Today is Christmas Eve. In many parts of the world children will wake up tomorrow morning and find presents at the end of their bed, or in stockings at the fireplace. Maybe they will get a much wanted bike, books, or even a puppy.
Christmas is full of magical memories. One way of saving those memories is by taking a photo. This is a photo of me and my sisters with my grandparents when I was about 8 or 9 – I’m the taller girl in the red!
Another way of saving memories is by writing them down in a diary or a journal. I’ve been keeping a diary since I was a teenager and I’ve amassed quite a stack of them at this stage. They are are carefully locked away as they are full of secrets!
I’ve always found that writing things down helps me work through my feelings and helps me make sense of particularly difficult or upsetting days. They say a worry shared is a worry halved, and for me keeping a diary is like telling a trusted friend my problems.
As a young teenager I had many worries:
Do my friends actually like me? The answer to this one was yes, but teenagers don’t always act kindly towards each other – hang in there, it will get easier.
Does everyone feel as alone as I do sometimes? Yes – even as an adult, I think everyone feels alone now and again.
Does everyone notice my spots as much as I do? No, they are far too busy worrying about their own spots!
Who am I supposed to be? How am I supposed to act? I’m in my 40s now and I know who I am – a mum, a writer, a friend, a partner, a sister, a daughter, and a reader. I’m still not sure how to act sometimes, but as you get older you care less and less. You realise that people like you for who you are, not what you are. And if you don’t click with someone, you spend less time worrying about it.
I also kept a ‘boy list’ as the back of my diary of boys I liked. I didn’t actually know many of them, they were boys I’d spotted at a bus stop or working in a shop. I also kept a book list and a movie list and these are fascinating to read back over (far more interesting than the boy lists!). See my 1987 movie list below with the scores out of 10 I gave each film that year.
In some ways I haven’t changed much from my teen years: I’m still mad about books, worry about things, and can be full of energy some days and exhausted and grumpy the next, but one thing that hasn’t changed is my diary keeping. I still do that, 30 years on.
From a young age I’ve always had the urge to write things down, it’s how I make sense of the world. I guess that’s what drove me to write books. This is a photo of me at 17.
In 2016 why don’t YOU try keeping a diary? In 30 year’s time they may give you something truly fascinating to read – the story of YOU.
Happy Christmas to all the Girls Heart Books readers and writers, and most especially to Jo who keeps the whole show on the road. Talk to you again in 2016!
Yours in books,