Beginning Diary #81

This is a photo of my diary collection.  My own diaries take up three and a half shelves on the left.    Had I written continuously with no breaks, this collection would be enormous.  The first one I saved was 1964.  I recently began diary #81. When I wrote my first diary I never expected it to be a lifelong passion. Never thought about that at all.

Not shown here are years of letters written to and from all members of the family.  I also keep or have kept gardening journals, trip journals, dream journals, beekeeping record books, movie record books, reading record books, and quote books.  Obviously I am fond of writing things down.  An archivist by nature.

On the right are real diaries written by other people plus published diaries (those deemed “acceptable” to print), books written about journal writing, and a stash of blank books to use in the future.  I study the art of keeping diaries, the illegitimate side of written literature.

I have collected fewer than 25 handwritten diaries.  Some are presents from my family purchased off Ebay.    Even diaries written by non-famous common ordinary people are expensive to buy.  Some of the diaries were written by my mother and great-grandmother.  A very few were donations.

My favorite one was a gift from a friend, picked up at a local auction. It is written by a button collector, but oh there is so much more in that one. She was a character and described her honest feelings about people and events, even when she did not exactly appear saintly.

I write as openly and honestly as I can about people, my feelings, events in my life, my beliefs, animals, books, movies, gardening, my bookstore, nature, phenomenon, and strange synchronicities. Generally, I do not write about politics or world events, unless they touch me personally.  Since 2016 that changed and I have poured my passionate anger into my journals.

I have continued to teach occasional journal writing workshops. If anyone is interested in joining me in the creation of an archive, contact me at The Eclectic Reader at 970-223-4019.




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2 Responses to “Beginning Diary #81”

  1. prestonladams Says:

    I can’t remember when I cAme across this blog of yours, but I’ve been getting the updates to me inbox, and I always enjoy reading your musings.

    I’ve got a decent collection of journals. I started in 2008 and churned one out every six months. Then I switched to a large hardback and I did that one in two years. I’ve slowed my pen and ink recently and have moved to a digital journal, so I can print it. My handwriting looks sociopathic.

    I’ve got a question for you. Where do you get these journals from strangers? eBay?


  2. Cynthia Manuel Says:

    I never could figure that out myself. I have written before on the NDA site about how many years I searched for and never found any handwritten diaries. That is amazing because, as a bookdealer for 37 years, I have been to countless book sales, garage sales and estate sales. Nada. You are correct that Ebay really is the best way. Search for “handwritten diaries” and you will find some and you WILL be surprised at how expensive they are. Search for my blog on Sally’s Diaries and you might also try her website. Frankly, I don’t know how she does it. Best of luck and I hope you keep on writing. For inspiration get a copy of Edward Robb Ellis’s A Diary of the Century. (Check out my post on that.)


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