Journal, Diary and Memoir

May 7, 2015 Journal


Is what I write considered a diary, a journal or a memoir? I pondered this question as I finished edits on Mono No Aware and continued typing up entries for Wings of Desire. I posed this question on Facebook. The consensus seems to be that a diary is a daily record of events where as a journal is more how you feel about those events. Personally, I always thought a diary was more intimate and a journal more chronological. I’m not sure it matters though. When they published Sylvia Plath’s writing they called it a Journal. And yet Anais Nin published hers under the title of Diary. Interestingly, a lot of the first well known diaries were written by men and yet most guys would today would consider a diary a girl thing. Guys prefer the term journal now. Diary conjurors images of a girl with a locked book writing about crushes. Journal conjurors up the image of someone on a journey—maybe even an adventure.


I called my Volumes The Subtext Diary Series. However, my writing has continued to evolve over the years. I do often keep these books as a daily record even though I tend to write weekly. I find that there needs to be a build up of events. Writing daily feels tedious and I often don’t have the time or don’t feel like writing every day. Writing weekly give me a chance to process my thoughts and come up with a theme. I do go off on tangents or digressions when describing how I feel about something. These tangents can be insightful at times. I also write dialogue, which you don’t see much of in diaries or journals. The dialogue reads more like it is out of a memoir perhaps. Writing about books and movies adds an essay like quality to my entries as well. My diary has become a sort of common place book among other things.



Honestly, I was getting bored with daily stuff and rehashing all my issues, so I started writing about things that I was interested in to keep it interesting. If I was bored writing it, I could imagine that my readers would also grow bored reading it. I could have easily given up on the diary and stopped writing it, but instead I let it evolve. It felt like a natural progression. It was a leap I wish I had thought of sooner thought. I could have written much on the topics I read about in and out of school. But for many years my studies seemed disconnected from my daily life. It wasn’t until my intense feelings for someone who taught one of my classes came along that I started drawing parallels. And even then it was consistent in my writing. When I found myself out of school and unemployed, I grew restless. I needed intellectual stimulation, so I read and wrote on random topics. That led to a a period of much growth in my life.

I’ve never been one to follow convention. I never set out to make my writing one thing or another. I just write. Words forth on the page, becoming some hybrid of forms in the process. Diary, Journal, Memoir, Essay and Common Place all blend and bleed like the ink on my pages. It is one of many things, as I am. Mind, Body and Soul need not be separated in life or on the page.



About carilynn27

Reading and writing and writing about reading are my passion. I've been keeping a journal since I was 14. I also write fiction and poetry. I published my first collection of short stories, "Radiant Darkness" in 2000. I followed that up with my first collection of poetry in 2001 called "Journey without a Map." In 2008, I published "Persephone's Echo" another collection of poetry. Since then I've also published Emotional Espionage, The Way The Story Ended, My Perfect Drug and Out There. I have my BA in English from The Ohio State University at Mansfield and my MA in English Lit from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I also have my Post BA Certificate in Women's Studies. I am the mother of two beautiful children. :-)
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