Oh my! A week from today I will be in ROME with the lovely Alessandra! I can hardly believe it and so must redouble my efforts to make sure everything that needs to be done is done. Deep breath. I can do it! Yes, yes. But I’m so excited 🙂 and yes, doubtless I will have one of my many travel journals with me to record everything. Well, not everything — that’s never possible. However, I agree with Socrates about that unexamined life thing. I tend to write in my journal in the morning when I first wake up, sometimes capturing a dream before it fades. I find it an extraordinary gift to be able to see parts of my past in such vivid detail in my old journals. It’s never too late to start up!
The Value of Telling Your Own Story
Even if no one else every reads them, there’s value in recording our own histories.
In one of those zeitgeist ripples, BBC Radio 4 was completing the second series of its programme My Teenage Diary when the Morgan Library and Museum opened its exhibition, The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Life. While we tend to focus on the journal writing of famous people—hoping they unveil juicy secrets or heretofore unknown connections between the public and private spheres—the fact is diary writing remains a great resource for anyone. Inappropriate thoughts, fears, fantasies, hopes, goals can all fill the pages of the diary without repercussion. It’s like a best friend but without the dubious advice and possibility of gossip.
As the curator for the Morgan writes,
For centuries, people have turned to private journals to document their days, sort out creative problems, help them through crises, comfort them in solitude or pain, or preserve their stories for the future. As more and more diarists turn away from the traditional notebook and seek a broader audience through web journals, blogs, and social media, this exhibition explores how and why we document our everyday lives.
The advantage of being able to manage the divide between public and private in our revelations has only increased the use of online blogs and journals. The tension between the privacy locks you can put on your LiveJournal and the brash confidence of letting your thinking evolve aloud in the public forum of a blog has changed many of the ways we divide public and private space…