“The point of the daily diary exercise is not to record what you already know about what happened to you in the last 24 hours. Instead, it’s an invitation to the back of your mind to come forward and reveal to you the perishable images about the day you didn’t notice you noticed at all.”
“The dishonesty of diary writing—this voice you put on for supposedly no one but yourself—I found that idea so depressing. I feel that life has too much artifice in it anyway without making a pretty pattern of your own most intimate thoughts.”
However, it seems to me – as a dedicated diarist and reader of diaries – that there are two primary modes of journaling: One uses the diary as a tool of self-examination and creative discipline (such as Steinbeck’s magnificent work diary), the other as a tool of self-creation and personal mythmaking (such as Anaïs Nin’s deliberate diary, destined for publication). Smith’s resistance appears to be directed at the latter. "I realize I don’t want any record of my days," she writes – but a diary need not merely record life post-factum; it is also an active process that gives shape and structure to the day as life unfolds.