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Tristine Rainer

  • The diary is the only form of writing that encourages total freedom of expression. Because of its very private nature, it has remained immune to any formal rules of content, structure, or style. As a result the diary can come closest to reproducing how people really think and how consciousness evolves.

  • ... each diarist had a golden nugget of self-discovered knowledge to share. One had a new journal method for alleviating depression, another a means of contacting her real feelings, another a suggestion for developing a creative work.

  • [People keep] a diary as an active, purposeful communication with self. ... Later they reread what has accumulated from the simple act of satisfying the needs and desires of the moment. And all find in their hands a book that contains — in form, content, and style — a unique, unrepeatable story of self. From reflecting upon what has come from within they discover unrecognized parts of their personalities and interests of which they were unaware. They see patterns of meaning in their lives and secrets of self more interesting than a detective story.

  • ... the New Diary is a practical psychological tool that enables you to express feelings without inhibition, recognize and alter self-defeating habits of mind, and come to know and accept that self which is you. It is a sanctuary where all the disparate elements of a life — feelings, thoughts, dreams, hopes, fears, fantasies, practicalities, worries, facts, and intuitions — can merge to give you a sense of wholeness and coherence. It can help you understand your past, discover joy in the present, and create your own future.

  • Diary writing is free of ... conventions and rules. Everything and anything goes. You cannot do it wrong. There are no mistakes.

  • A personal magic begins to enter the diary through time. Diarists seem to develop special sensibilities — a perception of meaningful subjective patterns, fateful coincidences, and prophetic dreams — as they learn to follow their feelings and intuitions.

Tristine Rainer, U.S. pioneer in narrative autobiography