Why the sneer in "All she's done is publish her diaries"? It's as if this were cheating. As if it were lazy. As if there were no work involved in keeping a diary in the first place: no thinking, no discipline, no creative energy, no focusing or directing of creative energy; no intelligent or artful ordering of material; no choosing material, for God's sake; no shaping of narrative; no ear for the music of human speech; no portrayal of the physical world; no leaping between inner and outer; no examination of motive; no imaginative use of language.
It's as if a diary wrote itself, as if it poured out in a sludgy, involuntary, self-indulgent stream -- and also, even more annoyingly, as if the writer of a diary were so entirely narcissistic, and in some absurd and untenable fashion believed herself to be so entirely unique, so hermetically enclosed in a bubble of self, that a rigorous account of her own experience could have no possible relevance to, or usefulness for, or offer any pleasure to, any other living person on the planet.
Meanjin (March 1, 2002)
(For a sense of how my journal page evolved, take a look here. A highly recommended exercise too!)