Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What's in a Diary?

A diary, generally meant to be private, tends to be one of the most revealing, soul-baring, explicitly honest, treasure chest of desires, dreams, secrets, hopes, fears, frustrations...the describing words could go on and on. Being one who has kept a diary on and off throughout her lifetime, I cringe at the thought of many of my words going public. Yet, at the same time, it is not my worst fear in life. Would I be embarrassed about most of it? Most likely. I realize, though, that the words I wrote then and those I write now are a true reflection of where I was in life and where I am in life.

One of my favorite writers, Anais Nin, writes about her passion and drive for writing in this excerpt from her diary. I love her honesty. Her vulnerability. Her ambition. Her passion.


Yesterday afternoon I wrote a short story. Suddenly, unexpectedly, a great many ideas have come to me and I receive them with pleasure, as this doesn't often happen. When the story was finished, I got busy and copied it carefully. I fell asleep last night dreaming that I had taken it to a publisher who frightened me terribly and told me that I could do better. And now today, obsessed by that dream, I wrote another one that is much better. I am a tiny little bit discouraged because I write rather like a child, not like a lady, and I haven't yet been able to correct that. I have only one aim: as soon as I am in New York, I will type my story on the machine and putting all my sensitiveness and especially my fear of being ridiculous to one side, I will really go to see that terrible publisher...It's strange how this real ambition has suddenly come to life. For a long time I have written nothing except my diary, and I had somewhat lost hope of ever becoming an author. It's my French that worries me, but lo and behold, I have English at my disposal now, and I can write it better than any other language! Furthermore, I am here in the great country of opportunity, so I can try. And what enthusiasm is tied to this dream of hope and ambition! I have never taken lessons in how to write stories, I never went very far in school, and yes, there is a lot of discouragement, things that make me feel doubts about my career, but also there is that inexplicable something that I was born with it, and little by little experience will teach me all the things that I lack.

~Anais Nin, September 1, 1919

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