Monday, February 16, 2015

Interview a Notebook: Celtic Diary

(Remember, the giveaway and signup for Fan Month is still up! Go check it out!)

It’s Monday—and we’re going to interview another notebook! Sort of. The last two weeks we’ve taken a closer look at a few of my writer’s notebooks, but this time I thought I’d interview an old diary, just to mix things up.

Tell a little bit about this notebook. Where did you get this notebook? Why did you start writing in it?

This is the second journal I ever filled; I had just finished the first one, so I went to Barnes and Noble picked up this pretty design. :) I still love the cover, and it has an elastic strap and a pocket in the back.

Essentially, it was a good place to continue my thoughts and it was the most beautiful journal in the store.

How long did it take you to fill all the pages?

This journal lasted me from January 13, 2011 to May 1, 2011. (I date my pages in diaries, but not in journals.)

Summarize the things you’ve written in the notebook. 

Celtic Cross
Flickr Credit: Fiona Thomson
This is the latter half of my eighth grade year and the experiences I had with friends online and the things I was experiencing in that life. There’s me complaining and being a silly person and having much different thoughts about God than I have now—but I was young and innocent and didn’t know better.

Really, though, the person who is writing this and the person who wrote that are two different people entirely.

Paste a snippet from within the story, as is. No editing allowed!

(names are edited just because safety for other people; nothing personal, but this is the Internet)

We moved onto a different slubject on the channel, which was random. I made an account on Youtube for Nancy since her computer wasn’t letting her. She freaked out at first, since she didn’t exactly know I had her email, which I got from the forum. I said a bunch of stuff so she knew she was safe. Her last name is in her email: nsmith. As in Nancy Smith. But I promised her I wouldn’t let anyone have it. I meant all of the promises too. When I really make a promise, I keep it. Same with Casey. Same w/ the others.

Nancy also said that I mean a lot to her. I always stayed calm and stuff.

When Andrea said that she didn’t feel like she meant very much, I said that I couldn’t replace her. She’s one of a kind. About as rare as a $36.92 dollar bill.

According to Nancy, it’s in my personality to make people feel good. It’s embedded in my DNA. I said that I rarely feel like I’m doing stuff right. It’s only when I’m writing when I feel like I’m actually making something worth keeping. Here. On the IRC. In my story journal. That’s what I’m good at. :)

(Slubject was a thing, by the way. Not a typing error. XD)

What’s the best doodle/brain bubble in the margins?

I didn’t really doodle in this diary, but there is a pocket in the back with a few mementos. This one is my ticket to a talent show when my best friend was performing, and I was proud of her, because she was the first decent performance that night.

Also, my best friend was stalked by a random student who didn’t know her name but thought she was “kind of cute” and I called him a stalker, to the amusement of her family. I believe I also said something that led her mom to say, “Heather, you know lots of things.”

She wasn’t wrong.

Are you still working on anything originally written in this notebook?

Thank goodness, no. I mean, of course I’m still best friends with my best friend and I have maintained a few of my friendships, but this diary is basically a testament to things I shouldn’t have done.

Do you think you would go back to anything written in this notebook?

To be honest, I’ve really struggled getting through this notebook for this interview. It’s pretty on the outside… Not so pretty on the inside. I don’t read it often, and I definitely never want to go back to the situations in this book. Even though I wrote about happy times in my life, what I didn’t see at the time was that many of my friends were hurting me—maybe not intentionally, but still hurting me—and I was too naïve to recognize my situation or change it.

It almost hurts to read this thing… But I’ve never been one to say that pain is a bad thing, either.

Are you mostly embarrassed by this notebook, or mostly proud?

I’m ashamed. I don’t say embarrassed because in some of my other writer’s notebooks, I just didn’t have enough practice to write serious work, and they’re all first drafts. And we all have the right to laugh at the first drafts we wrote in eighth grade, I think.
Celtic Cross Redding Cemetery
Flickr Credit: Denise O'Brien

I am ashamed of this journal. To this day I sign my name in my own diary when I’ve finished—these things have never been letters for me, or anything more than a place to record my thoughts—but signing my name at the end feels final, and I like it that way.

But instead of signing Heather at the end of every entry, I wrote the name Shadow. A fictional character who was superior to me in every way—beautiful, an accomplished singer, of godly descent, dark and mysterious and adventurous and my perfect opposite. It wasn’t enough to be Heather, because I didn’t like Heather. I wanted to be Shadow.

And the fact that I didn’t even value myself makes me angry and upset. It’s also why you’ll see me go by Heather or HeroineHiding, and that’s it. I am never doing that to myself again.

What is your favorite thing about this notebook?

That it represents a time of the past. Like, I realize my life was not that bad. I really do. I was fed, my family loved me, I had an awesome BFF (still do), and I did well in school. But at the same time, the kinds of friends I had, the kinds of choices I made, the kinds of things I thought—it almost seems like I was in pain and didn’t even realize it.

So, I’m glad that I’m happier. I’m glad that I still have a best friend who brings me joy, that I’ve grown in my relationship with my family, and that I’m making more responsible choices when it comes to my future and with my emotions.

Just for fun, edit the snippet from before—do you think you’ve grown?

(since it’s a little hard to edit a set of true accounts, I think I will write a response)

I am privileged with secrets. It used to be names and coordinates and numbers—but it’s easy to learn your name; it’s another thing entirely to learn who you are.

I’m glad I help. I want to help! But my friendship has taken practice; my fidelity isn’t always easy. Whether it’s genetics or grace that makes me the way I am, I’m not so silly as to reduce myself to a writer alone anymore.

I don’t know everything. I’m certainly not good at everything. But I know how to listen. I know how to forgive. I can be there.

Being matters. Being there keeps people from being alone. Being there reminds them that I love them. Being there describes that I’m willing to sacrifice my time, and my efforts, and anything.

Did I even understand? Sure, I write. I have about fifty pounds of fan fiction to prove it. But did I realize? Did I truly stop to think?

We all have friends, and we all rely on each other when the going gets rough.

But did I know that my empathy was something that made me special?

Celtic Knot
Flickr Credit: Karen McQuilkin

So, that got heavier than I expected. Do you have a favorite joke? Do you keep a diary? I realize that not everyone is as excited to share their deep dark secrets the way I am (not) but hey, if you’ve got a diary story to share—share it!


  1. I know what you mean about struggling to reread journals. I rarely do, even though I keep them so I can remember my life. Because while they hold happy moments like yours, they also become receptacles of pain, flycatchers for the bits I'd rather not relive. Sometimes I tell myself they'd make interesting fodder for stories, but always they feel too personal. All that to say, I really liked this post and how it got me thinking. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this way about old diaries. (Side Note: I signed mine IZZI.)

    1. *nods* It's just hard to look back on this stuff, right? I mean, I'm glad they're there, of course... Because I also have to realize that if I didn't write all this stuff down, I'd be completely MISERABLE and I wouldn't have had an outlet. I don't think I could ever use this stuff as story material, either, but hey, it's not like we're here to tell about our lives in particular (thank goodness). I'm glad I got you thinking, and IZZI sounds like a cool name, haha. We all have interesting tidbits in our journals, no?

    2. Journals like a paper counselors. Writing stuff down and shutting it away--they help you get over stuff. And it's nice to look back and see how I've grown and what I've survived, but I prefer to look forward mostly. (Also, I think Shadow is a cooler name. :P)

    3. I agree—I've actually read that writing down your thoughts leads to living longer for just the reason you said. But looking forward is indeed better than looking back. (That may be... But I'm certainly over it now!)

    4. :/ I just reread my comment, and wow, I do not string together cohesive thoughts when I'm distracted. Sorry about that. Anyway, I just wanted to reiterate--I love how thoughtful this post was (like all your other posts). So thank you for sharing. :)

    5. That's all right—we've all been there. Thanks for taking the time to read it! It's one thing to be thoughtful, but it's also nice when other people take the time to care. :)

  2. I really understand what you're talking about here, Heather. I have a diary from quite a bit more recently - as in last March and April - and every time I read it I feel ashamed. I thought I knew so much about myself and God and friendships and how the world was supposed to work. And I didn't.

    But it's kind of comforting, too, because I know I've learned a lot since then. And it's a reminder that however much I know now, I still know absolutely nothing.

    1. Ooh, yeah. I feel like the end of every school year is basically a testament to how crazy I can get, and I think we all think we know everything at the time we write something. :/

      But, at least you can see that you've grown! It keeps you on your toes spiritually and philosophically, which I think is awesome. :)

  3. This post really gave me food for thought, because Alyssa is a pseudonym for my online writer + blogger persona. My daytime persona is a studious girl who answers question in class and spends her days studying science. Not such an interesting life, I have to say, so is Alyssa some sort of virtual escape I've constructed for myself? So far, I don't think so, since both personas are key to what makes me me, but ... well. Thanks for sharing this :)

    1. Definitely something to think about—especially in this day and age of technology we have to be careful that the image we present of ourselves online is the image we want others to know us by. I mean, I know that you're studious from a few of your posts, but the question still stands—do I accurately present me online? A lot of times, especially when we're honest, I think we are, but still... THOUGHTS. I'm glad I gave you something to think about! :)

  4. Sometimes it is a little bit painful to look back at old journal entries and realize that I was an entirely different person back then, a person that I don't like so much right now. At the same time, however, it's also really nice to see how far I've come. I actually use a pen name for my blog, but I don't think it's really me trying to be someone else because it's mostly for privacy. I still use my real name in my journals and writing that I submit for publication. And maybe, just maybe, I'll reveal my name to the world someday. :) Probably when I get a book published, however long that might take.

    1. It's a gentle balance, I think. On the one hand, we feel the pain in of the past but have the chance to delight in the present. And lots of people do what you do with the pen name—my story just discussed the error of my eighth grade ways. And there's no reason to not use your real name in stuff you won't share, of course. XD But, whether you share your name or not, here's to the day you get a book published. :)

  5. This notebook has deeeeeep themes involved in it I think :)

    I struggle going back to my old journals as well- I was very self centred, but I couldn't see it. Looking back, I just want to scream at myself. I wasn't self centred around other people (like, I didn't constantly talk about myself), it just comes out a lot in what I wrote. I also thought about God in a very different way- like He was there to serve me.

    I have always aimed to be someone other than myself (being trapped in a human body is hard for my INTJ self). I think that is partly why I write- I give characters skills I wish I had, and flaws I wish I didn't have.

    I act differently in every situation- I am the quiet girl in class, who can be a noisy with friends, I am more out going and happier on the internet. My journals/diaries are probably the most honest representation of who I am. I never intend for anyone else to read them, so they are very raw and honest.

    And because of that, it can be hard to re read them. But also good. I like to see how I have grown and changed.

    1. XD Or my analysis of it does, anyway!

      I think it's very easy to be self-centered, especially depending on your maturity level. I am definitely more mature now than I was then, but I also have a long way to go. You've gotten better too, I take it? At any rate, dealing with our previous selves can be zero fun—you may have thought that God was your servant but I was caught up in an "ushy gushy God" idea and that isn't much fun for me to read, either.

      Ah, I know a few INTJs, so I can see how it would be very easy to criticize yourself or want to be someone else. As an ISTJ, I also struggle—sometimes when I think about myself just by my type I wonder why anyone would enjoy me at all. The truth is, though, we're a lot more than our types, and there's still hope to get better.

      But it's good that you have at least one place to be honest—at least when you are that kind of honest, you have that ability to look back eventually and see what changes you need to make or have already made, just like you said.

      Either way, I hope that you continue to use your journals as a chance to enjoy yourself, and be glad that you are you. :)

  6. Wow, interviewing a notebook is such a fabulous idea! Though perhaps I wouldn't like what I found either. Nevertheless, it's always good to see how much you've grown as a person. That kind of change you don't notice till you look back with a different perspective. And once I've got past the embarrassment of the past, that gives me an ego-boost.

    And to add to the other comment, I used to be equally guilty of signing things with other than my own name. But nowadays I don't sign at all, as if scared of attributing my writing/letters/diary entries to myself. Not because there's anything wrong with them, but as a policy of secrecy. Claiming ownership of something seems to make it more interesting to other people. Perhaps my sense of self is lacking; better no self than wrong self? Who knows? Perhaps I'm simply unlike you in that I resent the finality of signing my name.

    Thanks for this!
    ~Lillian ( ;-) )

    1. It's seemed very popular idea! It's tricky, but it does take some retroactive examination to realize, "Hey, I am better now." It definitely helps me feel better!

      That's interesting, although I don't think it's strange at all. I know a lot of people simply date their work and write on, like it's simply one continuous story. Whether that's because they have an underdeveloped concept of self or they don't want to waste paper, we all have ideas. Either way, it's cool to be different, so go you!

      Thanks for stopping by, Lillian. :)

  7. Wow, that's really deep. I'm glad God's brought you to a better place now than you were then. :)

    I can definitely relate to wanting to be somebody else. I used to have the wildest imagination (actually, still do), and was always sort of reinventing myself, or taking characteristics from book and movie characters, or even people in real, life to try to be someone I wasn't, but someone I thought might be better. Sometimes, I still struggle with that. But I'm glad God's bringing me through it, too. :)


    1. It is, kinda. I'm glad God's brought me around, too.

      Hooray for wild imaginations! I don't think it's bad to want to be a better person, per se, but being someone else because you don't like the self you are can definitely be damaging. And I think I struggle with that, too, sometimes, if we're perfectly honest. But, we have an awesome God and he can totally handle it. :) Of that, I am sure.


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