DIARY ENTRIES TO MAKE YOU LAUGH, CRY AND BE CONFOUNDED BY
I’ve never been disciplined enough to keep a diary long-term. But I did keep one for a month in 2007, and then had a crack at another for a fortnight in 2019.
The two diaries were profoundly different in tone and content.
The 2007 diary was all conflict and disappointment as I lurched from acting to writing to producing in an effort to get “ahead” – even though I didn’t know where “ahead” was or what would be waiting for me when I got there.
Friday, July 29, 2007.
“Go into (a Melbourne) casting agency to read the script for a feature film directed by (well-known director). It’s brilliant. The casting agent tells me “on the down-low” that the director has seen me in Wilfred and really wants me for the lead role.”
Wednesday, August 1, 2007.
Audition for the feature film. Two scenes. Do the emotional one first. When I finish, the director says: “OK. Nice. Thanks.” I do the next scene and the director says, “Ok. That’s all I need to see.”
“I could do it another way if you like?”
“No,” says the director. “I’ve seen enough.”
Thursday, August 2. 2007.
Agent calls. I didn’t get the role. Wonder what I did to turn the director around from really wanting me to really NOT wanting me? I’m definitely losing my hair.
My 2019 diary found me in a melancholy mood with entries that included, “I’m quite sad” and “Why am I still insecure?” I’d just finished a period of intense work where I’d spent months away from home - so the diary served as a kind of therapy.
Friday, September 6, 2019.
“Writing this diary helps. I was depressed before I sat down to do this. Must continue.”
And, of course, that was the last entry I wrote.
Looking at both sets of diaries in the cold light of 2023, it’s clear I’m in a better place emotionally. But what’s clearer is I loathe reading my own diary. It’s like reading about an idiot walking in slow motion towards a cliff. But I love reading other people’s diaries. (Published diaries – not personal, obvs.)
I think the published diary reveals more than a regular memoir. It captures writers’ personalities at their most vulnerable and indulgent. But more importantly, to me anyway, diaries are an easy way to make the reader laugh.
“I kept a diary the whole time and it’s inadvertently hilarious,” Elton John said of his path to fame in the 1970s. “I wrote everything down in this matter-of-fact way, which ends up making it seem even more preposterous: ‘Woke up, watched Grandstand. Wrote Candle in the Wind. Went to London, bought Rolls-Royce. Ringo Starr came for dinner.’”
Here are my favourite diary extracts of all time.