13 December 2011

[diary] Diaries of the Just and the Unjust And Everyone In Between

2727.When I talk to people about creating diaries, I find that a lot of folks think this is the province of the 13-year old girl, the young lady who loops her i's instead of dots them, and who begins every entry in a little pastel book with a cute little lock with the phrase Dear Diary.

That's not necessarily to disrespect a notional, stereotypical 13-year old girl. But adults who have little time for reading, never mind writing, think that it's not for them because it's something kids do.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This diary was kept by Robert Goddard, credited as the father of modern rocketry. His word made possible - even necessary - such things as the Apollo moon missions and the Space Shuttle, and, sadly, ICBMs as well. Here's a graphic of what he wrote on the day he launched his first liquid-fueled rocket, an event which opened the modern age of astronautics:

For the rest of the pictures and transcriptions, go to Clark University's page on it at http://www.clarku.edu/research/archives/goddard/diary.cfm.

For a more modern person of renown, the recently-released-from-Italian-prison Amanda Knox also kept a diary:

The subtitle in Italian, Il mio diaro del pngione (sic), is poignant. The pages are dense with text, neatly scribed in that particular oval, almost uncial, font stereotypically favored by young women. You can read it (the photocopies are a little tough on the eyes, though, be warned) at TruTV here: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/young/amanda-knox-diary/1.html

And wars create war diaries, and diaries by soldiers. Ed Blanco kept a war diary as a soldier in Vietnam which was just a day-by-day chronicle. The thing which attracted me about it was the medium … he picked up a bookkeeper's journal in a Brooklyn stationers shop, and he kept it with him throughout his tour. It lived in has back pocket for a year, and recorded what happened each day as well as the members of his company who got wounded and who he lost. You can see a few graphics here:

Diaries are here and now, they're real, and despite what you've heard about the Internet (much as I love it) taking over, they're happening.

They're also for everyone.

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