Does anyone write diaries any more?
I wonder how many of us get diaries (not the calendar ones) as gifts any more or does anyone even write diaries any longer? Are we familiar with and do we really care for the diary writing genre? A diary is generally a daily personal record of what has transpired during the day and is for the author’s own use.
Anne Frank got immortalised through her diary and attained what she had desired. A year before her passing away from typhus in the Bergen-Belsen camp, she wrote, “I want to be useful or give pleasure to people around me who yet don’t really know me. I want to go on living even after my death!” Anne Frank was an incomparable spirit and began to write at the tender age of 13 about her experience, isolation, misery and longing. Mature for her years, Anne’s diary is a combination of both youth and maturity and depicts a flair for writing — she wanted to become a journalist. She captures the poignant spirit of beleaguered families in a world gone out of control. Anne Frank rewrote her diary in reaction to a broadcast from the Dutch government-in-exile asking for eyewitness accounts of the distress caused by the Nazi occupation.
In literature, a diary draws upon and contributes to the period in which they are written. Some diaries have gained significance as works of literature and tell us about the diarist’s efforts to write. In history, diaries provided vital information when the other sources got suppressed. The diary of Anne Frank acted as a silent observer of individual anguish and heroism and was fashioned for posterity.
Famous travellers, during ancient times, used to keep diaries of their journeys to various countries providing a glimpse into the ways of the world. In Japan, Sei Shonagon recorded her personal reflections on the imperial court in the Pillow Book, a famous compendium of delightful observations, sharp criticisms and humorous outbursts. Diaries kept by the famous and powerful politicians offer an insight into their lives. The diary form has been used by the novelists to add immediacy and legitimacy to accounts constructed from historical records.
The best way to write a diary is to have a conversation with it. The diary can be your confidante with whom you could share your highs and lows. It has proved to be an outlet for people to offload their feelings and share them with a make-believe person. A diary has be a combination of facts and feelings. Too many facts may make it seem like a simple entry of events and too many feelings could make it sloppy or even incoherent. A diary is written in the first person ‘I’ and may begin with talking about an incident or whatever feelings that may be transpiring in you or simply describing an incident and your reaction to it. Language used may be very conversational with a bit of the everyday usage thrown in. However, it’s always best to use good language whenever you write as it helps you hone your vocabulary and your writing skills.Its important to make your entries interesting, after all you are catering to an audience, the readers would be interested in reading something which would be related to real life experiences.
It may be a good idea to present your
reaction to something and then analyse the same so that there is an element of analysis presenting the pros and cons of reacting in a particular way to a certain type of behaviour. As children we do not understand the
behaviour of elders and a debate on reactions to parenting would be helpful — just an indicative tip, you could of course write on less mundane topics. Individual aspirations versus the surreal future would be an interesting line of thought. Like Anne says in her diary, “At the age of fourteen…how can you write about philosophy?” — yet she went on to discuss profound topics as freedom, courage and living after death.