It took me more than three weeks to finish this book. That is not because I couldn’t get into it. On the contrary. This is the more inspiring book I have read in a very long time
You know about my theory that important books come our way when we need them the most. I needed this one, as I was stumbling with my own writing. I needed to find again a sense of belief in my novel, which is written in journal-style. So I find in our library, on the shelf with non-fiction on writing, this treasure – a book about women and their diaries. A book about artists and their personal, intimate writing. A book about the miracle of putting yourself, unedited, on the simple page of a bound empty book.
I have been writing a diary since I was 12. It seems that most women start their diaries around this age. It is the time when we begin to find the fracture between who we are and what the society requires of us. Interesting, right? For those of us who keep their own diaries, they represent an intense and never-ending source of curiosity and interest. We love journals.
Marlene Schiwy has a workshop on journal writing, so a big part of this book is also addressed to women who just start to discover the diary. She tells about the diary’s healing function, about how it can be of use in multiple ways, about how to begin, how to keep going.
I personally didn’t find those parts of much use, as I have been writing my own journal for decades and I already have my own rituals around it. Still, even I found a piece of advice inspiring – writing down the dreams. I have been thinking about this for a long time, but never really took it up, as it seemed so overwhelming (so many dreams out there). But after reading this book, I decided that I have to do it. It was again confirmed to me that many times artists use dreams in their art. I found out that, for example, the writer Bharati Mukherjee found the ending for one of her stories in a dream. Maybe I can also find the ending for mine? Because when I am awake it eludes me.
I loved this book. I need to have this book. I cannot recommend it enough. A book about women and their diaries. What can be more fascinating? As soon as I am finished with this review, I am taking my red notebook to write down the list of published journals that are referred to in this book. Some of them I’ve already read (like Anais Nin and Virginia Woolf) but there are so many more out there.
It is the first time when, after reading something, I feel like contacting the author to tell her what an wonderful thing she did by bringing this book into the world. Maybe I’ll do just that.