Dear Diary…

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I’ve never had the discipline to keep a daily diary; for one thing, it’s always seemed like such an enormous commitment of time, and I also suspect I’d soon grow bored with my own ramblings. I do carry around a couple of notebooks where I jot down random thoughts and observations (an idea for a short story, for example, or a funny conversation I overheard on the train). But it’s hardly a regular thing.

Nonetheless, I love learning about the methods people use to preserve their daily lives. In a comment to last week’s post about the new QV Memoriae journals, I found out about a service called LifeOnRecord, which enables would-be diarists to create an audio journal by calling in their thoughts on telephone. For some people, blogs serve as informal online diaries. So do scrapbooks.

And then there are the diary hybrids. A friend’s grandfather used his diary to painstakingly record each purchase he made that day. My own grandparents shared a diary in which they took turns narrating various milestones of their children’s lives: “Today Inga climbed up the stairs by herself for the first time”… “Today Harald’s first tooth broke through on the bottom right side of his jaw” (by the time they got to their fourth child, they’d pretty much abandoned the practice). A family friend encouraged people to write down a couple of thoughts in her notebook every time they visited; she lived alone, and that way she could read what they had written whenever she got lonely.

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