Keeping a diary – a 42-year long love affair

As some of you may know I’m a great archivist. Indeed I’ve kept a diary since I was 12 years old.

A diary is a means of recording our history, moments that are lost each and every day, our passions and ideas. I have never missed an entry each day since 1976. I cannot recall what instigated this almost obsessive form of recollection, but I do know that I have always voraciously consumed the biographies and letters of other writers, artists and actresses, searching out the scratchings beneath the surface. From the earliest adolescent scribblings in colourful BBC Radio One pocket books, to the Moleskin anonymous black notebooks I still keep today, no matter where I am nor at what hour, I still record each day in fine black ink. Around 500 words each and every day. Written by hand in fountain pen, as my school teachers drilled into me that using a biro was not ‘real’ writing.

It’s been proposed that everyone has a photographic memory, only some don’t have film. Our memories are forged from the real, the lived, the imagined and the projected, and trying to define the lines of truth and verisimilitude in our personal histories can prove to be a genuine challenge. Where and when certain moments occurred tend to slip into a blurry Photoshopped archive, channelled over time into new memories and experiences, and we learn to join the dots between each others’ histories to form a succession of Proustian reminiscences that become our own. My diary means I can recall with some accuracy that in December 1977 when Wire’s Pink Flag album hit the record stores, for example, that I was evidently more excited about purchasing a Houdini on Magic book (which I still have incidentally), enjoyed playing volleyball, failed to buy trousers with my mother, and was sick all over the carpet on Christmas Day.

In the earliest days of the World Wide Web in the mid 1990s I saw an opportunity to begin sharing stories of my travels and creative output with others, anticipating what would later be recognised globally as blogging. This rapidly developed into my monthly Strom newsletter which I have regularly sent out every single month, on the first day of the month, every year for the past 23 years. If I pause for a moment it’s rather overwhelming to consider, but it’s been a way in which to maintain contact with my supporters and friends around the world, many of whom don’t subscribe to traditional social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.

My handwritten diary is written only for me. It’s not for public consumption, nor intended for publication. Indeed I have declined several offers to publish these over the years as they would determine the way in which I write them. In some ways they would no longer offer the same valid service to myself, they would need to be edited, censored and adapted to offer more entertainment value, and avoid being sued by various people!

The newsletters remain utterly public though. Subscribe if you wish at the FOLLOW link on the main page to stay in touch. In accordance with EU laws submitting your email address won’t result in spam. Your data is treated with the utmost care and exclusively used only for this mailing list. It is not shared with anyone, but of course you still have the right to leave this newslist whenever you wish!

So here’s to another 42 years of diary writing and a huge bonfire once I’m buried, so I xN take all these tales to the grave, and you’ll just have to imagine what transpired in my life every day since 1976! Meanwhile subscribe and learn all exclusive stories each month!

 

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