I love diaries and writing in them, it’s something I inherited from my father; he’s kept diaries for as long as I can remember. If you go through his old stuff you’ll find some curved mildewed diaries of all shapes and sizes, some dating back as far as the 60’s. My father’s father, a schoolteacher for forty plus years, was also a great lover of the written word. He regularly contributed to the newspapers and magazines of his time, I don’t remember much about him because he lived in Champhai and died when I was twelve, but he would send us letters all the time, written in his curvy handwriting and always writing something encouraging.
I think I was unconsciously influenced by my father and grandfather to write. When I was a kid I used to write stories all the time, that is I would get some grand idea and would start writing a story (it was always about princes and princesses) but I never finished a single one. So much for perseverance. Until now I haven’t written a single story yet, haven’t tried it once, although I've read a million stories and have a fair idea of what would grab my attention and what would make an interesting read. The thing that’s holding me back is fear of failure. “I've never studied literature and drama and how dialogues go and how to properly frame sentences and paragraphs and whatnot, I don’t want to make a laughing stock out of myself.” I know it’s a silly silly thing and that you’ll never know unless you’ve tried it and that there are millions of material and courses out there that would help me polish my skills a bit and help me grasp the lowest rung so I can slowly inch my way upwards - but I'm too lazy to do some research and some digging around. Never mind, this post isn’t about my writing skills, or lack of; it’s about diaries and journals.
At some point in our lives I guess we’ve all kept diaries or journals where we write down our innermost thoughts and feelings and sometimes some downright ridiculous stuff which at the time seemed normal and important but when you go read it again after a few years you realized how silly it really was. When I started out I mostly wrote about everyday life, what I did, what I ate, who I met etc etc the usual girl stuff. Then it went on to feelings, thoughts, ideas, dreams, and daydreams. If something nice happened I would record down entire conversations, or what I could remember of it. But I rarely write when I'm happy, I write when I'm sad and angry and mad. Some people when they are sad/angry/mad cry and scream and shout, some people break things, some people sulk, some people write poetry and sad songs, me I write whatever is in my mind. And tear it off and throw it away later.
Recently I came across an article, I don’t remember if it was from the newspaper or from the internet, which said we should all keep joy journals. You know, journals/diaries where we write the things that made us happy, or something good that happened to us. Count your blessings sort of book. It should not be something that you wished would happen to you (like winning the lottery or having all the pretty girls/guys fall for you). It should be something that actually happened and that made you sit back and smile and feel good. Nothing is too small or insignificant, nothing too unimportant or trivial. If it makes you happy, write it down. “I went shopping today and didn’t look fat in the dressing room mirror.” “The taxi/auto driver actually had change today, for a change.” “My boss gave me a pat on the back for a job well done.” “My mother-in-law postponed her visit by three days.” “My roses bloomed.” “My phone bill was surprisingly low.” “The temperature went down by two degrees.” Etc etc . It’s up to you to decide what is important and what is not. If nothing makes you happy, don’t write anything, leave that day blank. If negative and sad thoughts creep in while you're writing, put your pen down immediately. If you are a grouch who never feels happy, don’t waste your money buying the diary/notebook. If you feel the world is full of sorrow and sadness and suffering, go look for the nearest lake to jump into.
So yesterday I went and bought a notebook, one of those spiral bound colourful little things. Took it home and wrote the first day’s entry before sleeping. Woke up this morning, read it again, and it makes life good, makes me realize that good things still happen no matter how bad you think things are.