Of all my diary entries so far this is the one I most longed to rewrite. In my defense, it’s entry #7 of what now totals over 15,000 entries. When I wrote it, I was a 12-year-old amateur but that’s just an excuse, not the problem. The problem, obviously, is the stilted, cloying, artificial prose. “Anticipating lovely things of the future?” Please, who talks like that, outside of terrible Victorian novels?
The one redeeming quality in these early journals is my penmanship. My writing was larger, rounder, loopier with robust capital letters. This made it significantly more legible, which was darn lucky because for the first two years I wrote with a dull smudgy pencil – sheer torture to decipher fifty years later.
Reading the Diary of Anne Frank was my inspiration. I aspired to be as talented and profound as Anne, oblivious to the distance that separated my pedestrian prose from hers. Her diary inspired empathy as well as suspense due to her horrible (but historically significant) circumstances. Given my diary details the plight of a preacher’s daughter in suburban Santa Clara in 1964, the only thing our two diaries really have in common is they were both written by teen-agers.
My little town made history after I left, when Santa Clara became Silicon Valley. Even though most of my friends’ parents worked in electronics, I remained blithely oblivious to what that meant.
My world wasn’t much larger than my friends and family. As much as I loved Anne Frank’s diary, I couldn’t be her. I lacked her talent and the sweep and scope of her canvas. That said, what matters more in life than your relationship with your friends and family?
So even with my limitations, maybe I’ve got something to say – if that prissy judgmental twit who wrote today’s entry gets out of my way.