, and the question bothered me enough to think over my own behaviour. Are we supposed to be writing for future generations? Or for a future self? Are we humbly hoping to inspire people to learn from our mistakes?
Or maybe we’re driven by a simpler, inglorious, selfish desire to prove that, despite the triviality of our daily routine, something happened.