The Case of the Missing Diary

MISSINGMISSING. Have you seen me?

So, I lost my diary.

It’s the most peculiar thing. It has completely vanished. We’ve turned the house over several times, to no avail.

It’s peculiar because I never take my diary out of the house. I distinctly remember the most recent time I wrote in it (last weekend) and where I was sitting (dining table), but after that …?

It’s peculiar because there are not many places it could be. Our house is small and pretty tidy. We’ve checked all the obvious places and even some absurdly unlikely places. At this point, we don’t know where else to look.

But it is emphatically peculiar because I am working so much on diaries these days. I am reading diaries and reading literary criticism about diaries. I am writing about diaries here and in more formal academic arenas. I am presenting on diaries at conferences. I am driving my partner and friends crazy by talking endlessly about diaries.

And now I cannot find my own diary. You’ve got to admit, that’s peculiar.

And, frankly, it is upsetting. The diary that I lost is an Apica notebook, started in late 2013. The thought that I have lost the record of that time is hard to take — not because I was a consistent writer during this period or because I had anything important or lyrical to say — I’ve read too many really good diaries to recognize that my own is not particularly “good” in an aesthetic or literary sense. But, the record of those years is meaningful to me. This past year has been a really difficult one for my family; we’ve experienced some life-altering challenges, which I wrote about as they happened. I want to have those words somewhere, to know that they are there if and when I want to read them again. The thought that those words have disappeared makes them seem, suddenly, all the more precious and important.

I worry that somehow my diary was thrown away. In my more paranoid moments, I imagine that someone came into the house and took my diary. Who would that be? A very selective and ineffective thief? House elves? I know it’s illogical but I can’t quite shake the image of a stranger somewhere reading and cackling over my diary.

Under normal circumstances, this is the kind of experience I would write about in my diary but I cannot bring myself to start a new diary. I have not given up hope that it’s going to turn up. But I feel incomplete not having one; I’ve kept a diary regularly for over 25 years. 25 years and I’ve never lost a diary before. It’s very, very peculiar.

UPDATED: I found my diary. Almost two weeks later. In the most obvious place, where I swear I looked several times but, apparently, I did not see what was right before my eyes. I’m relieved, a little wierded out, but definitely relieved.

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