These days when I want to make an arrangement with someone they take out their phone and start finger skating on the screen. Meanwhile I’m leafing through my little appointments diary, pen poised, looking terribly 20th century.
But this lady is not for modernising. The scribbled notes of today are my memory bank for the future. Unlike the data entered into a device, one day I will be able to find that diary at the back of a drawer and step into my everyday life in a given year. It will all come back to me – the old car that kept breaking down, my brief flirtation with jogging, a friendship that has since lapsed. In among the mundane details I might find a little gem like the day the baby took her first steps.
For me a small appointments diary is sufficient to keep a basic narrative and it helps me feel things are not slipping away from me – funny things my kids say, what I planted in the garden, friends invited for dinner. Space is limited but the fact of keeping a record is important. There’s also the memorabilia hiding between the pages, ticket stubs and to do lists that are treasure for a nostalgia nut like me.
At the moment my diary is punctuated with notes on writing submissions and rejections. For the past year or so, I’ve always had at least one piece of work out there, keeping the thread of optimism unbroken. When a response comes with the word ‘unfortunately’ in the first line, I sigh a few times and then make a note of it. This little action allows me to claim the result and draw a line under it – or through it if I’m feeling peevish.
Not to worry, there’s another open submission in the diary somewhere, and anything is possible.