Remembering Others’ Pasts

Captain H.T. Lewis Diary: a wonderful description of the beauty of the words past lives in diaries.

Tipsy Words

If there were dreams to sell,
Merry and sad to tell,
And the crier rang the bell,
What would you buy?

– T.L. Beddoes from Dream Pedlary

I’m not a big fan of novels written in diary form. I do, however, enjoy reading the real thing. I usually have to read a published work if I want to read someone’s account of their daily lives, since diaries are traditionally not a widely shared thing. (Blogs are another matter.)

So, the other night I had a lovely midnight reading fest. I just about at up a story written 84 years ago when writing for oneself seems to have been more a genuine effort at pleasurable and reflective engagement with one’s own life than it does today. Today, with all our “reality shows” and YouTube confessionals, personal blogs and ego-based attempts at snatching fame for fame’s sake, it seems as if a lot…

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