The other month my parents delivered a box of my teenage diaries to me. Perhaps you keep one at the moment? Well, imagine what it is like to read it some thirty years later – to meet yourself coming back again.
While much of it is excruciating to read (lots of worrying about school work, what I was eating, boys, the usual stuff), I’ve had some lovely surprises looking back.
Here’s what I was writing on 29 January 1983: ‘I have also realised today I spend much of my life waiting for my fantasy world to arrive….I think that I will start to make it more solid and put it into my books (if I write any).’ That girl would be delighted to know that she did do that – eventually.
And sometimes I remember to put in details of how much things cost. I bought a ‘personal stereo tape recorder’, the iPod of its day, and it cost me £20 (please, give that a big ‘woo!’ because that is SO 1980s). I got a story tape of ‘The Day of the Triffids’ to listen to (it’s a very scary story best listened to that watched as it involves walking plants).
And then there’s the sibling rivalry. I’m outraged on 26th April when I find my brother eating one of the last flakes in the fridge. (Just so you know, Rob, I’d still be cross if you did that. Don’t get between a girl and her chocolate). Unfortunately, I sound really annoying as I make my complaint: ‘I know it sounds petty but it’s not the flake but the fact that he has no self restraint when it comes to other peoples property.’ Don’t kid yourself, younger self, it was the flake. It strikes me now that that’s the kind of sentence Jane Austen puts in the mouth of her characters to show up their prissiness.
But my favourite moment is the section on my perfect day. It runs over several entries but here’s a little extract. It’s unintentionally funny but even my grown up self would still like to do this:
‘I would walk in solitary splendour to the shore and would feel slightly melancholy but an indulging sadness not too deep. I would reach the shore and find it deserted with only a lone gull crying to the wind and the gentian blue sea sparkling and lapping onto the beach. The wind would be a bit gusty and it would send my hair whipping in abandon around my face. I would walk along the shore and find beautiful shells and interesting rock pools.’
And so it goes on to a cave, an abandoned house with a chest of interesting treasures, concluding with dinner with Tolkien (whom I have brought back to life, but I’m allowed to because it is a dream day).
So what’s in your diary – or your teenage one if you are an older person looking back? Dare you confess it here?