I have never kept a diary. I’ve written about this before and, though I have made attempts, each diary peters out after a few entries. I do keep a little health journal with dates and procedures and questions for my doctor (How do I balance the need for Vitamin D with the risk of melanoma?) but at the end of the day, it’s not very exciting reading, even for me, and it’s my body being discussed.
On my desk are a number of writing diaries and my beloved sprint journal. Every time I go away to retreat, I bring my retreat book. I begin on Day 1 with what I want to accomplish overall, record a work plan each day, and end with a summary. It is helpful, but it’s not something I revisit, and I can’t imagine my work plans making it into a panel in the Life of Ramona Museum. (A made-up thing I joke about with my family. Don’t ask about admission. It involves chores.)
But I have come to realize that I live in interesting times. All times are interesting, of course, but this is the only one I’ll be living in, so maybe I have an obligation to record this time in my own words, through my own world view, so the future can have an honest, first person account.
Why me? Is it hubris—conceited—to think that some future generation might learn from and value what I think, what I feel, what I fear, what I hope? I am not famous or extraordinary. I’m just me, just Harry…I mean, just Ramona. There won’t be any Museum of Ramona. Nevertheless, I don’t think it’s hubris to value my time in the world. It is my responsibility as a storyteller.
I see and hear my friends lamenting these difficult times and the ones ahead. There are many ways to bring about change, many ways to fight it. This is one. Tell the truth of what’s happening and what it means to you. History is not only recorded by professional historians, but by everyday people: soldiers, settlers, housewives, orphans, artists, survivors.
Anne Frank kept a diary. Think of the illumination her words have brought to the world. Did she have any idea of her legacy? No.
If today is a day that worries you and tomorrow is one you fear, write about it—to yourself, to a friend, in longhand, on a tablet. Your thoughts and feelings are part of our national consciousness, and our nation’s conscience.
Be heard. Write your story. Be like Anne Frank.