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dear diary


I've been watching a BBC programme, Dear Diary, about people who have kept diaries or written diary books (Virginia Woolf, Sue Townsend, Anne Frank and others) and it compelled me to dig up one of my old diaries, the only one from childhood I've brought from my parents' house in the States. (I can think of at least two others that must still be in Seattle: one has a stickers on it featuring unicorns and Michael Jackson, and the other was a travel journal from a family trip to Scotland.) Here's the one I have; it's padlocked, but I lost the key ages ago and had to cut through the cover to open it.



In the episode I just watched, Mariella Frostrup interviews the writer Jacqueline Wilson. I've recently read a few of her fab books, but I haven't read one she published last year, My Secret Diary, which is the actual diary she kept when she was fourteen. From the bits she read, she sounds much more sophisticated than I was at that age, but I could identify with her embarrassment about how earnest she was. And my total self-preoccupation and related misery makes me blush. But it's sometimes kind of funny, too.

I was just talking to my sister on the phone and reading her an entry I'd written about her. She laughed, and suggested I turn my entries into illustrations. So I think I will do that, it will make a good excuse to do morning sketches and play around; and if they look a bit crap, I can say they're hearkening back to my drawing then, which wasn't all that great (note the 'gettoblaster' drawing at the bottom of the page). First thing, I'm trying to figure out how to draw myself, how I looked when I was about 13:



It's odd, when you draw characters for published books, you generally try to make the main character look appealing in some way, just so people will want to keep looking at it. But when you're a teenager, you think you look as hideous as humanly possible, so you'd feel like a total fraud, drawing yourself as attractive in any way. I'm trying to make the character fun to look at, but also reflect its awkwardness and unease in its newly developed body shape. I was absolutely convinced, at that age, that because I suddenly grew hips and thighs (without big boobs to match), that I would be a total pariah for the rest of my life. Oddly, I never seemed to take into account that I had the most butch haircut imaginable, shorter and spikier than I've drawn here, and shorter than most of the guys. But for some reason, I thought I had to have that haircut, even though all the other girls had long hair. I'm still trying to figure out exactly why I did that to myself.

...Okay, back soon with my illustrated first diary entry.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
chamonkee
Jan. 16th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
ooh I can't wait to see your entries. I'm a big sucker for diaries. Being raised on adrian mole..
Also my junior school had a great school diary from the fifties. I was a punishment diary kept by the head teacher, which noted all the mischief his students had got up to and how many times he had to cane them and where!
jabberworks
Jan. 17th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
Ha ha, that's rather pervy of him! Imagine doing that now.
chamonkee
Jan. 17th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
It used to be read out at school assemblies!
jaymarcy
Jan. 16th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Awesomeness! It's what I do too, so I can't wait to see it!!
:D
jabberworks
Jan. 17th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
Yay, thanks!
mr_sadhead
Jan. 16th, 2010 06:25 pm (UTC)
Jacqueline Wilson said, I'm in heaven when you smile
I've been thinking a lot about Anne Frank lately, because of "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" and because Miep Gies died ..
You could get a minicomic out of your diary entries! Think "Not My Small Diary".
jabberworks
Jan. 17th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
Re: Jacqueline Wilson said, I'm in heaven when you smile
Good idea, I might try to get a mini out of it! I'll see how it goes. :)
rainboworchid
Jan. 16th, 2010 08:45 pm (UTC)
Marvellous - I love diaries, they're my favourite types of book to read (I can heartily recommend Antony Sher's 'Year of the King' - he's an artist too so it's full of wonderful sketches and drawings). And I keep diary myself to this day!

Really looking forward to your first entry...
jabberworks
Jan. 17th, 2010 10:11 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tip, Garen!

That's interesting you keep a diary. What kind of things do you put in it, personal reflection, commentary on news items, recording the day's events, or a mixture of a bunch of stuff?
rainboworchid
Jan. 17th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC)
Yes a mixture - I've got 'note' diaries and then started in more detail in 1994. Unlike Oscar Wilde - nothing sensational to read on the train, but a rare opportunity to keep with ye olde handewryting.
(Deleted comment)
jabberworks
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
Aw, I would've been so grateful to have been a stick! But yeah, I don't know what it was with the haircut. I think early on I saw someone with feathered sides like Princess Di and I thought it looked cool, but mine strayed far from that with the whole spiky thing. Maybe I thought it was easier to take care of, but now I have longer hair, I realise it's so much easier when I can just put it into a ponytail when I'm being lazy. With short hair, I was always frantically having to wet it down when I woke up in the morning so no one would see it sticking up, all fluffy like a baby chicken.
shug_comics
Jan. 17th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
I was really enjoying that programme... But I bloody fell asleep! I might catch up on the iPlayer.

I don't suppose there was an mention of diary comics? Probably not... Regular diaries is a wide enough subject as it is.
jabberworks
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it wasn't a wild and crazy programme, but it had lots of good moments. Nope, no mention of diary comics. I wonder, has Mariella Frostrup heard of them? Would be interesting to know.
jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com
Jan. 17th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
great
Wow, so excited to see you new art,
they are creatively beautiful.

#1 post for cartoon.
jabberworks
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
Re: great
Thanks so much!
stevegreen
Jan. 18th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC)
Sweet!
jabberworks
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Steve!
shoorayner.wordpress.com
Jan. 18th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
Nice
I love your character. Wouldn't vulnerable and gawky work just as well as cute? You kind of get used to the not so cute things in life and, with repetition, find the subtle cutenes in them.

I never kept a diary, but my sketchbooks/journals have piled up over the years. I always was too scared to draw and spent most of the time writing soppy songs and poems instead.

I still have the one book from when I was about 13 or fourteen that started it all off. I called it the Boogie Book for some reason. I wonder if there is something printable in there? I'd better get up in the attic and have a look.
jabberworks
Jan. 19th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Nice
Yeah, I was thinking more 'appealing' than 'cute'. Gawky, vulnerable characters are often the most appealing. Drawing Morris was a bit like that, he had to be really ugly and disgusting at the same time as being someone people would want to read about. It's a tricky balance. I like Rutu Modan's main character in Exit Wounds; she's very awkward physically and not particularly attractive in a classic way. But she feels very real and you find yourself wanting to know what happens to her.

I'd love to see a page of the Boogie Book! :D
(Anonymous)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
so excited about this!
wow - i was so excited to see my name in your diary! Hopefully we had fun. Wish I had kept one from those days. And I don't remember you as awkward at all - I thought of you as tall and athletic - I always felt so short around the McIntyres!
jabberworks
Jan. 23rd, 2010 09:33 am (UTC)
Re: so excited about this!
Yay!!! Haha, is this Sarah or Kristina? Hello, across the Atlantic! :)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 1st, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
Your sister remembers all.
I want to see more! I love these. We just looked worse for all the efforts we made. Your short, spiked hair, my perm and bangs curled and aqua netted into the claw, and the shinny, blue eye liner and matching mascara... I wouldn't go to soccer practice without it. We can blame some of that on the eighties. we had a some strange waist band, flair items as well. I think the first one was red.
jabberworks
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Your sister remembers all.
We were SO stylin'! Yeah, I remember that red belt thing, too. It was like a big cotton donut around the middle. What were we thinking? Ha ha...
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )