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Why keep a diary or blog? And why not. So why do I? Why does anyone?

Why I still keep a dairy

5/02/1999

I’ve written a diary in one form or another since I was 13 and a half

I’ve recorded the life of a boy who becomes sexual and grows up. I haven’t matured. I enjoyed being alone, a simple thing that has become so hard to achieve. I find it hard to think in terms of ‘us’ when all my life I’ve thought only in terms of ‘me.’

As I wrote to Darlingest this morning (she’s working in Paris) I have all kinds of reservations about taking up this diary again, not least because of what I feel obliged to confess and the desire to go into revelations about past relationships. I don’t want her to think I am giving anyone undue weight, suggestion that by writing memoirs like this is indicative of us not being totally committed to each other for life – it is an expression of my standing back from the relationship to observe, admire and even criticise it.

I have a professional excuse for keeping a journal

There is a desire to keep and record events and feelings is no doubt the least honourable as if I want to stick Darlingest into my collection, like a butterfly pinned in a box. On the other hand I was encouraged to read extracts from Anais Nin’s diary, ‘Henry and June’ and Elizabeth Smart’s diary, ‘Necessary Secrets.’

There is a value to all of this that is enhanced as each new diary is kept

On the most mundane of levels it is good practice. As the artist or musicians must keep ‘his hand in’ so the writer should write. Not that I am ready to call myself a writer. On the most lofty level this diary (and earlier editions) should they survive me are a fulfilment of a desire I never felt possible without recognisable success or fame – an immortality which could let my thoughts, hopes, messages, ideas, advice, records of events, and people and expressions live on once I am dead.

How do I pick up where I left off three, even four years ago?

I have little need to fill in the gaps for myself. I know what has gone on. But will I remember in twenty years time? If I can get back to this diary writing a few years lost in forty or more will seem insignificant – or will it? Will they be my dark years? It felt like the darkness of 1985.

How formative have these last few years been?

What has happened to the people who were so prominent in my life in the 80s?

I left Kathy as I left Hobson’s in Cambridge to return to London to produce ‘Which Firm of Solicitors?’ I had the pleasure being around A, chasing Z then some Spanish girl whose name I forget. I canoodled with both. I then got drunk on a ‘blind date party,’ covered C in ice cream and honey and entered a torrid affair for four months.

I spent the best part of a year producing the graduate recruitment video I devised ‘Which Firm of Solicitors?’

With the profits I set of to pursue my other passion – writing, illustrating and preparing maps and charts for a definitive ski guide to Val d’Isere. It turned out that my entire life would be turned on its head, given a shake and take on a new meaning.

My desire to be in the French Alps became a pursuit of Darlingest

The time we spent together building a friendship built up and up. I wanted to risk all, I wanted to know her, and I had an inclination that we were so close we could be buddies but wanted us to be lovers too.

Making love became instant recognition of what the relationship really was: companionship, mutual support, and passion. It swept Suzi and everyone else off in a torrent of glacial melt water: Candia F, Sally F, Sally N, Fiona F, Amelia P, Sue P, Jessica A, Antonia G, Cheryl, Helen B-T, Vicki P, Nell C, Louise R … Whoever … and whenever … they were all tossed aside, swept away.

I have no money

I am not ‘hopelessly’ in debt thanks only to a very recent offer to pay off a student loan that I took out to attend the ‘School of Communication Arts’ in London.

It doesn’t concern me overly much that I hope bills which still need paying – I don’t languish on my arse regretting my circumstances and rather like never being without a girlfriend for long (someone always comes up). Yet, to anyone seeing me, I am perhaps ‘underachieving’ or failing in my family’s expectations of me, the ‘class’ expectations of professional, business or academic success. More than in the past I feel some pressures of responsibility upon me so that together Darlingest and I can make a life for together. My problem. And it gets worse, is not being able to do a job over which I have little control and as a TV producer I am unable to sell as well as is necessary. It’s all a muddle.

I must seek employment

I must seek support or trying to sell any number of ideas. Only a fraction of them could ever possibly come off which instantly makes all the other efforts pointless.

Do I write fiction?

Can I write fiction?

What kid of fiction?

Love stories?

If I concentrate on documentaries do I go for science or natural history or environmental or human stories? What about game shows? What about sit-coms?

What about the hundreds of ideas I have and write down then allow to founder?

As I’ve said elsewhere, read on and find out what happens. I go through periods of blind optimism that seem so stupid now that I read it, I also go through periods of great self-doubt. I feel one such period coming on now. It is past depression, part despair, part frustration.

I never want to find the easy way out

I’m more reluctant to give up on what I tend to do instinctively and yet until or when I can earn a living as a writer I am stuck – every next job, which I take up with he enthusiasm of a new love affair, eventually (and these days sooner rather than later) wanes.

There’s a conflict between what I want to do and what I think I must do

I want to spend today writing for example, yet must (although it will cost me) prepare work for the Skieasy Guide research I find myself obliged to do. Both of these should take second place to the more desperate need to get a contract or a job (and of course the money that goes with it) before the end of the month in order to pay off a £1,500 overdraft.

Such pressures can lead to desperate measures

I try to be stoical; whatever the job it goes down to experience and might make interesting reading for someone someday.

In the mean time I have a face to shave, a kitchen to clear up, clothes to wash and a 94-year-old grandfather who needs his lunch and a little caring.

What comes of this diary only future pages will reveal.

(Written in February 1999, put online in what is now a three or four part blog of some 2,500 posts and over 2 million words).

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