Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dear Diary by Connie Vines

UPDATED blog post:  Additional information about the "Gratitude Journal" and photos!

It wasn’t I until experienced a seven-hour power-outage during a rainstorm on Sunday that I really pondered the world before electricity.

With the rain and cloud-cover, it was very, very dark and icy cold.  I could actually see the alignment of the five planets quite clearly.  For those familiar with the southern California skyline, you know that we cannot see the constellations or planets unless we drive to Palm Springs, the mountains, or the high desert.  So, combined with the exceptionally cold temperatures and wind chill factor, and an inability to prepare a meal inside my kitchen, I felt as if I plopped into the center of one of my historical novels.

This is what had me ponder the act of writing in a diary.

I hadn’t read a diary (except for research purposes in years).

 As a teen or pre-teen, you probably received a diary as a birthday gift or a Christmas present.  I know I did.  The diary with a lock (which anyone, on a whim, could pick) and a key.  At first, my entries were made daily, then weekly, then, seldom at all.  Later, the diary evolved into journaling for a writing class, or jot down events, or milestone in my toddler’s life.  Now I have a journal app on my iPad that I often use for notes and thoughts about my novels points.

None of scribbles in my journals were as emotionally purging or filled with day-to-day angst of a teenager’s life.

Why?  I believe because my of my journaling was via the keyboard.

Scientific studies prove the act of pen to paper stirs creative thoughts.

While I have no real interest in keeping a detailed diary for myself

What about fictional characters?  Do you ever have your fictional characters write a diary?

That is when I recalled my salad days are a writer.

When I starting writing fiction and non-fiction for the magazine market.  I published in “Jr. Medical Detective” and “Humpty Dumpty”.  In my article, “A Candle in the Dark” (still available as part of the Thomas Gale Education Series), my heroine, Sarah kept a diary.  The story dealt with the Salem Witchcraft Trials.  I found the diary to be a very effect plot device.  It was also a good way to give the reader information without using a backstory to interrupt the flow of my story.

What are you feelings about diaries in a novel?

Are there diaries you’ve read you found of interest or diaries that change how you viewed the world?
Why is it a good idea to have a diary in your storyline?

Fictional characters are forced by their authors to carry the story (the process of the narrative).  At the most basic level the diary gives you a first-person narrative without the protagonist knowing what is going to happen.

The use of diaries in novels of the past.

Pamela (1740) by Samuel Richardson is usually described as an epistolary novel.  However, our heroine also writes a journal, and then sews it into her underwear for secrecy.

Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë has a skeletal framework of a diary: “I have just returned from a visit to my landlord. . .Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold.”  Mr. Lockwood will learn about true emotion day by day as he finds out and writes down the story of Heathcliff and the Earnshaws.

Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996) by Helen Fielding is well known to be based on the plot of Pride and Prejudice.

The more I ponder the use of a diary in my next novel, the more I warm to the idea.

I have my favorite pen and I also have turquoise Martha Stewart premium journal I received as a gift for Christmas.  While there isn’t a lock and key, there is an elastic band to keep the journal closed.  There is also a fabric bookmark so that I may keep my place.

I can picture myself writing today's date, time, and my first entry. . .Dear Diary.

UPDATE:

For a self-growth I've also began keeping a Gratitude Journal.




I do not write in the Gratitude Journal on a daily basis.  I write in the journal weekly, or when there is a moment I would like to remember or ponder as too why this event/ conversation was so meaningful to me.

I had jotted down the words, "Music is what feelings sound like."

Yes.  This spoke to my soul; called to my very being.

This is why I play music that complements the story I am working on, or is the choice of my hero/heroine.

What music speaks to me.  Immediately, I knew. The musical I had attended at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles. "The Phantom of the Opera."




Do not the lyrics make you grateful that you can experience the depth of emotion of the tormented hero of the story (I am no fan of Raoul).  However, it is the music that haunts and calls to you; leaving an imprint on your soul.
Phantom for the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Music of the Night
Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation
Darkness stirs and wakes imagination
Silently the senses abandon their defenses
Helpless to resist the notes I write
For I compose the music of the night
[Verse 2: Phantom]
Slowly, gently night unfurls its splendor
Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender
Turn your face away from the garish light of day
Turn your thoughts away from cold unfeeling light
And listen to the music of the night
[Verse 3: Phantom]
Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams
Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before
Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar
And you live as you've never lived before
[Verse 4: Phantom]
Softly, deftly, music shall caress you
Hear it, feel it, secretly possess you
Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind
In this darkness that you know you cannot fight
The darkness of the music of the night
[Verse 5: Phantom]
Let your mind start a journey to a strange new world
Leave all thoughts of the life you knew before
Let your soul take you where you long to be
Only then can you belong to me
[Verse 6: Phantom]
Floating, falling, sweet intoxication
Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation
Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in
To the power of the music that I write
The power of the music of the night
[Ending: Phantom]
You alone can make my song take flight
Help me make the music of the night
[Ending: Phantom]
You alone can make my song take flight
Help me make the music of the night

What music has touched your soul?  
If you are a novelist, what music speaks to you?

Happy Reading,

Connie




1 comment:

Juliet Waldron said...

Connie--I love the old epistolary novels of the 18th - 19th century. In that world of letters so much was communicated pen in hand. And yes, when that little buzz we take for granted stops, there's a feeling of abandonment--everything we use and waste time with is stripped away and we're thrown back on ourselves. Great post!

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