“There is no friend as loyal as a book”
– Ernest Hemingway
Like the candle’s flame burning away, so does the sum of our years seem to smoulder day after day, minute after minute. And truly, everything seems unchanged by the minute, but looking aback, things never remain the same. This is where my diary tells me how foolish I was in the past, and how wise I am right now to be able to realise that I once wasn’t in the know.
And just like the diary, we “suddenly” realised that we existed. We couldn’t remember how we were born (at least for my case!), but we became aware after a number of years that someone special was in that body of ours. Similarly, I decided to keep a diary — one sudden morning — without any previous notice. This indeed is the beginning of our journey: a journey plagued with reminiscences, and where accountancy is not only for those in banks or trade stocks.
A typical diary is filled with daily whims and musings of the writer. Nothing unique in particular, no pattern, and in fact, it’s sometimes not interesting to read. But look again, in the midst of all the paperwork lies a wonderful trend of simplicity which is the key to unlocking many doors (and locking down many others!). There are many answers we seek that will elude us simply because we are not “matured” enough to comprehend; and it’s only when look through the paper rubble that we can do the arithmetic sum and find out the ‘x’ in the equation.
But it takes both the “foolishness” and “humility” of a child to start up something today in the hope for wisdom tomorrow. Day after day, the ink and paper only seem to waste, all in the name of a better tomorrow. Such is the foolish wisdom which can only make us better humans.
Your Days are Numbered
A new morning, a day closer to the grave. Scary? No! I’d say it’s realistic, although there are better things to worry about than death. Besides, no one’s escaping it. Okay, death aside, our days are really numbered; and though it’s not exactly clear how many we have left, the diary teaches us to take one day at a time — serially numbered, appropriately ordered.
Although there is need for reference from previous pages, a new page has to be entered each day. And it’s a simple lesson about life’s progression despite the greatest tragedy that can ever happen to us. Nothing is ever worth an absolute halt, and so we forge on. And notice that some days have a lot to talk about, while other days may barely make two lines. All the same, each day needs an entry no matter how small; each day needs our own contribution, no matter how small.
The Silence of a Book
Books may quote volumes, but they certainly make the least noise. Speak all ye can, but it’s in listening that we gain more. Sometimes, we speak too loudly that we can’t hear ourselves talk. The silence of the book helps to quell this noise and hear ourselves when we are “sober” enough to listen.
This becomes the most important function of the diary — to speak volumes, only to the sane mind who wishes to comprehend; not of anything so spectacular, but of little things that the normal mind may not think of. It is true that simple words may hold in them the greatest of lessons, but then again, our lives are the greatest lessons we can learn from.
The Bias of the Writer
An unexamined life isn’t worth living; insincere thoughts aren’t worth keeping. Once an adult, the child stops growing and stops learning. At the very moment where there is a deviation from the child-like willingness to learn, we would only turn our diaries to journals of praise singing, or books seeking self pity. Diaries are never like the exam sheet that needs a perfect answer for a 100% pass. It is rather a plain mirror on which we see ourselves as we really are.
We shouldn’t be ashamed of our failures and deficiencies; we should rather be ashamed that we never learn when we ought to. There is no need to have a diary if we write only of what pleases us, or what we want others to think of us. In short, the diary should be both an accuser and a comforter.
Can I Trust You?
I think the question should be rephrased: Can I trust myself? We so much look outwards for someone or something to blame, but not ourselves. Yes, dear diary! I can trust you. It’s myself I don’t trust. For I tell you what you ought to keep as a record, and I might possibly not want to ruin my proud self.
And just like the mirror on the wall, I expect you to always tell me that I am the fairest in the whole kingdom. Can I trust you? Yes, with my whole heart; as long as I want to be a child — an adult has no need for a rebuke or a dressing down. I fear that I will weep beyond consolation, and that my bleeding heart may never be mended again.
Yes, I have to trust you. The deep waters may be dark, but they hold more fish. Certainly, there is hope after the hurt.
Luke O. Ogar