Early Writings: Dear Diary

The annoying thing about writing is that you have to have something to say. 

Of course it helps to be able to have honed the skill of prose (and I'm not saying I have yet), because you can't get very far without that. But even though beautiful prose is a joy, I don't think it's what compels us to keep reading. It's the message, isn't it? You might say that it's also the story, but then again, aren't stories just messages about life, told in an entertaining, compelling manner?  

I've been pondering my own objectives as a wannabe writer as I make my way through the childhood boxes my parents sent over, as they contain 13 diaries, as well as a lot of my early writing attempts (just wait until you hear about the start of a novel called Thunder Under The Sun). But first, let's talk about my diaries. The first one, which I've already made my way through, was not long, but is equal parts funny and painful to read. Apart from the sheer cringe factor, it's incredibly difficult to observe the way in which I viewed our baffling world. Everything is black and white, and there's a sharpness in my environment that I couldn't quite understand due to, well, being a child (I'm almost eight in the first set of entries). But I suppose that's what also makes the entries funny. 

For example, I remembered when reading through the entries that it was at that age that my Mom had to be at work earlier than my Dad, so he used to get me ready to go to school. But there must have been mornings he couldn't, and it seems I went over to our neighbor's house on those days. It emerges that I have taken a real disliking to this arrangement. Why? My indignance at my friend's mom's insistence that I blow my nose (I will keep my grammar and spelling true to the diaries -- there's no messing with perfection): 

"I was unsure I wanted to go. We had brefast I tried not to exspress my feelings and I'm good at it but I had not wanted to go. So I went. Almost every munit she'd ask me to blow my nose I felt like she didn't like me. I was glad I left to go to school."

I'm sure our neighbor was glad when I left too -- who wants a snotty kid hanging around? And what a little stoic, good at not expressing my feelings. I feel like that might have been a tiny exaggeration on my side. 

Another interesting point from -- let's call it -- Volume 1, is the fact that my difficulties with mornings began at an early age. Most entries seem to begin with this irritating waking-up stuff. Even when friends were sleeping over:

"Heidi was sleeping over a I woke up when my mother woke me up. I was not awake Heidi and I where fast a sleep." 

I was a very tired girl, it would seem:

"today my mother woke me up (and I still feel tirad)"

Also, apparently I was interested in financial services from an early age:

"and then my father took me to the bank and the lumber yard and the amp [American supermarket chain A&P]. then we went home and I had ravioli and apple sauce and bread. then my father took me to his work. So I took along pick up sticks and a car and a ballet doll so I had fun exploring [large American financial institution] and Linc showed me how to put a tape in a computer."

It was the 1980s. Seems like work with Dad was much more fun than with Mom though. One entry ends with: 

"That night we went to a boring meeting." 

Clearly not as good as earlier in the day when I was making cookies, rollerskating and playing with dolles [sic] with a friend.

I'm pretty sure I didn't have much to say in my early journaling -- not that my lunch wasn't incredibly interesting -- but at least I was starting to exercise the observational muscle. 

Stay tuned, as I plan to keep exploring writing through the perspective of my early attempts at it. If I can stand continuing to read my "work". As I said before, the cringe factor is a strong one -- I may end up being pretty selective with what I reveal, as you can only imagine.

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