While I’m pretty happy these days with the fact that my birthstone is the yellow-green Peridot, it hasn’t always been the case. Years ago, I had a little blue dictionary that included the birthstones for each month. Of all the colorful and flashy stones, I got stuck with one that was my least favorite color. Move forward many decades and I’ve looked a little deeper into the gem and found that it is a potent love amulet. What better birthstone for a romance author? Incidentally, green is one of my favorite colors these days. Anytime I can watch something grow, including gladiolus the month’s official flower, I’m a happy girl.
I’m sure I wrote all of this down somewhere in a diary that has been lost in one of my many moves. It’s what kids do. Maybe someday, someone will find one of my rambling tomes and discover what life was like during the sixties through the eyes of someone who experienced a rural community and a playtime that didn’t end when the sun went down but well after the lightening bugs came out.
I’ve often thought that these are the bits of bobs of what explains the ordinary, everyday life of people who aren’t Presidents or Generals or people of science but just as important, just as relevant. I had a very astute English teacher one year who requested that we read excerpts of Samuel Pepys diary. His account of the Great Fire of London on September 2, 1666 hooked me from the beginning. I started to understand that history was more than facts and figures and heads of state.
I love collecting diaries and the ones I’ve read are like love letters from the past, written by the people who lived their lives writing down what was important to them at the time. Every influence is evident, not only how they view their family and society but why. A child during war might remark that there are very few treats or laughter while an adult in the same household might record that food is scarce and they don’t know how they’ll feed everyone from day to day.
There is a certain amount of respect that I have for each diary that I’ve ever perused. These are the private thoughts that someone held dear; no matter what their age. I read them as such and have laughed and cried over triumph and tragedy and wondered what happened to the people who wrote them.
Years ago, Julia Cameron wrote about the artist’s journey and advised starting the day with morning pages, which is about as close as I come to keeping a diary, these days. Like most who journal, I don’t think my thoughts are interesting to anyone but me. Most of the time I’m writing about what I should be writing and I usually end up jotting down lines of dialogue or outlining a new project. Why it would interest anyone else, I can’t imagine but my children might get a chuckle one of these days. It’s always nice to amuse the family.
How about you? Does anyone else keep diaries, these days?
Until next month,