I WAS surprised to read that diaries are still popular.
In the age of Twitter and Facebook, four out of five girls aged between 16 and 19 keep a diary, according to a survey by TV channel E4.
This is reassuring because it means people still actually write rather than live by text message. And while the diaries of young ladies should undoubtedly remain private, it keeps alive a tradition that has produced works that have become slices of history.
Samuel Pepys, for instance, is one of the most famous diarists in the world, not because he was particularly good but because of the period in which he lived and the position he held.
He rose to become Chief Secretary of the Admiralty and kept his diary from 1660 for almost 10 years.
It covered national events, everyday life and provides first hand accounts of the Plague and the Great Fire of London.
It’s not exactly a right riveting read, but I have dipped into it on occasions and found it enlightening.
Not that I am a particular fan of diaries. The last two I again dipped into, without devouring cover to cover, were volumes by Noel Coward and Joseph Goebbels, and you can’t get more varied than them.
The beauty of a diary is that anyone can keep one and therein produces a book. And how many times have you heard someone say ‘I could write a book’?
A diary is the simplest and purest form and can add to any family archive.
When I was sweet 16 and took myself very seriously I started keeping diaries. I still have them, despite the fact that my eldest daughter read them a few years ago and with a grin commented: “You were a prat, weren’t you?” And yes, I was, but the diaries are still there for future generations to come to the same conclusion.
I could, of course, attempt to get them published and become famous like Bridget Jones or Adrian Mole. All I need is a title.
What do you think of: The Diary of Denis Kilcommons aged 16 and a half (going on 13)?