Diaries - why do we read them? Other people's I mean. After all, between the pages of a diary, shouldn't the writer feel free to confide the darkest secrets, the wildest fantasies, safe in the knowledge that no over-curious Mum or jealous spouse can call them to account? So, what to do when we have to 'leave them behind'?
My life is a pretty mundane affair these days. Gone are the wildly hedonistic days of my university years (well, to be honest, one too many glasses of Bulmers cider at the Saturday Hop or submitting a Chaucer essay one day late hardly qualifies as hedonism).
Love, marriage and career gave rise to some meatier stuff it's true, but once children came along, the entries chronicle milestones like first teeth, tenmper tantrums in Tesco (theirs not mne) and GCSE grades. Still, with more time to reflect now, I do use my diary as confdante and confessional. Which is why I have instructed my son and daughtert to dispose of my diaries post mortem- without reading them. Would they want to know I hated Strictly? Could either of them be bothered that I didn't like Sally's tarte tatin or that I was bored rigid by Jane Campion's film The Piano? Of course not. But it's a question of privacy.
Much better then to write a fictional diary like Diary of an (Almost) Baby Boomer. and let Stella Hart dish the dirt on her life.
eIf I could write like any of my favourite authors, who would I choose?Would I like to emulate the quiet understated deceptivel simplicity of Ann Tyler? Or would I like to be another Lisa Jewell, full of interesting insights into human behaviour, conveyed with humour ?
On balance, the choice would be to write like Kate Atkinson - always original, multi layered and textured, with stories that fuse the past with the presentand give us insights into the human condition,
At first when I read Life After Life I rebelled necause it wasn't more of Jackson Brodie, but revisiting the novel a few months ago, I couldn't believe its scope and range. A God in Ruins gives us another angle on many of the same characters, told from Teddy's point of view, his war being the focal point.
Not long to wait for Transcription now which I've pre-ordered( never done that before - just couldn't wait to read it). An experience to savour I'm sure.
Do you write a diary or journal? Yes, me too. Have done for the past forty years or so with some gaps in between. Although none of mine would ever claim to be sensational enough to read on the train, as Oscar wrote in The Importance of Being Earnest, a fictionalised diary gave me the chance to soup up ordinary events, add some pzazz and a touch of wishful thinking.
There are terrific literary precedents for this The Diary of a Nobody, Diary of a Provincial Lady, one of my all-time favourites, more recently Bridget Jones and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
In my DIARY OF AN (ALMOST) BABY BOOMER, I am to some extent Stella Hart, on the verge of a Big Birthday, coming to terms with life, family and aging.
Read all about it on Amazon. Some of it may actually be true!