Friday, 20 February 2015

Keeping a diary...

As I revisit Mrs Woolf's A Writer's Diary in the beautiful Persephone Books edition, I am reminded why I've always kept a diary, a journal...

... in which to spill thoughts, to rant, to relive life's experiences...

Clearly, my writing is not as remotely significant as VW's, not to anyone but me at least, but it IS important!!

After my stroke (almost 8 years ago), I couldn't read for almost a year, and I am still learning to write left-handed (I was right-handed, but my right side is now paralyzed). I now have a deep appreciation of why reading and writing are so difficult/demanding for children - so many parts of the brain are required to fire simultaneously!!

The first two years after the stroke were THE hardest! While I couldn't read or write, I was lost... me, Claire, was nowhere... (I was writing in my journal as the stroke happened - the pen falling from my hand was the first clue!)

But slowly, my coordination has improved, and with it my handwriting...

I'm still not up to writing much, or every day, but for the past few months I've been in a group of women, led by Angel Sullivan, and over a year and a day (from 23 October 2014 to 24 October 2015) we are creating a journal, a Book of Me.

Here are some of my pages...

I seriously doubt anyone in the future will look at this as a literary masterpiece(!), but that isn't the point. I doubt VW expected others to read - and critique(!) - her diaries as she wrote them. Here's her entry from almost 90 years ago to the day:

Monday, February 21st [1927]

Why not invent a new kind of play; as for instance:

Woman thinks...
He does.
Organ plays.
She writes,
They say:
She sings.
Night speaks
They miss

I think it must be something on this line - though I can't now see what. Away from facts; free; yet concentrated; prose yet poetry; a novel and a play.

Was this little entry in her diary the very first glimmerings of an idea that over a decade later became Between the Acts, her final novel, published after her death in 1941? 
I like to think so :)
And who knows, in among my diary ramblings there may be a kernel of an idea that grows into a sustained thought, a developed plan, even a final published piece one day...
I can dream!


  1. Hi Claire your diary is lovely, and you add images too, interesting, make it more alive. I've one for writing and another one for art page, but I like your idea of merging them. Writing and reading are really fundamental to understand ourselves, I'm sorry we couldn't do it for 2 years, but now I see you are doing very well, keep up, the important is doing it for ourselves not for the others. Have a great weekend!

  2. Intesting, I didn't have any problem to post my comment in this site, but in the moon and stone I couldn't, your dream boards are great!

  3. A courageous posting and the first words on that first page are so important - to be kind to yourself. It has taken me many years to learn the importance of that. It can be so easy at times to put others first and sacrifice one's own needs. Getting the balance right is what counts.
    I hope your delving into VW's works brings many more posts like this.


Please feel free to join in with your thoughts and insights. Yes, I'm writing this for my own pleasure, but it's always fun to share with others :)