Sunday, August 30, 2009
If there’s one thing I love more than writing in you, dear diary, it would be reading the diaries of others. Oh, I know that sounds scandalous – after all, a diary is meant to be the dwelling place for all our most secret thoughts and dreams, isn’t it? Surely that’s what the diaries I’ve kept these many years have been for me.
But on occasion, someone sees fit to publish their diary. Usually that’s an “important” someone – a writer, artist, or statesman – someone whose life would be of particular interest to others, so they generously share their innermost feelings with the world.
Today I’m completely caught up in The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, a volume in which dear Miss Bronte (assisted by the imagination of Syrie James) has decided to “unburden her soul – to reveal certain truths which I have hitherto shared with only a few of my most intimate connections – and some which I have never dared breathe to a living soul.” For you see, Charlotte is in crisis, and “faced with a dilemma of the weightiest proportion.”
Diary, you know my great admiration for Miss Bronte, her life and her work, an admiration which began when I was but a young girl and read Jane Eyre for the very first time. The world she created was so captivating to my imagination, appealing to that rather dark side of my nature, as well as to the romantic young woman I was fast becoming. And then I read Girl With A Pen, a biography by Elisabeth Kyle, which stirred my own inner longings to write. From that moment on, I was fascinated with the Bronte family and compulsively drawn to their life on the high and windy moors of Yorkshire.
It is natural, I suppose, for a writer to use words as a means of working through those difficult times in life we all must face. So our diaries become more than a mere record of our days, but a place where the pen aides us in ordering our deepest thoughts and fears, in daring to give life to our hopes and dreams. In reading Charlotte’s diary, I’m coming to understand even more about this woman and her strong commitment to her ideals and her art. Reading about her life, her determination to see her work in print, to share the stories that she felt deserved to be told, I appreciate even more the writer’s craft and the work entailed in spinning stories for the world to read.
Now I share one of my deepest secrets with you, Dear Diary. It is my own yearning to move people with words, to make them think, to strike a chord of recognition in their souls when they read something that I have written.
For now, I go back to reading Charlotte’s diary, and find out what other secrets she might impart.