Monday, 27 October 2008

A Diary does not have to begin on January 1st.

The Writers' Group to which I belong set this title as our exercise for the November meeting. It has not been as easy one to do. But I have done it and set it out below for you to read.

November 23rd 1831. "This has been a very important day in the annals of the Beagle; at one o'clock she was loosed from her mooring and sailed about a mile to Barnet pool." So wrote Charles Darwin at the start of his momentous journey which was to shake Victorian society to its core.
20th August 1933. Robert Byron who wrote"The Road to Oxiana" started his diary of the journey through the Middle East with the words, "Venice - went to the Lido this morning." Not an inspiring entry but it did get better as he trecked through Iran and Syria.
George Orwell most probably began his diary on Wednesday 30th July 1938 - although many of his early entries are very pedestrian (cool and misty day here).
February 7th 1796 "Today has John and I bin wed this 3 yere." This first entry in "Diary of a Farmer's Wife 1796 - 7".
Of course some famous diaries did begin on January 1st. Samuel Pepys began his on a cheerful note "Blessed be God at the end of last year, I was in very good health."
I can quite see why Edith Holden began her Edwardian Diary in January - she was a superb sketcher and how exciting to start with bare branches, ploughed fields, fallen leaves.
For most of us New Year's Day suggests a new beginning. We can clear our minds, clear the decks, make a new start. Most of us have had diaries in our Christmas stockings so why not start to catalogue our daily doings - we usually stop before February.
Luckily the people I have mentioned wrote diaries which have stayed the course and made fascinating reading down the years. I think it is as well that our stocking diaries rarely get past the end of the month. For a diary needs to be started on the day when the writer has something to say.

14 comments:

Cait O'Connor said...

Lovely.
I came here via Edward and I shall return again, I share a lot of your interests.

Mistlethrush said...

Interesting post. And the question is: does a diary need an for entry every day?

Annie Wicking said...

What an interesting post, Weaver. I've always kept a journal which I don't writing in everyday but I do pick it up and fill in when I'm inspire to do so. It very interesting to read back over what was happening at the same time a year or two years back. It so easy to forget what was happening when.

Best wishes,

Annie

elizabethm said...

I use my blog like a diary particuarly about the garden and kitchen produce. It is great to look back and read what was happening a year ago. I also keep a more detailed garden diary on paper.
Liked your take on diaries!

Janice Thomson said...

My poetry is very much a diary too since I only write experiences in my life. Sometimes it's interesting to go back a couple years and read of the things that were happening then. An actual journal I've never kept. Good post Weaver.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I could never keep a diary. Having only oneself as a reader seems to encourage whining. I do enjoy the writing I do here in blogland, however. It helps to remove some of the words clanging around inside my head!

Red Clover said...

All excuses gone now. Write, write world, and see what comes of it all.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the visit cait - shall now visit you.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Mistlethrush - I don't think it does - I really feel it only needs to be when you have something worth saying. Some of George Orwell's entries are very pedestrian.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comment annie - yes I did mean you when I said I found it hard to leave a comment. Glad to hear you are receiving them!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes elizabeth - gardening diaries are in a different league I think. I know someone who logs every single happening in the garden and it makes really interesting reading.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Janice for the comment. If one can be consistent about writing it then I agree that it is really good to be able to read what one was doing several years ago.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pamela I do think that in a way a blog is a kind of diary. And I do so agree about keeping a diary just for oneself. (pity Edward can't read)

The Weaver of Grass said...

red clover - excuses are the bane of every writer's life!