Hello again. Been feeling a tad lethargic lately. Must be the weather; the grey skies. the S.A.D. effect perhaps, (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I've heard that mid-January is when we have a surge in suicides. Don't know how true this is; not something I've ever investigated - just heard it mentioned a couple of times on radio.
I shall be 75 on Tuesday 19th January and have outlived my father, mother and two of my younger brothers. I'm the eldest of five boys, all born twixt 19 Jan 1935 and 6 June 1945, so I guess I've been lucky thus far. Had some close calls over the years, what with Herr Hitler's Luftwaffe bombing Croydon for five scary years and various other events. Falling off a roof at age 12 and breaking my right wrist instead of my neck is an example.
We remember so many happenings in our lives but also forget much. Would a diary be worth reading had we kept one from an early age?
The answer is probably a resounding yes!
Blogging is a 'sort of' diary. Many millions now write a blog which, almost by definition (web log) is a diary. But it's a newish thing. Neither is a blog a personal diary (usually, that is). I am now reading a superbly engrossing book entitled 'Our Hidden Lives', which is a collection of personal diaries kept by 'ordinary' people during the post-war period in Great Britain. I find it fascinating and quite engrossing.
The award winning writer Simon Garfield has woven the diaries of five ordinary people, confronting the uncertain years following WW2 into a wonderful and evocative patchwork. (That sentence is an extract from the 'blurb' of this book).
The 5 diarists are Maggie Joy Blunt, a modern young woman who is bored out of her mind in a metal company in Slough.
George Taylor, a curmudgeonly accountant from Sheffield who gets annoyed when woken by fireworks celebrating the end of the war.
Edie Rutherford, Sheffield housewife and Socialist, who is always arging with her hairdresser.
B. Charles, a gay antiques dealer in Edinburgh and a horrific snob.
And finally Herbert Brush, London pensioner, active for his age, forever creosoting his garden fence and author of ambitious but appalling poetry.
None of these people knew each other and their diary entries are beautifully brought together to make a great book.
I kept a couple of notebook diaries for about 5 years. Not that I religiously made an entry every day, but never more that a gap of a week between entries. I have not kept a diary since 1983, but wonder if I should have done.
Perhaps I stopped because I sometimes wrote entries when I was in a dark mood, the 'black dog' mood that afflicted Winston Churchill to name but one such sufferer. Reading some entries now is quite a reminder of how 'low' I felt at times.
I recall that a well-known actress (whose name escapes me right now) once said: "Keep a diary, and one day it might keep you". That is a truism for many diarists - Pepys being the most well known, along with many politicians of course!
I love reading diaries of all sorts of people. I think they are fascinating. One of my favourites was the late Kenneth Williams, a comic actor and raconteur. His diaries were honest and so very sad as well. He took his own life a few years ago, pills and a bottle of spirits. His final entry: "What's the bloody point?" - meaning the point of his life. And what about the wonderful writings of Ann Frank? Such a lovely young girl, recording her days in hiding in Holland before being dragged off to a concentration camp where she died so cruelly young.
I wonder if YOU keep a diary?