I’ve got another Diary to read*.
This time it’s Kenneth Tynan’s.
It’s spiky and incomplete and full of quotations that caught his eye. I’m very much enjoying it, so far (I’m on page 44, just).
The thing that popped into my head is this. He had a bright shiny life full of dirty little…secrets.
That is not a bad thing. Everyone has dirty little secrets. They’re the things that drive us on. He was only fortunate to have the bright shiny life part, as well. I’d go so far as to say that he wouldn’t have had the bright shiny life part without the secrets. I’d perhaps venture even further, and say the dirtier the secrets, the brighter and shinier the life.
Dirty big secrets aren’t really interesting. You want a dirty little secret. It’s the grit in the oyster.
When you read a Diary you think you’re getting the nitty gritty. You’re really not, of course. The only Diaries in which you’d get that are raw, pure diaries that you might find under a random pillow of a random maniac, or at the other extreme, a 1920s ‘housewife’ recording her seasonal jam-making** and such-like. Someone who writes unself-consciously because they don’t imagine themselves a writer and who seeks simply to record the daily grind. Which in itself is full of miracles that jump from the page as you read. Published Diaries, of course, are carefully edited. Nevertheless they're probably my favourite type of book***.
I suppose if nobody had secrets nobody would write. It’s secrets that drive some people to write, some people to paint, and others to hide themselves away in a cave, with a supply of custard creams, a sleeping-bag****, a flask of best brandy, and all of their secrets, dirty or otherwise, locked away in a strongbox.
I could go on. But I won't.
*Two pounds eighty one off of Ebay, by the way, including P & P. If ever I come into money, I'll pay full price for books. She says shamefacedly. Till then...
**George Orwell recorded such things in a section of his Diaries. A wonderful read.
***As I was typing that, I knew it was wrong. I also like biographies and, well, anything really.
**** and earplugs, to muffle the sound of the secrets fighting to escape from their prison.