The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives. (At the Morgan Library til May 22). The journals and notebooks and diaries of famous and not so famous people.
Diaries and Journals. Do you keep them? I used to when I was writing frightful moaning poems in my teens and twenties but no more. (Thank Heaven.)
Some write to escape their lives (Charlotte Bronte in her tiny writing), some to record their lives, some to hide their lives and keep secrets (Sophia Peabody Hawthorne blacked bits out), some to jot down equations and calculations in theirs (I know I do... no no I don't... that would be Einstein's 1922 travel diary) and there are some like Steinbeck who say:
"I have tried to keep diaries before, but they didn't work out because of the necessity to be honest."
That's the paradox. It's like twittering and blogs. Is it all too self-conscious to be honest? too edited? not nearly as spontaneous as they pretend?
But it's the physical book people write in as much as what's inside that I find fascinating. Must tap into the writer's (or at least this writer's and several of the writer friends I know) search for the perfect notebook. Like take a look at Queen Victoria's fancy gold embossed Journal of her Highland expeditions. Or Thoreau's journals along with his special family pencils.
I definitely want to go to the exhibition. Apparently there's even an Renaissance iPad (a diary with secret ink technique for an erasable function!).