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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dear Diary...

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,
Happy Reading!

Paris Brandon


Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Paris. Last time I kept a diary was when I was a kid. Now, I put my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and what happens in my life into my characters in my novels. They're definitely me (or parts I wished were me). ;)

Cara Marsi said...

Paris, peridot isn't my birthstone, but I love peridot. I have a peridot ring, several pairs of earrings, and a necklace. Green is also my favorite color. I have several green handbags, several pairs of green sandals, and green clothing. When I was a redhead, orange was my fave color. Now that I'm blonde, I like green.

The Samuel Pepys diary sounds intriguing. I'd love to read it. Enjoyed your post.

Melissa Keir said...

I agree with Tina. I don't have a diary. I've used my computer to word process through reflections, even came up with enough for a book. But most of my anxiety, dreams and wishes become those of my characters. After all, where else can I become a police detective without dealing with the physical challenges of that career!

Judy Baker said...

Peridot is my son's birthstone and I always loved the color - and I do love the color green. Matter of fact, I looking for the perfect green purse for an upcoming trip. Thanks for sharing.

stanalei said...

I do keep a journal, and like you, Paris, it mostly chronicles my writing journey with what I should be doing or got done. And I'm not very consistent with it. But they are my thoughts and I have a sense of accomplishment when I do get a note or two down.

jean hart stewart said...

I used to be faithful about keeping a diary, but gave it up. Reading through it made me realize my life wasn't all the recordable. I much prefer putting my thoughts and longings into the voices of my characters.

Paris said...


Thank you so much for all of your lovely comments, today!

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