Tuesday, 15 June 2010
A Letter To My Daughter On Her 13th Birthday
June 12th 2010
Happy 13th Birthday.
I know that right now the money we gave you for your birthday is probably your greatest treasure but I hope you will find great treasures in this diary for many years to come.
I started writing a diary when I was about eight or nine after watching a Blue Peter programme on Anne Frank who was given a diary for her 13th birthday which was also on June 12th.
And I have kept a diary (on and off) since then for the past 30 and more years.
My diary has been a great friend to me.
When I have experienced great things like meeting your dad; getting married and giving birth to all four of you, I have been able to keep those wonderful memories alive by re-reading my diary.
When I am upset or worried I write about my fears or "sorrows" as Anne Frank called them and once they are outside of me and on paper they are so much easier to bear - a case of better out than in!
And I am not sure I would have become a writer if I hadn't kept a diary.
Through the process of recording my thoughts and feelings I got to appreciate the pleasure and power of words.
A diary helped me make sense of the present and look forward to the future while taking pleasure from the past.
I know I have waffled on a bit but I do hope you read the passge I have enclosed about Anne Frank and that you tuck this letter away somewhere in your diary.
This Five Year diary will take you to your 18th birthday and life as a fully-fledged grown-up but through recording the last five years of your childhood you will give yourself a priceless gift.
Taken from The Diary of A Young Girl
By Anne Frank
Wednesday, 5 April 1944
My dearest Kitty,
Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is; I always used to bemoan the fact that I couldn’t draw, but now I’m overjoyed that at least I can write. And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself.
But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine having to live like Mother, Mrs Van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!
When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?
I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies…