Towards the end of 2007, I decided to keep a diary. I’d never done this before, but the inspiration came from a colleague in one of the jobs I’ve had. He was reading a diary his father had left behind when he died, and he was seeing through his father’s eyes the 1940s, the second world war, the life of a young private shipped out to North Africa. He felt he was getting to know who this man had been much better than he ever had during his life. Something about this struck me, and recently becoming a father myself I started thinking about how the dynamics of the relationships we have with people dictate how they perceive us, limit what we can and can’t reveal about ourselves. Would my two year old daughter ever get to really know who I am, what my perspective on the world is, what my neuroses are? I wanted to do something that I could leave lying around that she may discover in twenty or thirty years time, and maybe gain an insight into her father that she had never had before.
The big problem was, I’m a lousy diarist. I ramble, I record ridiculously inane things that nobody in their right mind would find remotely interesting. But then I stumbled across a great book where a group of relatively well known friends endeavoured to write a Haiku a day for a year. A Haiku diary – what a fantastic idea. The form helped me focus in on the substance of each day, on the one defining moment of those twenty four hours that encapsulated my life and my thoughts and my emotions at that precise instant.
A Winter wind, an empty street,
dawn is still an hour away.
The ghosts of this house are restless.
Lost in the brambles:
a shoe, a bottle, my soul.
It’s starting to rain.