Thursday, 14 May 2009

Diary vs. Journal vs. Blog

I've been employed this summer to help out a family with a special needs kid. This kid's older sister (eleven years old) was telling me about the books she likes to read - namely the Dear Canada, Dear America, and Royal Diaries series. It got me thinking - there are quite a few books that are written in journal entry format, but most, if not all, of them declare a female author. That got me wondering why. Is it that guys just don't write journals? (And note here the switch from the term diary to journal - one is exceedingly less girly than the other)

My grandpa kept a journal when he was hospitalized at 16. I can barely read the chicken scratch, but he kept it faithfully until the little farmer's pocket ledger was full (which took half a year). Here's an excerpt, with corrected spelling and punctuation:

Apr 3, 1946: Old Smith was in hall. Pulled us out in sunporch.
Apr 4: Old Smith was mad at Jimmy and me for laughing at him. Was too cold to be moved in sunporch.
Apr 5: Had an awful time with Smith always doing something.
Apr 6: Was in sunporch. Saw a boy that was shot and removed the bullet through his side.
Apr 7: Was listening to radio nearly all day. Smith was very (indecipherable) during visiting hours.
Apr 8: Was in sunporch. Suderman boys were here.
Apr 9: Jimmy went up for an appendix operation. Old Smith tried to commit suicide - threw himself against the window, cut his arm all up. Was too cold to go in sunporch.
Apr 10: I had just a few visitors. Ed Theissen was here to see me.
Apr 11: My radio wouldn't work. Had three letters. Jimmy was feeling very sick.
Apr 12: I was in sunporch....

These entries are some of his more descriptive ones. Seems worthy of publication to me, no? It keeps me interested, at least.

But in all fairness, I can think of one novel that features a male journal-keeper: The Sorrows of Young Werther, by Goethe. Hey, there's suicide in that one, too. I wonder if it's a pattern.

By way of making this relevant, blogging is usually described as Internet journaling. It would be interesting to see whether more guys or girls have blogs. Also, I expect if we reduce the entire blogsphere into two categories, personal/narrative and technical/opinion blogs, that more girls (per capita) would have the former, and guys the latter. That's my hypothesis, at any rate.

"Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will." Goethe


Bri said...

Grandpa must have liked that sunporch. Still, it's funny he's so nonchalant about people getting shot or trying to commit suicide.

If the girl wants to borrow any of my Dear Canada or Royal Diary books then she can.

art said...

I have not read any of Grandpa's journal entries. Perhaps the reason he did not continue journaling was because it was not very exciting. I think I had a diary at one point in my life. I think it had about the same excitement level though. Your mother on the other hand had a much more exciting diary. I have it in my office. Let me quote her entry for October 27, 1971

When I was at school I saw my boyfriend Bruce. He was carrying a soccer thing into the school. He was wearing purple pants and a nice blue winter coat. Jimmy Osmond, Donny, Wayne, Anon, Merill, and Jay are also very cute. They have a sister and two other brothers who are married. I bet their just as cute as the other Osmonds. The End.

Sandra said...

Oh, I almost peed my pants reading that!! Too funny. Yes, we all loved Bruce Ramsey. It's "Alan" Osmond, not "Anon"???? I can't believe I spelled "their" instead of "they're". Oh, well--I'll chalk it up to the fact that I was 8 years old!!!!!!!!!!!!
The End.

Justin said...

Wow Mom! Wern't you a little young.

Mom said...

I was very mature for my age. :)