Quarantimes Week 39: Reinventing the Diary

December 10th, 2020


Lying in bed late one evening (6:30), Eliza tells me she wants something from Santa. She describes it as a “book case,” which I eventually realize means a hard book cover, and in between the back and front are a lot of blank pages. She calls them “empty pieces of paper.” She tells me how she will write something or draw something every day — whatever is on her mind that day — until she is a grownup and the book is full. I get pulled along in her inventive vision, as if she is the first person who has ever thought of this exquisite form of documentation. 

“Can I write a letter to Santa?” she asks.

“In the morning,” I tell her.

“But how will I describe what I mean?” she worries. 

Listening to my child invent the idea of a diary is pretty great. I actually still have my first diary from when I was about eight. It’s a small, thin book covered in a greenish fabric of a certain style that, when I was growing up in the 80s, we might have called Oriental. It had parchment-thin lined pages with arboreal borders, in which I wrote about the time our golden retriever was run over by a car on the day of my ballet recital and how I had a crush on Everett Sweet, until he teased me for wearing my lazy eye patch.



I have boxes and boxes of old journals spanning almost my entire life.

Do I still journal? Well, you are reading it right now. 

But I also bullet journal, which is one of the ways this introvert Virgo creative relaxes. I am sure you’ve heard of bullet journaling; perhaps you do it yourself. It’s one of those things where there’s a system and loose “rules,” but it’s really all about making it your own. I recently posted about this on Facebook and Instagram, and at the risk of beating a dead horse, am going to rave again here about how much I love bullet journaling — sort of like an amalgam of journaling and calendaring and to-do listing and scrapbooking. 


You can really use bullet journaling in any way you want, but for ideas, I always recommend this video as a good starting point. I use it for:

  • Setting annual, monthly, and weekly goals 

  • Tracking tasks and projects

  • Making lists and lists and lists and lists and lists

  • Recording important things that happened

  • Dilettante typography doodling



The best part of bullet journaling for me is that it’s analog. In an era and specifically a year when every single thing seems to happen on a screen, this does not. I crawl into bed (my favorite time of day), crack open my physical bullet journal, and doodle or scrawl or track the day away. Then I read. Which….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What I’m reading:

On the recommendation of several people I trust I indulged in a young adult novel: The Hate You Give. This one is a must-read for all white adults. 

Some good pulpy cult stuff: Everywhere I Went, They Went With Me, Because They Were on My Phone”: Inside the Always Online, All-Consuming World of Twin Flames Universe

And some real feel-good stuff: My Pandemic Cat Had a Secret

It’s that time of year: Why Pantone Selected Not One But Two Colors of the Year for 2021 For the record, I hate the Pantone color(s) of the year choice, as usual. 

What I’m listening to:

It’s that time of year when Spotify’s algorithms are feeding me back a list of the songs I have listened to most in 2020, causing me to listen to them some more, in an infinite loop of my own personal taste. Top ten:

Screen Shot 2020-12-09 at 10.08.00 AM

What I’m watching:

I will be watching The Crown until at least 2023 at this rate, but also, for movie night last week, watched a pretty decent kids movie called Klaus

Sidebar — can anyone recommend a version of Wind in the Willows as a movie?


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