Thursday, 17 March 2016

Writing - Diaries and emotional writing.

I am interested in my families history and spend some money and considerable time in researching the subject. I have managed to trace ancestors back as far as 1686 and yet those relatives born in the twentieth century are sometimes more difficult of which to find details.

Uncle Sid

My uncle Sid, in the rather grainy photo above, was chairman of the local cricket club and was born in 1915 and yet it was like he and his wife and child never existed! Similarly, my Mam's brother, who I knew well as a child, is undiscoverable. Now that is where I believed I had some information in my diaries.

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As a diarist over the last 25 years I felt sure that I would be able to find the date of his death. In an effort to find the date I began perusing the diaries and I found it very difficult. Well impossible to find what I was looking for, but emotionally difficult to read which brings into question what we write in our diaries.
I have always been an advocate of diary writing for would be writers for a couple of reasons. I believe that all muscles, including the writing muscle, need exercise and diaries form a social history record for future generations. In my opinion, my writing can lack emotion and one of the uses I put my diaries to is practice in expressing some emotion. What is the test of how successful you have been in trying such a strategy? Re-read what you have written.
So whilst trying to find the death of Uncle Jim I discovered that I had conveyed emotion but sadly it was mostly depressive!

What I also found was information about the weather, the prices of goods I'd bought and details of the holidays on which I had gone. Writing a diary then may have many purposes but unless you re-read what you have produced how on earth do you learn?

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Htin Kyaw President of Myanmar

When producing memoirs and diaries the new President of Myanmar pictured above may have already produced a significant story. He has published a book about his father's life as a poet. However, his route to power is just as interesting. 
Htin Kyaw is a friend of Myanmar's heroine Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest and banishment by the military rulers of Myanmar for years. Her battles have led to the election of the first non-military ruler for many years. This was at the cost of Ms Suu Kyi not being allowed to stand for the post herself. It would be reasonable to expect that Mr Htin Kyaw may have a very powerful advisor at his back.

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Aung San Suu Kyi

Mr Htin Kyaw's father was Min Thu Wun who wrote poetry and was a well- respected literary force within the former country of Burma.

It is important that books about significant people are written so that we may learn of our past which then shapes the future. In doing so it is correct that feelings and attitudes are expressed because those expressions humanise the works and therefore make them more accessible to a wider audience. Where is the best place to 'rehearse' the skills necessary to produce such historical tomes? Diaries!

God Bless