Last night I finally caught up with my current diary; I hadn’t made any entries for several weeks and it was becoming a question of looking at the household engagement diary and copying dates. I hate the kind of diary which says “and then I did - - - - -, and then I went - - - - -, ” as much as I dislike blogs of that nature.
I have written diaries of one sort or another, my own and invented ones, for many years, starting as a child. I still write them now, by hand, in ordinary school exercise books, lined and with margins, the sort of exercise books used by morons, who write with tongue sticking out from between moist, slightly open lips, while mouthing each word as they press on their pencils to keep within the lines.
As a teenager I got into serious trouble because of it. I read a lot of unsuitable books from an early age and being a solitary child with a feverish imagination, I thought I could do as well, or better. Transferring some of the more insalubrious passages, in my own, still rather childish words, and altered to fit my ideas of the femme fatale I was training to become, to my own diaries, was good writing practice, I thought. And fun too, of course.
My mother thought differently. She must have been sneaking peeks at my various diaries for some time and when she came upon a passage describing adventures I really should not have known about, ( and actually didn’t, in reality) she made a very unfortunate comment in the diary, in large letters, across a whole page. Poor Mum. Finding this comment the next time I opened the diary was devastating for me.
The whole sorry episode ended with my mother feeling a complete and very angry fool and me tearing up the diaries.
I still read unsuitable books, but now I know what they are talking about and a purple passage stimulates my funny bone rather than erotic imagination. I also have first hand knowledge on the subject of my own to fall back on, when necessary.
Several years later, I re-started writing diaries until I now have a whole wooden chest full of be-scribbled paper and exercise books. I used to hide them, although I know that there were others who found them and occasionally read them, until I found a new hiding place. I got my revenge on mum by writing in a language she couldn’t read and on an ex-husband by writing in shorthand and in a foreign language, adapting the one to the other, just in case.
It must have been infuriating for them.
Only once did I forgive an uninvited reader and that was when an entry was used to trace me in an emergency. But that really is a very private story.
I am very happy that I no longer need to hide any writing, imagined or factual.