The first person to suggest a diary or journal was probably Mrs. Showalter, my 4th grade teacher. I never did it and got an F. My main reasoning was that I had NO intention of revealing my private thoughts to ANYONE, especially bullies. One of those "wish I could go back in time moments" I have had came later in high school.
Later, in junior high, I knew this girl named Dawn who was a real wild child. She confided in me (at 13) that she got away with so much because she found out her parents read her diary, so this:
Last night, I went out to see a punk band down in Adams Morgan. I got totally wasted. My 20 year old boyfriend Tim had scored some LSD, and we tripped all night. Tammy's mom was out of town, so a bunch of crashed at her house, and played Pink Floyd while we all made out. Mom called on the phone, and Mandy pretended to be Tammy's mom to say we were out bowling. Then we found some cash, and went back out and slept in Rock Creek park. I had to score some birth control pills in DC anyway. I skipped a few days, and I was starting to get nervous.
Became this in her diary:
Dear Diary. I was at Tammy's house for a sleepover. Tammy's mom made us Kool-Aid and we talked all night about boys. I love Andy Gibb. Oh my God, he's so cool! Then we had a taffy pull and had o-so-much-fun! Mom called. Uh. MOM! How embarrassing. We went out bowling where we saw some guy in the parking lot say a swear word! Wow, he was SCARY! Mandy's getting braces. I hate my braces, so secretly, I am glad. My braces come off in a few months, and then I'll just have to wear a retainer! Andy Gibb, here I come! XOXOXOX!!
Her parents never knew. Until she became addicted to heroin, and told her little brother he was dying, but his parents were too afraid to tell him. Then they disowned her! WTG, mom and dad!
Anyway, this further proved to me that diaries were dangerous things to keep. So in high school, when Kate and I had the same English teacher (whose name I can't recall, but her claim to fame is she was one of the girls on horseback in the beginning of the documentary on Woodstock), this teacher assigned us to write a daily journal and read it aloud in class every Friday for a month. There was NO WAY... well, I was really in a bind not to fail at that point, so Kate and I discussed faking the diaries as a way out. I wanted to make them as bland as possible, since they would blend right in to half of the class. Kate wanted to "spice" them with unbelievable stuff, but some other student had already been accused of that. We almost went with "horrifying but believable," but I chickened out and did boring stuff. Like this:
Monday: I woke up. I went to school. I had a test. I went home. I did homework. I fell asleep.
The teacher then asked me to "explore my creative writing skills" and to "give objective opinions" and it was very tempting, but I chickened out with:
Monday: I woke up in bed. I got out of bed, dressed, and went to school. I had a no test this time. I went home from school. I did homework assigned to me. I don't like homework. I fell asleep when I was tired.
Now? Good thing I can't go back in time. My "journal" would certainly be lashing out with the stark reality. The kind sheltered yuppies can't listen to. Most of it has been listed here, so I won't give an example, but I recall Kate has some story about rampant drug use and being a sexual slave. We really didn't know details about such things, but now, I bet I could have written a real doozy:
Monday: I woke up with the familiar taste of blood in my mouth. I rolled out of bed on top of some girl I didn't even know. Her face was pale and cold, and I thought she might of died, but then she started coughing as a light puff of cocaine burst from one crusty nostril. "Oh my God..." she started moaning, and I didn't want to hear that. I put $200 on the nightstand and told her to not be there when I got back from school if she knew what was good for her. I went into the shower. I was too sore to get undressed so I let hot water run all over me until the weight of it pulled my jeans down around my ankles. I took a whiz, then removed my underwear and took another whiz. Shit, what did I do last night? I had a huge bruise on my arm, and there were new cuts as well. I distantly remember a fight. The sound of gunshots. Sirens, hiding in a cardboard box... shit, where was my gun?
Buuuut... I don't think that would have been a good idea... hee! At least it would have been creative! Later, with the help of my guidance counselor and huge school file, I was made "exempt" because by that time, the school knew my home life sucked.
Later on, when I was on my own, I thought I'd give it a shot along with my finances. I have a copy of them around here somewhere. They go kind of like:
$400.00 - Rent for March. Paid Liska.
$5.00 - Sandwich at Subways. There's a guy named Morrow who is trying to sell me a franchise.
$1.20 - Bus fare. Crazy guy tried to tell me Jesus was a "red man," whatever that means.
That only lasted a month, because I was so anal, I tried to record every since cent I spent, and that's just impossible.
Then I tried again in 1993, based on an idea in a writer's magazine. I made a few entries, but they got wiped out in a disastrous hard drive snafu, and it turns out, the backups were unretrievable (fuck you Norton, and your proprietary crap). Thanks to a DOS undelete program, I did manage to get some of my writing back, but the journals were gone for good. I never restarted the journals.
When I got a web site in 1994, I had a "new" section, which became a "new" page, and then spun off a "diary page." For the next few years, I just kept a running log every month or so, and then at the end of the year, re-wrote them as a summary. I started a real blog around 2002, and haven't looked back since.
I wish I had this outlet back as a teen, it's been a real great help to sort crap out in my life.