I read the diary of Anne Frank in fifth grade. Our assignment was to read the book, then choose one of the listed projects as a book report. I chose to make a diorama. (It was an awesome diorama. I don’t know why we didn’t save it.) Then I went on with my life.
Little did I know that Anne and I would still have a relationship through the rest of my life.
I started journaling when I was pretty young. I don’t know that you would really call it journaling, actually. It was more like letters to my diary. I has a journal that had Winnie the Pooh’s face on it and was fuzzy, and I distinctly recall writing a letter telling it how fuzzy and soft it was.
And you thought I was strange before.
My troubles with journaling had only begun.
Then, fifth grade rolled around, and I read her diary. It was a literary masterpiece, especially for an adolescent girl. She was so honest about her life, and her story was so gripping, particularly if you knew how it ended. She definitely planted the writing bug in my head.
And the most amazing part about it – to me – is that she wasn’t writing for millions of people all over the world. She was just writing for Anne. She was just writing to her “kitty”, as she called it. It wasn’t meant to be found, published, and read by a fifth grade girl nearly 60 years after she had written it.
So, when (mostly in an effort to imitate my sister) I decided that I wanted to keep a journal, it proved to be a daunting task. What if they find this and publish it? Well, then I certainly can’t be totally honest. And I need to write in pencil so that I can make sure I words things well. And this can’t be a place to process thoughts, I need to figure out where I’m going but make THEM think that I don’t. Who is them? Whoever they were, they were always in the back of my mind as I wrote.
Now it makes me want to find all of my journals from that time and burn them.
I didn’t get the point, that it was the raw honesty and lack of audience that made it worth writing – and possibly worth reading. Her “kitty” was an inanimate listening ear when she had to be careful to not alert other ears to her presence.
Anne is still in the back of my mind when I journal now, but less as a goal and more of an example.