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Keeping a Diary or Journal: A Retrospective

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Keeping a Diary or Journal: A Retrospective After 25 Years
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Keeping a Diary or Journal: A Retrospective After 25 Years

  • Aug 28, 2013
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MY DIARY OR JOURNAL:
 
Preamble:
 
Part 1:
 
This essay has been written as AN INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME 6 OF MY DIARY, a diary I began in 1984, after more than two decades of travelling-pioneering for the Canadian Baha'i community on both the home-front and overseas, and more than three decades of association with a religion which claims to be the latest, the newest, of the Abrahamic faiths.
 
Volume 6 of my diary or journal, and I use these two terms somewhat interchangeably, was begun on 26 July 2009, and it has continued for more than four years to 1 September 2013, the first day of spring in the Antipodes as some people Downunder would have it.  This Volume 6 began in the first week in my life that I was on two old-age pensions at the age of 65.  Writing a personal diary can be fraught with danger, laying one’s soul out for view as it were, but nevertheless, such documents provide one of the best, if not the best, way of understanding the day to day activities, the thoughts and aspirations of the diarist, whether those entries seem important, mundane or of no interest at all to a later reader.  This is true whether the diarist writes on a day-to-day basis or, as I do, just periodically. 

For most of those who begin to keep a diary or journal, the exercise is fraught, not so much with danger, as it is with tedium. Millions start the process but give up after a short time due to what turns out to be, for them, as exercise in writing about the quotidian, the everyday, realities of life in a culture which stresses excitement and spectacle, adventure and activity. The day-to-day grind, even when it is enjoyed and is no grind at all, is difficult for most people to write about, except people like Leo Tolstoi who kept a diary longer than anyone else, I am informed, some 60 years.
 
I would like to think that readers will find here in my diary or journal a fascinating first-hand account of the life of a Bahá'í in some of the first years of the 21st century,  a life at a veritable fulcrum-time, a hub of crucial Bahá'í experience, a life at a critical stage in the wider experience of society at a climacteric of history. It is a life, a diaristic life, in the form of a detailed, readable and absorbing account of the emergence of the imaginative faculties of a person whom some regard as a fine writer and poet, whom others denigrate and criticise, and whom most people know little to nothing of at all. There is enough of my diary now in cyberspace to give readers a taste, a savoring, a glimmer, a sample, of what they might enjoy after my passing in what is now an extensive collection of literary offerings.  The famous English poet, William Wordsworth(1771-185), wrote the account of the emergence of his imaginative and literary life in his lengthy poem, The Prelude. He wrote that poem over many decades. I do the same in poetry and essays, journal and autobiography.
 
Part 2:
 
I write of what I did, where I went, the works I read, how many hours a day I wrote and read, the many and several literary productions, indeed thousands of specific pieces and the events in my day-to-day life that accompanied my time--they are all described, at least many of them, in my diary in varying degrees of detail.   Some entries are long, some short but all, it is my hope, are interesting, if not to many at least to a few future readers.  Many of my entries I also like to think possess a degree of sophistication and insight which may bring surprise to readers at some future, and quite unanticipated, date.  Such is my hope, but I can make no guarantees. Each reader who comes to my work will make their own assessment and find their own meaning, if any.  Most of those in our planetary civilization of more than 7 billion will never see my journal and, of those who do, most of them will pass on due to the print and image glut that confronts all of humanity now in this 21st century, and provides Everyman with a cornucopia of stuff to entertain and inform until the last syllable of their recorded time.
 
It became obvious to me during the period of keeping this Volume 6, as I say, more than four years, in the closing years of the first decade of the 21st century and the opening years of the second, that a diary or journal for me had come to take the form of several genres of my writing: poetry & essays, autobiographical narrative and a myriad internet posts.  My poetry was often a more extensive and detailed diaristic genre than the diary itself.  This Volume 6 would be the last volume of my diary, at least until some future time when I wanted to record some diaristic material in journal form and open a Volume 7.  If I live into old-age, the years after 80 according to one model of human development used by psychologists, that Volume 7 may come into existence. Time will tell. I will be 80 in eleven years, in 2024.
 
A. FUTURE READERS AND EXECUTORS  

Section 1:


Apart from some necessary, and hopefully only minor, editorial changes which my future executors might want to make, I trust that this diary, when published, will have entries which are true to their original form. The editors might want to add some useful footnotes, anecdotes, explanatory notes, statements which could provide some relevant background to the diary content, background which embellishes but does not detract from the entries themselves.  The book, if this diary ever takes on such a form in the future, could be beautifully illustrated with facsimiles of photos and, indeed, a wide range of memorabilia that is now found in my files, both electronic and print, here in my study in this small town in northern Tasmania, at the last stop on the way to Antarctica if one takes the western-Pacific rim route. 

There is much in my files that could be preserved for a future time: programs, manuscripts, family photographs and newspaper clippings, inter alia. The ultimate significance of all this literary detritis finds its meaning due to my association with the Baha'i Faith, a religion which claims to be the newest of the Abrahamic faiths, for 60 years.
 
I hope some future readers thoroughly enjoy this book, if it becomes a book---or these several volumes, if they become volumes. I hope, too, that such a printed text might become highly recommended for both teachers and students as a ‘must’, an addition to their collection of Bahá'í, Australian and/or Canadian autobiographical history.  It seems to me that this diary brings to life the personages and events surrounding the Bahá'í community from the point of view of a Bahá'í in the early or late evening of his life(for no man knoweth when his own end shall be), a Canadian who had been in Australia for more than four decades, 1971 to 2013, and a pioneer in the field for more than fifty years: 1962-2013. Those personages and events, though, are not described in great detail because I have left that to the 100s of other writers who have provided such information. This diary provides a focus on the personal, and any references to others and to the wider society is part of some overall integration of self and society.
 
Section 2:

Much of my diary will not be accessible until after my passing from this mortal coil, but I have placed a sufficient amount of it in cyberspace to give present and future readers, if there be any, a taste of what is to come.  I leave all the sorts of questions that may arise in relation to the publication of this work in the hands of my executors. In spite of the fact that I have written millions of words in this journal, I have no attachment to their eventual publication. If, indeed, this diary or journal is ever published I will have gone, as the Bab put a related topic quite succinctly, "into a hole for those who speak no more." He might have added "into a hole for those who write no more."  Who knows what interest I will have, if any, from that world beyond,a world from which no man returns, or so it seems if, of course, that world even exists?  Of course, I believe such a world does exist, but belief and knowledge occupy quite different domains in many ways and these two topics have occupied philosophers and thinkers as far back as the Greeks and the Hebrews in the western intellectual tradition.
 
B. ANALYSIS OF THESE DIARIES
 
Section 1:

Any analysis of my diaries needs to emphasize the multiplicity of self-construction, the varying textual strategies I employ and the location of the diary in the cultural frameworks within which I have lived and had my being.  My diaries do not privilege amazing events over the ordinary events, and my diaries are squarely within the now highly diverse tradition of diary writing and textual production. What constitutes the amazing, of course, is in the eyes of the beholder and, in the case of all my memoiristic journals, I am the beholder.

The diary form, at least in my case, avoids closure in the traditional sense, and it enables me to envisage my life-narratives and my lives, for there are several if not a multitude, differently from day to day and from entry to entry.  My diaries map my dialectical, my complex, my periodic, negotiations with an intriguing history; it is a history of my own self-representation.  I do not present some idealized persona but, rather, a very real person, quite an ordinary mortal, and one who has been immersed for more than half a century now in a utopian vision that derives its impetus from Bahá'í teachings. This vision also derives its impetus from the rag-and-bone shop of life, to use W.B. Yeat’s phrase, a shop which derives from many sources, many locations on the planet, many mise-en-scenes which have occupied me as far back as the 1940s.

Section 2:
 
Much of my life, indeed, all of our lives remain invisible. These diaries make some of it visible for what that visibility is worth.  Diaries and journals are texts, that is, verbal constructs of events, personal experiences, and social contexts.  They permit a reading that traces myself as an individual constructing my identity, even unbeknownst much of the time, in historical, social, cultural and gendered contexts.
 
The diaries of private persons like myself are also a form of autobiographical writing that has been overshadowed by dominant traditions emphasizing the extraordinary and universal.  The explication of this particular Canadian’s life adds another narrative to life stories and autobiographical collections wherever and whenever they are anthologized. Since an individual's language is always language permeated by the voices of others; one person's life provides a window into the lives of other people, the socio-cultural field of a particular historical period and arenas for the contestation of meaning. Various scholars have argued for a multiplicity of people’s autobiographical texts as a crucial way to reframe issues of agency and ideological interpellation as these scholars and others go about trying to understand the past.
 
Life stories are a staple of a country’s & a society’s history & they help capture the complex & inconsistent, transitional & concrete, as well as the often perplexing lives of people everywhere.  Furthermore, these life-stories, these life-narratives, provide opportunities to explore the webs of social relationships that are essential to people's lives both now and in the decades and centuries ahead.
 
C. ROLE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF A DIARY
 
Part 1:

Most of the common heroic metanarratives of white masculinist literature, a literature that dominates
human history in the west until recently, my diaries speak to a different sense of engagement and collaboration with man and society.  I prioritize my social interactions and my everyday life, not my remarkable conquests and achievements.  Reading my diaries is potentially significant in several ways even though they deal with quite ordinary daily life.  They offer readers the chance to explore a new primary document in the genre of Canadian or Australian Bahá'í’s private travel narratives. They can enhance the understanding of Canadian and Australian Bahá'í history especially related to the individual and community life of its international and homefront pioneers.  They can add another individual profile to the overall social history of Bahá'í experience. 

Baha’i autobiography in its many forms—including pioneer-travel narratives and life stories in their diaristic presentations—is essential for defining the relationship of national identity formation and autobiographical narrative. They become part of archives and documentary collections and a basis for theorizing about pioneering and community life.  They also find literary homes in local and national archives which are often the locations of some of the most boring and tedious documentation a person could ever read. There are, though, gems amidst the detritis and dust of such archives. It is the job of each reader to search out those gems as he or she also searches out an endless cornucopia of movies and mass-media productions, books and brochures, essays and enriching manuscripts across an immense cross-section of print and electronic data.
 
Part 2:

My writing reflects a Bahá'í with an avocation for writing, for analysis of his community and society and an individual who consumed much of his life with learning and the cultural achievements of the mind, with various forms of pleasure and with the improvement of his character or his self-development.  My life-story can be read as one account in the larger international phenomena of pioneers from the 1960s to the early 21st century.  My accounts depict gender and class construction through leisure and community life; they depict issues of leisure, health, social engagement, quality of life, and citizenship.

They illustrate transformations in one person’s individual and community experience; and the making of the modern Bahá'í community of the 21st-century in Australia to say nothing of the 250 countries and territories around the globe where the Baha'i Faith is now found, or will be found in the next few years or decades.  Thus my private diaries offer an intriguing record for publication that, hopefully, will spark the future interest of scholars and readers interested in pioneer-travel memoirs, and an assortment of diaristic, memoiristic, autobiographical material.
 
Part 3:

My age, my time, over the four epochs that this diary is concerned with, the years 1944 to the present time in the first century of what the international Baha’i community calls its Formative Age,  people could use videos, home movies, photography and--more recently---digital photographs, as well as cassette-tape, indeed, a cornucopia of electronic media to tell the story of their lives.  I utilize some of these media and future editors and biographers, should any arise, will find a wealth of material available from these forms of diarizing. For many, who are not essentially print-oriented but are more visual and auditory in their preferred learning modes, such visual and auditory forms of diarizing are more useful than the traditional print forms. 

But whatever forms a future generation or generations find useful, I wish them well as they dig-up and read over the diaristic, memoiristic, stuff I have left behind. Such readers will require some persistence and, more importantly, an interest in what is often so mundane and tedious as to bore them to death. Everyday life is, for everyone, occupied with some of the most common and ordinary stuff, and it is this stuff that makes keeping a diary just about impossible for most ordinary mortals. When Everyman goes to write about his daily life, he can hardly bare putting it into words and, as I say above, Everyman might make a start but, after a few weeks or a few months, and possibly even a few years, he stops the exercise for fear of boring himself to death. Given the available print and electronic resources now available to Everyman, as least in the developed world, each person goes to what turns him or her on, and writing about what one did turns on very few, except in some Facebook or twitter form at best.

D. MAGNUM OPUS

Part 1:

I remember reading how both Arnold Toynbee and Edward Gibbon, two of my favourite historians, acquired their initial conceptualization for what became their life’s magnum opus, their epic: A Study of History in the case of Toynbee, and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the case of Gibbon.  More than fifteen years ago now, in 1997, I began to think of writing an epic poem and so fashioned some ten pages as a beginning. My total poetic output since as far back as August 1980 I had begun, by September 2000, to envisage in terms of an epic. The sheer size of my epic work makes a comparison and contrast with the poetic opus of Ezra Pound a useful one. 
 
Unlike the poet Ezra Pound’s epic poem Cantos which had its embryo as a prospective work as early as 1904, but did not find any concrete and published form until 1917, my poetry by 2000 had come to be defined as epic, firstly in retrospect as I gradually came to see my individual poetic pieces as part of one immense epic opus; and secondly in prospect by the inclusion as the years went by of all future prose-poetic efforts.
 
Such was the way I came increasingly to see my epic opus, sometimes in subtle and sometimes in quite specific and overt degrees of understanding and clarity from 1997 to 2000. This concept of my work as epic began, then, in 1997, after seventeen years (1980-1997) of writing and recording my poetic output and five years(1992-1997) of an intense poetic production.  At that point, in 1997, at the very outset of a new paradigm of learning and growth in the culture of the Bahá'í community, this epic covered a pioneering life of 35 years, a Baha’i life of 38 years and an additional 5 years when my association with the Baha’i Faith began while it was seen more as a Movement in the public eye than a world religion. That was back in the 1950s.
 
Part 2:
 
In December 1999 I forwarded my 38th booklet of poetry to the Baha’i World Centre Library: one for each year of my pioneering venture, 1962-1999. I entitled that booklet Epic.  I continued to send my poetry to the Baha’i World Centre Library until 30 December 2000.  Part of some desire for a connective tissue pervaded the poetry and prose of this international pioneer transforming, in the process, the animate and inanimate features of my distant and changing pioneer posts into a kindred space whose affective kernel or centre was Mt. Carmel, the Hill of God, the Terraces and the Arc which had just been completed.
 
This lengthening work evinces a pride, indeed, a veneration for the historical and cultural past of this new Faith.  Part of my confidence and hope, indeed, most of it, for the future derives from this past. There is a practical use to the local association I give expression to in this work.  It is, or so I like to think, a means of putting the youth and the adults in this new Cause in touch with the great citizens and noble deeds of the past, inspiring them with a direct personal interest in their heritage. Along the way, I hope I am helping to create memorials and monuments with an international ethos, with a resolution that is indispensable in performing the duties of a type of global citizen of the future.
 
I trust this work serves, too, as a dedication, a natural piety, by which the present becomes spiritually linked with the past. This last point is, of course, an extension of that English poet William Wordsworth’s near proverbial expression of desire for continuity in his own life— "The Child is father of the Man; / And I could wish my days to be / Bound each to each by natural piety" (1: 226).  It is an extension of Wordsworth's idea into the sphere of nationhood and internationalism. At least that is part of the way I envisage this work.
 
Part 3:
 
If this new Cause is to grow and mature in an integrated, organic, and humanistic manner, it must affirm the continuity between the present, the past, and the future. Countries that eschew militarism and imperialism need to venerate their cultural and national achievements, if they are to maintain and foster the identity and independence of their citizens and with this an international spirit must inevitably sink deep into the recesses of the human heart and mind—for it is a question of survival. This work is just a small part, one man's life experience, in making this transition in my time to this essentially international ethic.
 
This transition and its journey to the future is one that I have come to love like a mistress, as W.B. Yeats says was the feeling that the poet William Blake had for times that had not yet come, which mixed their breath with his breath and shook their hair about him. The Baha’i Faith inspires a vision of the future that enkindles the imagination. The German mystic and theologian Jacob Boehme said that imagination is/was the first emanation of the divinity.  Blake cried out for a mythology and created his own. I do not have to do this since I have been provided with a mythology. It is a mythology within the metaphorical nature of Baha’i history, although I must interpret this mythology, this history, and give it a personal context.
 
Part 4:
 
As I say I had begun to see all of my poetry somewhat like Pound’s Cantos which draws on a massive body of print or Analects, a word which means literary gleanings. The Cantos, the longest poem in modern history, over eight hundred pages and, in its current and published form, written from 1922 to 1962, is a great mass of literary gleanings. So is this true of the great mass of my poetry. The conceptualization of my poetry as epic, though, came long after its beginnings, beginnings as far back as 1980 or possibly 1962 at the very start of my pioneering life. The view, the concept of my work as epic began, as I say above, as a partly retrospective exercise and partly a prospective one.
 
The epic journey that was and is at the base of my poetic opus is not only a personal one of more than fifty years in the realms of belief, it is also the journey of this new System, the World Order of Baha’u’llah which had its origins as far back as the 1840s and, if one includes the two precursors of this System, the historian can find the origins of this System as far back as the middle of the eighteenth century when many of the revolutions and forces that are at the beginning of modern history find their source: the American and French revolutions, the industrial and agricultural revolutions and the revolution in the arts and sciences.
 
Generally the goal or aim of this work, and the way my narrative imagination is engaged in this epic, is to attempt to connect this long and complex history to my own life and the lives of my contemporaries, as far as possible. I have sought and found a narrative voice that contains uncertainty, ambiguity and incompleteness among shifting fields of reference mixed with certainties of heart and spirit.  Since this poetry and this narrative is inspired by so much that is, and has been, part of the human condition, this epic it could be said has at its centre Life Itself and the most natural and universal of human activities, the act of creating narratives.
 
Part 5:
 
When we die all that remains is our story or such is one way of putting the notion "all that we have in the end."  I have called this poetic work an epic because it deals with events, as all epics do, that are or will be significant to the entire society. It contains what Charles Handy, philosopher, business man and writer, calls the golden seed: a belief that what I am doing is important, probably unique, to the history and development of this System. This poetry, this epic, has to do with heroism and deeds in battle of contemporary and historical significance and manifestation. My work and my life, the belief System I have been associated with for over half a century, involves a great journey, not only my own across two continents, but that of this Cause I have been identified with as it has expanded across the planet in my lifetime, in the second century of Baha’i history.
 
The epic convention of the active intervention of God and holy souls from another world; and the convention of an epic tale, told in verse, a verse that is not a frill or an ornament, but is essential to the story, is found here. I think there is an amplitude in this poetry that simple information lacks; there is also an engine of action that is found in the inner life as much, if not more, than in the external story. In some ways, this is the most significant aspect of my work, at least from my point of view. Indeed, if I am to make my mark at this crucial point of history, it will be largely in the form of this epic literary work which tells of fifty-one years of pioneering:1962-2013.  But more importantly, the part I play, the mark I leave, is as an individual thread in the warp and weft that is the fabric and texture of the Baha’i community in its role as a society-building power. 
 
The World Order lying enshrined in the teachings of Baha’u’llah that is “slowly and imperceptibly rising amid the welter and chaos of present-day civilization,” is becoming an increasingly familiar participant in the life of society and this epic is but one of the multitude of manifestations of that participation.  My own life, my own epic, within this larger Baha’i epic, had its embryonic phase in the first stage of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Divine Plan, 1937-1944, the first of three phases leading to the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963 as the last year of my teen age life was about to begin and as, most importantly, the fulfilment of the prophecy of Daniel regarding “that blissful consummation” when “the Divine Light shall flood the world from the East to the West.”
 
E. VIRGINIA WOOLF and SOME OTHERS and ME
 
Part 1:

What began in 1984 as an episodic diary and in 1986 as a narrative of pioneering experience covering twenty-five years has become an account covering fifty-one years: 1962-2013.  I would like to add to this introduction to Volume 6 of this diary by returning to the writer I referred to at the start of my introduction to Volume 5.  I will make a few remarks on diary keeping gleaned from studies of the diary of Virginia Woolf. They throw some light on my own work and what I am aiming to accomplish. The whole mass of Woolf’s autobiographical-diaristic writings was a deliberately fragmented ongoing project that she worked on until her suicide at the age of 58. I was just beginning to find a direction in my own autobiographical, diaristic, memoiristic, work at that age of 58 in 2002. 
 
Her work is a rich archive of self-exploration and self-disclosure and often of bafflement that Woolf collected and preserved even though she had no intention of publishing it all, either during her lifetime or in the future.  I had the same attitude to publishing when I began this work but, as it progressed, it seemed to warrant some form of publication. And publish I did in part at least in that cornucopia of genres: the Internet.
 
Part 2:

Woolf’s unpublished and, in some cases at the time, unpublishable writings are often as interesting as the work whose appearance in the public place she supervised attentively—her novels. And a great many of her unpublished writings, especially her diary, some of her notebooks and her various formal experiments in memoir writing, are integral parts of an autobiography that could not integrate all of its parts. She was always writing and her work in toto represents her life.  Her total oeuvre could be seen as an autobiography that her social and familial training inhibited her from shaping into a final form.
 
The integration of all the genres of my writing into one coherent autobiographical whole is certainly a challenge.  Sometimes I feel I am making headway and sometimes I feel the task is too great.  Woolf, the English writer entre des guerres, learned to be attentive to the movements of her own mind to cope with the bipolar tendencies in her life as I, too, have to learn and be attentive to these movements suffering as I also do from the same, or perhaps a different form of, bipolar disorder.  Through self-reflection she found a language for the ebb and flow of thought, fantasy, feeling, and memory, for the shifts of light and dark.  In her writing she preserved, recreated, and altered her perceptions, attitudes and significances of the dead, altering in the process her internal relationship with their invisible presences. "I will go backwards and forwards," so she remarked in her diary, a comment on both her imaginative and writerly practice. I found this description in Katherine Dalsimer's book Virginia Woolf: Becoming a Writer somewhat similar to my own.
 
Part 3:

I began to experience, for the most part insensibly, by the time I began the second twenty-five years of diary keeping(2010-2035), a certain relief, not from dejection as Tennyson and Coleridge found, but from depression and exhaustion, what I have called a tedium vitae. Like Tennyson and Coleridge I found my relief in people outside of myself, in the person of dead friends who never truly died but continued on in my memory and spirit. Tennyson would read letters from a dead friend and I would say prayers of intercession to a range of people from Hands of the Cause to, as I say, dozens of souls whose names I would recite, mantra-like.
 
Coleridge was dejected because he had lost his health, youthful joy, and creativity. I did not feel the loss of these things, in fact, my creativity was perhaps greater than ever. But I felt tired of the social domain, tired of much of life. It was not really depression, for I had known depression only too well. It was a fatigue of the spirit, a distaste for life in varying degrees, a peaceful, restful withdrawal into quietness. It was not unlike the experience of Henry Adams and his sense of isolation and a certain disillusionment. My mind and heart combined, as Adams did during the years of the Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Faith,  force with elevation and this combination gave my life, paradoxically, a new sense of both romance and tragedy.  But all was not force and all was not elevation. More on this later as this introduction develops a life of its own.
 
F. GEORGE ORWELL and ME

Section 1:

George Orwell’s diaries provide another exemplar for my own. My diaries are virtually the opposite to Orwell’s. His diaries are not confessional. In his diaries he very seldom records his emotions, impressions, moods, or feelings; hardly ever his ideas, judgments, and opinions. What he jots down is strictly and dryly factual: events happening in the outside world—or in his own little vegetable garden; his goat Muriel’s slight diarrhoea may have been caused by eating wet grass; Churchill is returning to Cabinet; fighting reported in Manchukuo; rhubarb growing well;  someone reported shot in Moscow; the pansies and red saxifrage are coming into flower; rat population in Britain is estimated at 4–5 million; among the hop-pickers, rhyming slang is not extinct, thus for instance, a dig in the grave means a shave; and at the end of July 1940, as the menace of a German invasion becomes very real, “constantly, as I walk down the street, I find myself looking up at the windows to see which of them would make good machine-gun nests.”

Section 2:

To some extent, both Orwell’s and my diaries could carry as their epigraph his endearing words from his 1946 essay: “Why I Write”:

“I am not able, and I do not want, to completely abandon the world-view that I acquired in childhood. So long as I remain alive and well, I shall continue…to love the surface of the earth, and to take pleasure in solid objects and scraps of uselessinformation.” In my case I acquired the world-view I now possess, by sensible and insensible degrees, in my childhood and teenage life in the 1950s and 1960s, and it has broadened, but not altered, in the last 50 years: 1963-2013.
 
G. CONCLUDING WORDS
 
And so it is that, as my second 25 years of keeping a diary go through their opening years, 2009 to 2013, and as I begin my life at the same time on two old-age pensions, I bring this introduction to Volume 6 of my diary up-to-date.  I may bring it up-to-date from time to time in the years ahead, but no man knoweth when his own end shall be. I encourage readers to go to my poetry and essays, my letters and emails, my Internet posts and the myriad pieces of interaction with others in cyberspace for any material that has a diaristic or journalistic orientation. Much of my other genres of writing is as diaristic, as journalistic, as this diary or journal.
 
Perhaps one of the reasons why I will continue making diary entries into a second 25 year period, a period which will end in 2034 when I am 90, is that a diary is not strictly an autobiography or memoir. It is an antidote to hindsight. We live our life forward but we think of it, so much of the time, backwards in time. A diary entry seals the present moment and preserves it from any altering perspective. It fixes the present like a photograph.  My poetry also achieves this function, but it also provides perspective as it wraps the present moment in the cotton-wool of language or language's river or ocean, if you prefer those metaphors.
 
Ron Price
22/4/’10 to 28/8/’13.
 
Keeping a Diary or Journal: A Retrospective After 25 Years

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