About a month ago, our family had a very different kind of afternoon than usual. A makeup lady and a photographer spent the afternoon with us. The photographer was extremely kind to the Dafter, showing her the equipment she was using, and explaining things as she worked. The makeup lady was, to my relief, not interested in making me look like someone else – she didn’t even ask me why I don’t dye my hair!
And why all the fuss? Because a journalist had interviewed me about my great-granny May’s diaries. You can read more about them by clicking on the tab “May’s Diaries” in the header, or at the top of the sidebar. There are also links at the top of the sidebar to four pages of photographs. (Or you can rush out and buy a copy of the July Prima magazine, in the UK.)
I’m pleased by how it turned out. The journalist, Mel Fallowfield, spent a lot of time talking to me, and reading through the piece over the phone before she submitted it. The photo of me is fine, too. I think I look recognisably like myself, although as if made up for a party that I’m a little bit frightened of attending!
(There’s just one error – May was in Northern California and not North Carolina; I think that might have been a copy editing glitch as Mel was scrupulous about checking the facts.)
I was very pleased to have the chance to tell the story of May’s diaries again. I think she would be amazed at the coverage they’ve received since I published them four years ago! The Prima article is really interesting. As well as the story about me “meeting” my great-granny through her diaries, there’s the story of how a writer used her teen travel diaries to inspire her novel, and about a woman who is keeping diaries about her children, to give them when they are older.
Personally, I’m an incurable diary-writer, and I also love to read other people’s (published!) diaries. I wonder if keeping a diary is more of a rarity in this day and age? I know some people keep blogs as a kind of diary, but to me a diary is essentially a safe and private place, where I can be completely honest about anything that I’m thinking, feeling and experiencing. I do actually go back and re-read my diaries from time to time, as well. Sometimes I think, “Wow that was an incredibly tough time, how did I ever manage to get through that?!” Sometimes I’m aware that my point of view has changed, or that I can understand a person or situation better now than I did at the time. But mostly I just enjoy savouring, once more, happy times with family and friends.
Do any of you keep a diary? Do tell all!