In all that time of not putting fingertip to keyboard, I have been pondering what Ophelia Days would write if she had a diary (and the ability to write in one). Each day life is enacted out before her, sometimes involving her, sometimes not. She is witness to the laughs, the tears, the arguments, the make ups, the mundane and the exciting. As a busy and fairly useless keeper of records of our family life I sometimes wish she had the ability to document it all so we could look back and smile. But she can't and she doesn't so its down to me. One has to weigh up though the dilemma of recording the school play for posterity or just being in the moment and watching and enjoying it. We are inundated with ways of recording our lives these days and sharing it as it happens but perhaps that somehow stops us from actually living it to the full.
Yet I do like a diary entry. I like seeing what we thought was important enough to write down. I like the idea that we mix together our inner most secrets and the most boring aspects of our lives in a few short lines. I like seeing what was written on the same day but years apart and I really like reading other peoples!
Many years ago now, infact I believe it was on September 11 2001, because everyone can remember where they were that day, I found a diary for sale in CB2 cafe in Cambridge. How it came to be there I have no idea! It was a large, fairly unfilled diary from 1969 but I bought it because the idea excited me that I could glean at least some information about the author and their life at the time by the few entries it had in it. I have grown to love and cherish that diary and the simplicity of life contained in its pages delights me. By all accounts it is written by a young woman living with her mother on Tenison Road. The life of a young woman then and the life of a young woman now are worlds apart. It is true to say that in 1969 this family did spring clean in Spring and you did go away to the seaside to convalesce after a period of illness. Love it! I will not give you the best entries dear readers because I am thinking about a future art project on diaries that may use them but here are a few excerpts for your pleasure and delight:
Monday 6th January 1969 Barry went down the town and then studied in the Front Room. He had a bath at 10pm to help him for Birmingham as Marjorie had the electricians rewiring the flat.
Friday 10th January 1969 Mother had a pain in her Right Side after eating an apple.
Saturday 5th April 1969 Painted larder 6am in the morning.
Collected my glasses. £5.15.0 Very Nice. Jake rolled the lawn.
Thursday 5th June 1969 Mystery drive to Haddenham. Very enjoyable.
In contrast dear readers let me divulge some of my own diary entries from the same dates but different years later:
Saturday 6th January 2001 Tried to visit Botanical Gardens but decided to go on a day when it was free. Looked at scarf I like in market but decided it was too extravagant. On way home current scarf got caught in back wheel of bicycle and started to strangle me. Lots of hilarity.(8 months pregnant)
Saturday 10th January 1998 Came on, so I'm not pregnant :) or :( ? Watched TOTP2 and bought some goodies for half price at the health food shop-sad to be in a shop on its last day of opening.
Friday 5th April 2002 Spent morning trying to organise what we are doing this afternoon! Go kite flying. Doug is fab at it whereas it dives and crashes everytime I go near it. Thing One thinks its funny.
Sunday 5th June 1988 My Birthday! Got dress off Mum and the Housemartins double album and a condom off of Anthony! (boyfriend of the moment obviously hinting at me) GREAT ALBUM!
Looking back on my diaries (and I regrettably threw out a heap of them a few years ago because they were morose and depressing to read!) it does seem that as with this blog I had good intentions at the start and wrote regularly and as the year passed on the pages stayed blank!
Looking again shows us how our world has changed-prices, priorities, preferences. Sometimes we look back and what we thought was true wasn't and what we hoped/feared would happen didn't but mostly we can smile at ourselves, at our naivety, our confusion and best of all our living in the moment. I might just start keeping a diary again.
Please let me know your diary secrets! Feel free to add your entires in to the comments box for the whole world to read.
Best give you some pics of our Ophelia to keep you all happy!