Diary of a Nobody

 “Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see – because I do not happen to be a ‘Somebody’ – why my diary should not be interesting. My only regret is that I did not commence it when I was a youth” Mr Pooter

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Have you read the Diary of a Nobody by George Grosssmith published in 1892? Do! It’s a positive hoot. I picked up a copy years ago and had forgotten about it until I recently came across it in a bookshop. Re-reading the diaries has had me chuckling away at the minutiae of life, the foibles of the characters all painting a vivid picture for the reader. A picture of suburban life and its toils, troubles and pleasures.

I can’t think of a more apt way of describing blogging – in terms of Diary of a Nobody we are all Somebody’s, each and everyone of us. The beauty of blogging is that it has enabled us all to keep our diaries – whether they are a literal account of travels , or family meals, or growings in the garden; in essence they are all capturing the everyday details of countless millions of lives. Me included.

The contradiction is that I rarely read auto-biographies, frankly I find them dull, I can probably list the number of biographies I’ve read on one hand – not for me the slew of stories published in time for Christmas of the soap-football-comedian-actor-politician. I find them dull and laboured, rarely showing any insight and one of my biggest bug-bears they are only from a single point of view, a singular view of a life. I could go as far as saying I find the auto-biographical format arrogant – in the sense that the writer believes their story to be of importance.

When I sit down to read I want to go on a journey, to be transported to another world, to enable me to think about this world – I read but it is fiction that captures me and my imagination – it’s my history, philosophy, geography teacher all rolled into one. Yes I flick through gardening books, dip in and out of Cookery books, go on the occasional journey with a travel writer, but it is fiction that fires me up.

And yet every week I publish a post or two and read countless other blogs. Diaries of Nobody’s and Somebody’s. A delicious irony for this reader-blogger-writer.

Your diaries entrance and engage me, entertain and inform, question and query, demonstrate and highlight. And without a doubt are singular – but unlike the published biographies they engage me, take me on a daily-weekly journey of the events in your lives be they momentous or minute. I’m included in the story in a way the published word can’t. I follow your lives, loves and losses as they are part of mine. A shared life.

We have a freedom of expression; to publish our thoughts, events, paintings and poetry that no other generation has experienced.  Countless daily lives captured and commented on. All these online diaries of Nobody’s and Somebody’s there to read for the inquisitive mind or in future for the social historians. A world captured in the words and photos; documented and discussed for all to see.

This post was intended as a thank you, a thank you to all those who read and comment on my blog – whether you are a regular commenter, an occasional reader or a subscriber – this is my clumsy way of saying thank you for sharing in this mashup gardening-cookery-travel-life diary, you make it.

To follow a fellow nobody is really rather special to this somebody.

Thank you x

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For more information on the Diary of A Nobody  – there is goodreads, the standard wiki blurb and the diary published in realtime – happy reading

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43 comments

  • What a lovely post, Claire. I love reading your post, and it’s entirely my pleasure to share moments with you during your day. 🙂

      • Spending the evening tomorrow in Brighton, and I’m considering my long johns as an extra layer. And the heavy frost last night snapped my daff stems. Most are on the ground. Too sad.

  • Claire, I just love this post, and was so happy to read it! I go through stages of extreme self-indulgence, and was feeling a bit self conscious about putting it all out there. You’ve made me feel normal, and okay. Thank you!

  • Interesting way to look at it…I think of my posts as Letters from the Asylum to the Outside World, and love all of you who read and comment like you’re fellow inmates 🙂

    • Fellow inmates – I like it Marie, I like it! Mind you if we are drawing analogies it’s a bit like going to the zoo and watching the animals behind the bars who are watching you the other side of the bars……

  • Loved this post Claire! I always enjoy stopping by and especially relish your gorgeous photos. Each and every little world I discover through blogging has a special somebody or nobody at its centre who makes me smile or laugh, or even cry! Keep on blogging! 🙂

  • I looked at those cheerful pictures of Gerberas on this post and smiled. I continued smiling as I read through your post and wanted to comment that if your ‘nobody’ post was able to touch someone else even as briefly and superficially as to bring a smile to their face on a chilly Friday afternoon, as you did for me, it was a more significant piece of writing then those auto/biographies could ever have been.

    I think we all want to reach out and ‘touch’ someone during our lives and you’ve done that for many people over the years with your blog, whether it’s in the form of inspiring someone to cook one of the recipes you’ve made, plunk a seed in the ground, water it and watch it grow, or just enjoy the lovely scenes you’ve painted in words and pictures.

    Keep on blogging, my friend.

  • I love this post! And I couldn’t agree more–the sense I get on my favorite blogs is that every post, both the real and the fictional, gives me further insight into the blogger’s whole person. So many rich characters among us to pique and delight! Yours, of course, is one of my favorites; you couldn’t be more appealing if you *were* entirely fictional.
    xo!
    Kathryn

  • What a lovely post Claire! How true, we are all nobody and we are all somebody! I very much enjoy your blog and am happy to know you!

  • It is funny to think of what the great diarists of history (think of Mary Chestnut from the American Civil War era) would have made of the internet. Those diaries were a means of self-reflection, but it is such a different project when your words will be seen by your contemporaries.

  • Isn’t it wonderful we are all individuals! Oh I agree with you about blogging: about sharing our day-to-day lives . . . but then, my favourite books ARE biographies and autobiographies followed by some 600 cookery books on the shelves and travel and history and natural therapies and gardening . . . the last book of fiction I picked up must have been years ago: somehow that is fantasy and I seem to want what is real 🙂 !

  • Claire, it’s always a pleasure to land here with you …. and be able to take part of your world and … share it. I have always been writing about my joy, my sadness .. my worries since I learned to write, been writing letters .. when written I throw them away. Wonder why I never used a diary. Now my blog is my diary … I’m writing again, but this someone read my thoughts.

  • Just when we thought ‘Dear Diary’ was going out of style. Too true, Claire, too true!

  • Well said, Claire. Had someone told me on Day One of my blog, that I would share as much as I have with so many people, I would have laughed. Yet, after 2 years, my repository of family recipes has become so much more, a diary being one of them. It’s truly a rewarding experience, made even more so when other blogs, such as yours, are visited. Thank you for that.

  • You have so beautifully shared what I feel, too, Claire. I’m simply amazed that I not only enjoy reading about the lives of people who started out as strangers and now are friends, but if I miss a post or fall behind I feel like I’ve really lost something. I want to know that “all is well” or hear “the rest of the story.” It’s true, there has never been a time in history where this level of communication and instant connection has been possible. And I, who have always been a very private person, share thoughts, opinions and personal photos. I hardly recognize myself anymore! 🙂 I love the way you’ve shared your thoughts, Claire. This was a very meaningful post. oxo

  • What a lovely post Claire and reminds me that everyone has a story. It may not be a glamorous or scandalous story… but important all the same. Books are my passion but biographies are passed over for fiction most times.

  • I never thought about blogging in quite these terms, but you are right. We do connect with people all over the world that otherwise would be inaccessible to us. We share stories, recipes, decorating tips or whatever and find mutual interests that lead to what seem like friendships. In many ways we are more connected than to people who we actually see and call friends.

  • What a thoughtful post and wonderful way to think of our blogs. I love each moment we all share! You have inspired me to pick up Diary of a Nobody next visit to the bookshop as well.

  • All so beautifully put! I sometimes look at my list of followers and wonder – who ARE these people? And why are they here? I guess we’re all sharing this journey together – blog by blog, diary by diary, word by word. : )

  • Great post Claire! You know I’ve always enjoyed even fiction that makes the (seemingly) ordinary captivating (as well as the more dramatic stories). I had never made a connection of this to blogging before.

  • I attended a photography course recently where the tutor wondered about the future of Australian life recorded in pictures. He cited bans on photography in pubic places like parks, sporting events etc and thought that our ability to document everyday life is being curtailed. Blogs are a rich seam of history and I doubt that our freedom to record will become too restricted.

  • This is a fascinating post, Claire. I have read many biographies and autobiographies, and usually find them interesting. The most interesting are not necessarily of those who were celebrities or took part in major events in history. There is something eye opening about seeing the world through another persons eyes, and understanding how different one’s perspective may be, if just because of the chance of time and place and education. I haven’t heard of this diary, and I don’t know whether I will take advantage of the republished series ‘for our time’, because I like to read at my own pace. And to tell you the truth, my experience of comparing blogs to published diaries has not inspired me as much as it seems it has you. But here and there, I have encountered really good reads in blogland. I think there’s a problem when people are too eager to publish their thoughts and experiences and don’t take enough time to weigh their thoughts and experiences. Aside from that, the desire for high readership, the eye on the stats seems somewhat debilitating.

  • Lovely post, Claire, I agree with all that you say about blogs..I also read diaries – I have a big collection and am still adding to them… I love the ” breakfast at eight, went for a walk” sort of daily entry… as you say, entering other lives, savouring them, finding them fascinatingly human and endlessly diverse…now I’m switching off, .”and so to bed” as Pepys would say !!!

  • Diaries are a kick for me and I thoroughly enjoy reading them. Of course my favorite diary is my grandmother’s with the few pages torn out of the middle. I often speculate about the words that were “writ” there, and that she felt the need to take back. It is a mystery that will never be solved.

    Claire I loved your post today and feel exactly as you do about reading fiction. I too enjoy suspending reality between the covers of a good book. So much so, that at times the last page catches me unaware and leaves me lamenting the end. Yet, if the book is well written, the characters well fleshed, I can go on for some time imagining how their life may have continued.

    This community we share through blogging our day to day events is such a gift, and it is posts like yours today that make it a rich one. Thank you for affirming what we do!

  • I love journals! I have kept one for 26 years not including my garden journal which is now my blog. Great post! It’ll keep is all motivated to keep posting.

    • Thank you, I’ve never kept a journal so this is a totally new experience for me, but for you it must be fun to look back on those journals and look at an “earlier” you

  • Claire, “sharing lives” is why I blog. I’m SO thankful you share yours (even though I don’t comment regularly) because I learn so much about life, perspectives, living… I also need to read your recommended book! Thank YOU for exercising freedom of expression. I’m blessed by your presence.

    • Thank you so much Kim it’s wonderful to hear from you. Blogging really is about learning isn’t it, about peoples lives ,their worlds. well just everything!
      If you are interested in the book I’d check out this link – it’s the diary published on the web – happy reading !

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