Dear Diary

October 30, 2013

Adventures far from home.

Katherine

For a while this summer I stopped writing in my notebook and used my cellphone’s text draft folder to store short notes regarding things I would have handwritten entire pages about in the past. My new system was easier and, more important, it made it harder to reread anything I’d written, so I never did. I’ve made the mistake of rereading old journal entries in my notebook before, and it always makes me cringe. It’s embarrassingly obvious in retrospect where I was trying (and failing) to write like whomever I was reading at the moment, and where I was misrepresenting how I really felt about something in an attempt to make myself seem smarter. I get just as disgusted by the occasional lack of effort I see in those pages as I do by evidence of excessive effort wasted on overwrought writing that’s exhausting to read. Typing out abbreviated versions of my thoughts on a tiny keyboard wasn’t that helpful or enjoyable, though, so I eventually stopped recording anything about my days/life altogether.

I can’t read anything I’ve ever written without weighing and critiquing each and every word choice and sentence construction. Inevitably all my work comes up short, and then I have to fight the urge to try to “fix” it, even the stuff that is clearly beyond saving. I wish I could just burn it all at once, purging myself of my past, most mediocre self and turning my writing into ashes, into waste (which feels like what it has always truly been).

I’m being annoying right now. But I don’t know how to continue writing and working with the same mind and the same habits that produced everything I hate. ♦

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16 Comments

  • GlitterKitty October 30th, 2013 7:08 PM

    Katherine, story of my life!!!!

    • Kirthi October 31st, 2013 8:18 AM

      Exactly..Katherine, I feel you!!

  • dreamygirl October 30th, 2013 7:12 PM

    britney you are magic and i am glad you are beginning to find a world of magic

  • Bex_cygnet October 30th, 2013 7:24 PM

    Katherine: I think some of the ‘greatest’ writers in history have felt like you do. Kafka and Virgil off the top of my head and I’m certain if you google they’ll be myriads more.

  • savannah14 October 30th, 2013 7:31 PM

    loved all of these so very much

  • insanejane October 30th, 2013 7:32 PM

    Rookie stop !!! I can’t ! What was this perfect week ? The last four posts made my days and were extraordinary included these great diaries <3 Caitlin your work is always incredible and touches me a lot
    http://www.yellowintherainbow.tumblr.com

  • Abby October 30th, 2013 11:19 PM

    NAOMI I FEEL YOU. Doing grownup things is hard. The first time my mom told me I had to go to the dentist after I was 18 I freaked out because that meant I had to go by myself and I was like WHAAATT DO I DOOOO???

  • double_helix October 30th, 2013 11:36 PM

    Naomi, I’m a first year at a college in New York, and I feel you. So much. Let’s hang in there together. :)

  • Bas Raad October 31st, 2013 12:50 AM

    Haha Katherine I’ve been where you are. I had pages and pages of diaries and also fiction. Except I did burn everything.

    I was 16 and I went to this huge dumping ground near my house and a homeless man helped me start a fire and I stayed there and made sure every word had disappeared.

    I don’t think I regret it, you need many years before you can view your own work with any sense of detachment.

    http://www.anythingbas.blogspot.com

  • TessAnnesley October 31st, 2013 2:28 AM

    I’m so happy for Britney having the complete opposite of my high-school partying experience… Yay for fun and mellow-ness!

  • elliecp October 31st, 2013 4:17 AM

    So happy for you britney! It’s so awesome to be happy

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

  • Ladymia69 October 31st, 2013 11:05 AM

    Are those Francesca Woodman photos above Caitlin’s name?

  • kitemender21 October 31st, 2013 12:54 PM

    Ahhh Britney! so happy that you got to have such a chilled out party experience. Wish I was there!

  • lexilikes October 31st, 2013 5:02 PM

    I feel exactly the same way about my own writing Katherine. Britney that sounds wonderful!

    http://www.lexilikes.com

  • Shanlew November 1st, 2013 1:14 AM

    Naomi I know!! I did the shopping the other day on my own and it was scarrry! I was like “how do people do this every day?”

  • pepperpeanut November 1st, 2013 5:23 PM

    naomi-
    ‘to tire of london is to tire of life.’ – samuel johnson

    it makes me so sad that you’re getting bored in my beautiful city :( please explore some more. go to some vintage markets in brick lane, portobello road ot camden, walk along the southbank at sunset, watch tourists in trafalgar square. there’s so much i’ve yet to see…