When I was 11 my best friend gave me a diary for my birthday. It was a pretty pink book, the kind with the little lock and key and gold deckle edged pages.
I hated it.
My mother had warned me about the inherent danger of recording your feelings the summer before when I’d innocently asked for, and been denied, a similar volume. If you write down your feelings, she warned, there’s proof and, worse yet, the risk of exposure. As a kid with a massive crush on Johnny Depp, circa 21 Jump Street, this was the worst thing I could imagine. What if someone found my diary, picked the flimsy lock, and read all about my secret, tender feelings for him? I would die of embarrassment.
Now, of course, I want people to read my work. I hide my secrets in plain sight on the pages I write. I put my thoughts in my character’s mouths and let them say the things I don’t. It’s liberating and cleansing and the best kind of letting go.
That said, I have never kept a diary.