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Faux historical diaries

October 25, 2011

Recently, I found a bunch of “historical” blogs where faux historical characters record their thoughts in diaries composed by the blog’s author: “October 25, 1778. Today I ate hardtack and then pounded the corn for bread.”

Why don’t I do this?

Because my characters don’t do soothing historical re-enactment things.

For example, if I were to reconstruct a typical Percy Shelley day, it would sound something like this: “Today, I took off all of my clothes and read Herodotus on a rock.” Or: “Someone was chasing me down the street, but when I turned around no one was there.”

Besides, the thing about diaries, real diaries, is that the writers don’t often explain things to the outside world. Sometimes they don’t bother with sentences. Sometimes not even words. Godwin, Mary’s father, used a system of lines (————) and “X”s to record intimate encounters with the women in his life. He also never wrote out an entire name.

So a typical entry in Godwin’s diary looks something like this: “——————-. tea L.B.S. & R.”

That is not as fun as pounding corn.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 26, 2011 6:39 am

    That’s great that you pointed it out. I would never think of that but now when you told it I understand that it’s very true. A real diary can never look like a book, or at least not always.
    That’s an interesting thought, I’m really happy I’ve read this post.

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