About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Dear Diary By Holly Searle





I have kept a diary since I was fifteen.

That seems like ages ago now. Which of course it is.

I have no idea why I started to keep one, it may well have been instilled in me by the Monday morning ritual at primary school.

Each Monday we were required to write down what we had done over the weekend and embellish this with an illustration.

I used too stress about these entries as I always worried that my weekends were not as exciting as my classmates.

I can quite clearly recall adopting a modicum of artistic licence even back then, when having exhausted all possibilities of providing anything of merit, I just made something up.

I let out a deep mental sigh as I realised, there and then, that I could actually do that. I could make something up, and no one (apart from me), would be any the wiser.

Except me.

My teacher remarked after reading it "Oh how lovely."

Result.

Later on, when I was fifteen, I bought my first diary and away I went.

It was a tiny little jobbie. There wasn't really that much space to write anything of any great interest. It mostly just allowed me to make notations about meetings and alluded to friends, and a bit of telly and music and the like.

I then moved on to an equally smallish one, but at least it afforded me a day per page as opposed to five per two pages.

That's diary spec speak.

I became quite adamant about filling it in with everything and anything I could.

And from then on, I was hooked.

With each new diary came a new year and vice versa, all recorded, by me on their virgin pages.

The only time I ever stopped, was during my twenties when a boyfriend I was living with read my diary and started questioning me about my entries.

How very dare he.

I was so affronted, that I left him and stopped keeping one for a number of years.

I regret this deeply now as I have Lost Years that I can only access via my memory bank and not in a written format.

It is terribly frustrating.

And here is why.

What a diary allows you to do, is to revisit the person that you once were, and all of the people and places that you knew.

It is amazing.

They are like little tardises that can transport you back to a moment in your history that you had long since forgotten.

There is that saying that people use. The one that goes "If I knew then what I know now."

That is what these tiny formations of your own personal history allow you to see, who you once were, but also more importantly, who you have become.

They are fascinating little scribes and insights into a past that I create as I write the page for the day that I have just participated in each and every night.

My early diaries are bizarre to read. I think to myself "Who the hell is this person?"

And more often than not, I think about the people I knew and wonder about them. And sometimes, I cannot place who the person is that I have dedicated an entry too.

I rack my brain and shake my head, until I finally mentally smile and think to myself "Oh it was them!"

Some contain ticket receipts for films or bands that I saw. Or more personal artefacts like a pressed flower or a card that someone gave me.

Some nights, after I have written about my day, I think "I wonder what I was doing on this very day last year?" And hey presto, I can actually read about it, as I have recorded it all in a previous diary.

Sometimes the concertina effect of time and space plays tricks on me, as I discover an entry for an event, that I could have sworn was fairly recent, but was in fact ages ago.

I think "Blinking heck, was that really that long ago?"

The other night I looked back further and was delighted to find that I am happier now than I was back then.

They are fantastic tools and I love keeping mine.

As you can imagine, I have amassed quite a collection now. Unlike Kenneth Williams', mine aren't all the same style. They all vary and mirror quite nicely each year in which they were written.

I do wonder sometimes if it is just me that keeps a diary as people often comment, on discovering that I do, that they wouldn't have the discipline to do so.

But it isn't really discipline that keeps me recording it all.

It is just like that sequence in The Time Machine when Rod Taylor keeps moving the lever on the time machine a little further and further, thus propelling himself forward in time and enabling him to see how time changes everything.

It is a bit like that keeping a diary, but only in reverse.

And just as Rod discovered, it is all quite illuminating, and that is why I keep it up and will continue to do so.


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