Diaries

My seven year old found my old school diaries.  Not that they were hidden for no one to find, just that it was the first time that he took an interest in them.

I have kept diaries, or journals, throughout my life – in fact, without them I don’t think I would ever have considered writing a novel at all.   And so I have a big box of diaries that span my teen and young adulthood years (I journal less now that I write as an author).

Only 2 actual diaries have sat on my writing desk for the last 4 years.  These two diaries were the background to the writing of ‘K-Girls’, and preparation for the sequel, ‘K-Girls Plus One’.   I would have written them in 1984 and 1985, when I was 13/14.

I have to confess, that most pages  are typical of a teens worries, thoughts and moans, with the odd love lost or crush.

All the same, for the most part, they are not suitable for a seven year old.

What I find interesting is that neither of my teen daughters ever took much interest in them, and so it came as a surprise that my seven year old son was not only fascinated with them, but wanted me to read them to him, and went so far as trying to sneak them into his bedroom to try and decipher my scrawl on his own.

As a parent third time round, I have learnt though, if you tell a child they can’t have something, they just want it all the more;  and so in an effort to stem his new curiosity, I  promised to read to him (that way I am in control) some of the pages within.

This has proved interesting to me.  Most of the entries are what I would call typical, simple, occasionally cringe worthy, and even funny,  on different levels. The best days are the one that, only for the diaries, I would have forgotten about them completely.  To a stranger they may not mean a whole lot, but to me the pages draw on distant memory banks, and allow me to dip into my past, raise a smile and reminisce on old times.  How cocky I was, how innocent, (and then again, perhaps not), how impetuous, petty, or immature, (some would say I haven’t changed much)

And then I think, hang on a second, is this what blogging has replaced?  And facebook?  Only as we are sharing our thoughts with the world, do we hold back on our REAL opinion for fear of judgement, ridicule?  With journals, the premise is that they are private and so we can CONFESS, without judgement.  We can truly speak plainly and openly.  OFF THE RECORD as such.

Wasn’t Wilde that said ‘I never travel without my diary – one should have something sensational to read in the train.’

I know certainly that I am trying to be more careful in my blogging, what to say, how to say it, who is possibly reading it, (if anyone).  My journals, they have a different sense about them – raw, as-it-is.  Warts and all.  There is a lot to be said about that I think – I can see that within the diaries, is the forming of my true writing voice – capturing the real feelings of a young teen girl, even if in the 1980’s.  Have teens changed a whole lot – you would think I would know having two of them but is the main difference being social media has perhaps indirectly created a censorship to a young person’s voice?

In any case, I thought to share with you my first page in my diaries as a K-Girl – don’t get too excited now, I know my seven year old certainly didn’t.

teen diariesdiary entry 1984

diary transcript

8-3-’84 – Lent 1st day

Dear Diary,

Since this is my first page I thought i might has well tell you that I most probably wont be able to write every night cause I’m not great at writing every night.  I don’t know why I decided to write but I said to hell and took this out and here I am writing this.  To-day is the 2nd day of lent and I’ve given up sweets and I have to try and keep it ’cause I usually break it.  

I’ve got to go to sleep now ’cause Miss Oakely is switching the light off now.

Good night

Sweet Dreams

Lydia

Speaking on Firsts

Considering the time of year, and being new to blogging, I thought it appropriate to speak about Firsts – or new Starts – they are connected are they not?

We all experience Firsts – blogging being my most recent!

But First’s appear to slow down a pace as we get older – or do they?  As adults do we forget to take off our blinkers and view the world differently?

Why not take a kids view on things? – the awe, the curiosity, the excitement, the in-the-moment concentration that they give a new discovery, be it a weird looking bug or tasting a lemon.

So in preparation of today’s post, and with the start to 2015 – I thought I would take a different look at MY view on the the new year – and look to my past Firsts, to perhaps prepare for some future ones – or for the adults out there who like to put a power word on it –  my 2015 ‘Goals’.

After all, isn’t a  Goal something we aspire to achieve (for clarification, I am not talking scoring between goal posts here) – and if it is a Goal, doesn’t this mean we have not done it before, and by consequence, it is a First.

I think Michelangelo is quoted somewhere as saying ‘I am still learning’ as he painted the Sistine Chapel.

But what about the small stuff, the bits that really only matter to us as individuals.

So for 2015 I am  not going to make any resolutions – as these are so often based on failures,  or trying to change the negative – I am going to revert to the past to go forward.  If that makes sense?

Not a bucket list – more an appreciation.  An appreciation of any Firsts that I may continue to experience, to recognise, and to celebrate them.  Even if I think I have done it all before, to approach it as if I have not – with awe, with curiosity, with excitement.

To that end, I am happy to share my first letter home from boarding school – written at the age of 12, back in 1983, having settled in a few days to Kylemore Abbey School for Girls, Connemara.  I don’t think it holds any life changing messages.  But I am happy to say that, thanks to my father’s archiving, that the letter remains (misspelling and all), as opposed to decomposing in some land fill – and I appreciate that, and it, on so many levels – my first letter home – the first of many letters that would follow, but this one capturing one girls’  mind set as a boarder, starting anew, making that fresh start to secondary school – and what was important to her at that time, in that moment when she took her new letter writing set and quickly penned a letter home.

I feel strangely reassured that, 30 years later, my needs haven’t changed much!

Here’s to yours for 2015.

first letter home page 1first letter home page 2

Transcript from letter:

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore

Co. Galway

Spet 1983

Dear Mum and Dad,

                                    It’s my second day here and its great fun. I thought I would be really homesick but I’m not (no offence).  By the^wayhow’s everyone, I’m just after remembering that I’ve left loads of things at home so would you please send the up the following:tourch, radio, cuddley toy, posters and some books and tuck Oh yah! And a picture of the family (scamp and shandy as well).  Say hallo the rest of the family and give Shandy, Scamp and Nillie a big X

 

I’ve made loads of friends so theres no need to worry.  Im sleepin in the farm house wle, which is great fun, one of my friends name is Jane and she’s very nice she sleep in the same bunck and bedroom as me.  I’ve got another friend whose very nice aswell she’s in 6th year and her name is (oh dear I’m after forgetting.)  I’ve got loads more to but I haven’t enough time sorry.  I’d better go now.

          Lot and lots of love

                              Daughter number 2

                                        (Lydia)

X a nice big kiss

P.S write back and don’t forget the things I need