I remember my very first diary. Every Christmas, my elementary school would have a gift sale set up in the gym, so students could buy their family inexpensive presents. Jewelry, wind-up toys and money clips were the usual suspects. This particular first-grade year, I spied a single pink diary sitting atop a bunch of (snore) other children's books. It bore that hallmark that all diaries deemed desirous to young girls must have-- a lock and key. The sweaty, crumpled bills I'd earned by dutifully practicing violin couldn't leave my coat pocket fast enough.
I remember that the diary smelled sweet, like new toys from Japan do; and I wrote in it feverishly with a pen that had a snowman on a spring bobbling from the top. Sometimes it was about my crush, a swarthy classmate named Evan, other times I just made up stories about dogs. Because I shared a room with my little brother, who in my mind was merely sent to destroy, it was not enough that there was a lock on my diary-- I invented a code with which to confide. Any thought of anyone reading my diary struck abject fear in my 6-year-old heart. No, my coded ruminations on swing-set glances and heroic, sea-faring German Shepherds would stay safe from prying eyes, under lock and key, inside of my pillow case.
When I was 14, I was still writing in diaries; but I had decided that the best way to go about it was without suffering the indignity of having every day's dramas and epiphanies go showboating around in Lisa Frank. I started writing on loose-leaf kept simply, bound in a blue binder, hiding in plain sight. Who cares to look through a high-schooler's binders? I cheekily Sharpied "History" on its cover. This new method also jibed with my interest in conservation; with a 2" binder, I'd never have to buy a new diary again. I could just keep filling it with more of that recycled loose-leaf that --at the time-- looked kind of dirty in keeping with its post-consumer waste origins.
I spent a couple of years with this blue binder, until I became alarmed that, all the time I was becoming a different person, and yet these markers and milestones were just buried one under the other looking crappy and unimportant. I needed a new diary. Something for this year. Something that would be big enough to write florid narratives about how Jack Kerouac was inspiring me to boddhisatva-ism and that I needed a trench coat, a cool knife and an opium-laden thinker's existence in Morocco. However, this new volume also had to have a limited number of pages, for when I decided that being a junkie was for boys and that I had re-evaluated and was now going to commit my life to following Billy Corgan around and spiritually healing the elderly through Ecstasy.
Fast forward to the present in which I understand that Billy Corgan is a douchebag and that most of my interactions with the elderly revolve around watching crime shows. In my possession, I have about ten diaries, and those are the ones that I haven't (horrors!!) lost. They go up to 2007, at which point I ditched the pen and paper and started a blog about fashion, because fashion has always been kind of a pervy little secret between me and my magazines. I could exorcise it with pictures and prose, and not only that, get feedback and be part of a community of shoe-slobbering, thrift-store trooping, obscurity-relishing, proportion-pondering, wielders of artful clash. And, I managed to-- with as little shame possible considering my religious background-- take some rather smashing photos of myself as well. Never under-estimate the power of good posture and lighting.
But, lately, things are starting to smack of my blue binder. New things are happening, and they deserve a place of their own. I feel at odds piling them one on top of each other, lost in the greater whole. But this time, it's not just a personal diary I write the last page of, and close the book. There is no lock and key, and people read. And, gauging by how I feel when I visit others' blogs, they come because they're interested, they want to know what's going on; they come to be entertained. This blog has not only served as one of the most self-relevatory and gratifying journal experiences, but, judging by Google Analytics and your comments, it has also been a source of entertainment for kind-hearted, creative and curious you. It's a wonder.
An old diary is satisfying to say good-bye to; my custom is to flip back to the first page and write the first and last dates of my entries with a flouish, and the word "to" in between. Then I put it in a drawer and cheerfully crack open the next blank notebook, smelling the newness before committing my pen to this volume's first date. But here, it's as if there are people living inside my diary, that, if I shut the book I shut it on them. Anyone starting to read this post now is convinced I spent too much time in my trench coat in Morocco. But if you've been following all along, thank you for enjoying my blog with me for the past 2.5 years. It's insane how attached I feel to it, and readers are a great, big part of that.
But for now, it's on to the next chapter. On to the new. I'm closing the binder now.