Every new year companies distribute diaries to their clients, people gift diaries to their friends. What I see the most of the time at least here, is the wastage of the diary. Blank pages of the diaries are kept blank. The most of the times those are used to take class notes, used to keep home expenditure log, or other calculations. Some write poetry and stories in the diary, and also some write daily schedules, or office appointments in a diary, which I think is a good use. But I have never seen any person whom I know, write diary in a diary.

From childhood I had a fascination to write diary. I tried writing diary as far as I remember when I was in some class 3 or 4, at the age 8 – 9 . I tried writing diary both in English and in Bengali, but failed to continue, as normal, as I did not have any such topic and probably did not have enough patience. It was not before class 8 at age 13 I started writing diary in a proper way. The first year of diary writing does not have much entries, but as time went on it was going scheduled. At present I have 4 diaries spanning 7 years of history starting at 9th May 2003, the first entry, and till today it has 407 entries, spanning 4 diaries, ending at 14th May 2010 counting a total of 2564 days of use till today.

I have not seen any diary except in movies, and stories written in diary format. Most of the diaries shown in the movie are ridiculous, and I cannot find any similarities between my one and those.

Although it does not have many entries (407) when compared to the number of days used (2564 days till now), it carries significant value for me. 7 year is not much time, but my diary is something like a video recording of the past. Some times I read my diary like a story book, and sometime I have to look at it to get some information from the history when I need. For example, if I want to get back the days of Madhyamik Class 10 Board examinations, I can go back to those days. I can playback the days in Egypt, and go back into the tourist bus beside El’ Bazar near Giza, where I wrote an entry. Or if someone challenged about some date, I can also check the dates from the diary and get confirmed about it.

I have seen people who keeps huge interest in others diaries. It’s natural to try peek inside the diary in search of some ‘secret’ and some ‘masala’ (spice). People starts to read the entries and expects to get some ‘secret’ from those as in movies. I think diary is not a place to keep any ‘secrets’ if it at all exists. Secrets or certain feelings are kept within. The diary is just the reflection of a certain state of the mind which will trigger that particular feeling by taking you back to that time. Let me describe. If I am very tensed and am in some very bad situation, when I make an entry in the diary, the language and the way of writing will reflect what my state of mind is, and when I re-read it I can get the same feeling of that situation. Similarly happy relaxed moments are captured in the pages. Writing directly about the feelings with poetic language, does not help at least for me, because as long you cannot take your mind to that state of mind back in time whatever you write you cannot get the feeling.

The diary for me is the almost second me, more precisely it is 1.5 me. It’s another person with whom I can have a chat, with whom I can talk, and the best part he is the ideal person with whom I can communicate whatever, and I do not have to express to make him understand what I want to say. I can make him understand whatever I want with the slightest change of expression, which will be definitely overlooked by someone else. Sharing the good moments with that person inside the book makes the moments even better, and talking about the bad moments, helps calming down and get into a good positive way.

The media of writing diary is very important. Writing diaries in computer by typing in, is I think is a very bad idea. I never do this, and I will probably never write diaries in the computer. Choice of the diary is very important. I like hard bound medium-sized diaries with pages with lots of writing space. If the hard bound cover has a soft rexin or leather cover then its perfect for me.

Now the question, what I write in my diary. My diary does not have any real value to other people, and could not be published as an autobiography when I die. It has no literature value, and simply has descriptions of events what happens when, and what I did, or some friend of mine did etc, simply a time line describing. Some times some entry contains some serious discussions, or describes a certain complex state of my mind. I have a certain writing pattern and some constraints to include events, and names of persons while writing. This highlights the important events in the history and filters out the unnecessary smaller parts.
A person cannot lie to himself/herself . So it is expected that all the information written in the diary are true. Yes I follow this, and I do not need to lie in my life too. Although if I do not want to lie I do not give any kind of information on that subject. Because this is not some text written to be read by someone else, only the indication of a certain topic is enough to make myself understand what I wanted to say at that time.

I have an interesting part in my diary. I have special diary codes, which cannot to read by someone else. Although a forensic investigation will reveal the code. I have created the first diary secret code at the first day of my diary entry. As time passed I have developed much more difficult codes, and which I still remember and make use of. But the usage of diary codes have come down these days, because I depend on my writing patterns to express what I want to say, that directly write something in code. The code is good to keep the passwords written, and the account recovery questions in the diary.

My one do not have poetry, pictures drawn or wasted pages in my diary. I have a very strict entry style. I write the date in dd,mm,yy then the month and the day of the week in words, and start writing the entry. I do not limit the length of the entry. A signature terminates the entry. One thing I really feel is very bad about my diary is my handwriting. It is different in different dates, and most of them are unreadable.

I do not keep up any schedule for writing diaries. Whenever I have mood of writing I write, when I feel I should write and have a chat with the person inside that book. Sometimes there are long pause between two entries, and which I do not like, because a lot of information are lost in that period.

Along with the diaries I have tickets, restaurant bills, movie tickets from the past kept between the diary pages. For example we went to see the Michael Jackson’s “This is It” in the movie hall, and I have the ticket of that movie in my latest diary. So when I read that particular entry I can also view the ticket, or the associated document to that entry. The bad part of this thing is that a lot of papers were lost from the diary. But I keep inserting the interesting stuffs inside the diary. Whatever it be, even a paper with scribbling can go inside the diary, because that paper with the scribbling on it describes a small corner of time in my life, and which I can have a look at a later time.

Another part of the diary, and which is very important to me is the phone number page. I have the names of my friends written on them, irrespective of age. I copy the old list along with new numbers in my new diary, and when copying I maintain a secret ordering of the names. New names are appended and has no special ordering. These two phone number pages are of immense use. I need to check these pages when I need to phone any of my friend whose number I cannot remember. And oh, I do not use a mobile phone (till now), so I cannot press the up button twice (or n times) and press the small green button.

The best book to learn from is my diary. From it you can learn your previous mistakes. For example lets say 3 years back if you did something or thought something which you though it was right at that time, after three years you can have a look at that state of mind and you might come to a conclusion that what you thought back at that time was not correct. The inverse is also possible. Looking at the history helps recover from the errors which I did before, and correct it. And if I fail, or struggle to correct them at least I am aware of them.

The diary is a place of greatest entertainment. When I open the first page of the first diary it’s like starting a movie. Read the entries and imagine the images stored in your mind and you will go back to time, and clearly see what was going on at that time. The best part is you can fast forward or rewind or even pause, make the time slow whatever you want while visualising, just like a media player.

In my opinion a handful of still pictures would help the diary enhance, but definitely not a movie. Movies are pointless, and steals the imagination out from one’s mind. With a still photo you can go back to that place in your mind and rerun that patch of time however you want. I keep the stills in my computer, properly organized. They are really cool.

I would like keeping up writing diaries trying to make the writing better which enhance and polish the mirror of time and I would also hope that I do not lose any of them. I also want to see how it feels when I read the first or second diary after a long time in the future.

For the readers, do you write a diary? Or ever wrote a diary in the past? If yes I can say that you are enjoying it. I would also ask them to share their experiences writing diaries. and those who does not write diary, I would ask them to at least try once, it might feel bad at the first, and you may write crap stuff, but believe me, as time passes it would get better and you would understand th value of the diary yourself.

Note: This is my first non-technical blog post. I am not good in general writing so please bear with the language, and the way of my writing.

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13 thoughts on “Me and My Diary

  1. Hi Arjun,
    It is nice to keep a record for yourself. I have tried in the past to keep a diary, but failed. I guess the closest thing to keeping a diary or journal I do is, I buy the extra large calendars and jot down notes on them, and draw on them also.
    Great non-technical blog post =)

    1. Do you also preserve them like me? I think preserving large calenders are difficult. A Diary or some kind of notebook is handy and can be multi-used.

  2. Your writing style is good. This post can be included as a chapter in a language textbook of class 7 – 12 with the title unchanged. Not joking ……seriously.

  3. I have been blogging in a “private” blog (diary) for 6 years. I love it. It amounts to talking to myself and it’s amazing what insight I have gained into the inner me by journaling and knowing that I’m the only reader. Previous to having this private blog I tried to keep hard copy diaries from time to time but always drifted away from them. The online one still draws me back because regardless of what condition my condition is in when I reread entries I experience “eureka” moments.

    I do have a personal development and growth blog on a domain in a wordpress.org install too. However, before I began it 3 years ago I asked all my close freinds an family how they would feel about me writing about them in it and posting their pictures. They all said NO! I thought about their response and then walked around a bit in their slippers for a few minutes. Then I realized that if the question had been put to me I also would have said NO!

    So I thinking keeping a private personal diary is a very useful tool for finding out what’s beneath the surface ie. what’s actually going on in your subconscious mind and learning and growing and making course adjustments from what you find out about you. And I think if you are keeping a public diary that you ought to be cautious about what you include in it. These days people can be hired and fired based on what post online and identity theft is also a serious concern.

    1. What ever media it be the this is the same, but with different feel. There is always a difference in typing and writing. For me writing a diary is a better feel. A private blog as a diary is a good idea. Public diaries are nothing but worthless content to others (if it is not of some celebrity), and also pose future risks (as you have pointed out). In a physical diary i get the feel of time, which a digital copy does not get me.

      And it’s great to know that another person also maintain a diary. Keep this practice up, it will bring infinite happiness in future.

  4. Phoxis, I really liked this! I have kept a diary since I was a child, maybe 12 years old, and I think I have written nearly every day of my life since then, barring a few years of black hole in my life late 20’s. We’re talking close to 40 years of writing by now. The paper ones written by hand up to that time were destroyed, deliberately, during those black hole years – I thought I didn’t want anyone to find them, they might misunderstand and/or be hurt by my candor – which was meant only for me, not for public. For the past 15 years or so I’ve kept them electronically (but not on internet – on my hard drive) because my hand writing is so bad… they are, as Timethief says, a good way to talk to yourself without being perceived as the madwoman on the bus nattering to herself. As I have been alone all my life, it has been my sounding board – by getting these things outside of myself, where I could look at them somewhat impersonally, I’ve been able to sort out and make better sense of things that were too confusing when they were swirling around inside my skull. I use the diary also to sort out dreams – both the night time ones, and the waking daydreams. Last summer, in my public blog, I wrote a little bit about what was happening for me personally, trying to find my niche in the wine trade, but was conscious of it being public, and of friends reading whom I did not want to worry, so I kept those entries very light and positive or spoke evasively of disappointments, which felt odd to me. I don’t think I will do much public blogging on personal matters, not only for Timethief’s reasons of privacy and reputation, but because I don’t like to write not-candid things, feels a little pointless. Take care, Phoxis, and keep writing.

    1. Hello Cynthia. It was very good to know that you are writing a diary for such a long time.
      Its almost like, you are deleting the image of yourself when you destroy your diary. I think it is better to use a diary code for those sensitive information, then only you could read it, and if you forget to decode it then only those part are gone. I agree with you that you cannot write elsewhere what you can write in a diary, because the diary is a copy of your self hidden inside that book, and when you talk to that person it acts as your have a 100% compatibility and as i have said in the post, the slightest change of emotion or the style of writing will tell you what you want to say, which goes undetected for the other readers. For the electronic version of the diary, i think it is needed for you as you write everyday and are writing for a long time, so it is difficult to preserve all those hard-back paper diaries.
      Thank You very much for stopping by and sharing your experience.

  5. My diary’s first date is 1st Jan,2000. 13yrs but i write diaries only on those days when i feel its something special. I write short stories,poems,experiences,articles,emotions. But since 2009,its my laptop where i write diary. But i do preserve the old diaries. Liked ur format but mine is totally different.

    1. Great to know that you maintain diaries. Ya, different people maintain a different format. These days I am feeling to move to digital version, but the feel of the pen and paper version is something different and special :D .

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