diaries

How To Keep a Diary Like Virginia Woolf

“Begin by making your own diary-books. Find some old books in a second-hand shop or a car boo sale, books with good covers and bindings. Pull out some pages and fill them with your own choice of paper. Disguise your diary inside old school textbooks, the ones that used to teach grammar. Virginia Woolf was appalled by her negligent grammar. But grammar was not the point. Practice writing with and without it. Allow yourself to move. Woolf galloped through sentences in her diary, in a haphazard way. ‘It loosens the ligaments,’ she said. Her diary was somewhere she could appear ‘slovenly’ and ‘elastic’. Not everything we jot down in our diaries needs to be carefully thought out. Put on baggy clothes. Relax your mental joints. No one but you is looking. Let your brain go loose and floppy. Let your hand lead the way. Get inside your body and find a rhythm. Bring your brain into contact with your breathing. Let go.”

Sally Bayley, The Private Life of the Diary

I swim in the sky; I float; my body is full of flowers, flowers with fingers giving me acute, acute caresses, sparks, jewels, quivers of joy, dizziness, such dizziness. Music inside of one, drunkenness. Only closing the eyes and remembering, and the hunger, the hunger for more, more, the great hunger, the voracious hunger, and thirst.
—  Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin