The Secret Life of Diaries: Creative Non Fiction

i. Wonderland of Deep Space and Beyond

At the age of nine, I was a swashbuckling space pirate. My imaginary friend and I would embark on intergalactic, death-defying adventures, uncover plots of world domination, battle courageously with aliens and save Planet Earth from extra-terrestrial invasion and be back home just in time for supper. My diary entries can testify to this.

Most of my earliest stories began with similar plotlines. My parents had gone off to visit a terminally ill relative, preferably a continent away, leaving me alone in the house to fend off aquamarine-hued aliens who’d arrive to abduct me. With a mixture of sheer common sense and incredible luck, I would talk my way out of the situation, get hold of the spacecraft’s operating controls, defuse all the bombs deployed at earth, capture all the villains who had kidnapped me in the first place and smartly steer my way back home and make it to the news headlines. Usually, I would be accompanied by a girl or boy of my age with an interesting name, who had the exact similar tastes in books and music as me, was bullied at school, and was left to his/her own devices at home.

Sometimes my imaginary friend and I would travel to hill stations, discover extraterrestrials hiding inside caves and reveal their evil machination to the world before they could complete it. Or we would travel back in time, summoned by a medieval knight to aid him in the fight with a deadly dragon or accompany him on a quest for secret treasure. Or, I would reinvent a complete new life for myself in a parallel universe- a genius with an arsenal of spy gadgets at her disposal, who hated school and was constantly busy saving the world.

Take Star Wars and a couple of Marvel movies, mix it with ample amounts of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Famous Five and Artemis Fowl, stir it with locales from Narnia or Middle Earth, sprinkle some Harry Potter references here and there, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what my nine year old imagination was capable of, without of course having watched Star Wars or Avengers in the first place.

I cannot recall what fuelled my obsessive interest in deep space, black holes and alternate dimensions but I do remember perusing children’s encyclopaedias, gazing for hours star-struck at images of wondrous nebulas and Martian terrain, mugging up the names of Jupiter’s moons and proudly proclaiming to my parents and to anyone who would care to listen, that I was going to be a NASA Scientist when I grew up.
Back then, Pluto was still a planet.

ii. The Diary Of Anne Frank

Dear Diary,

I really, really wish I was homeschooled. There’s nothing good about school. NOTHING.
I celebrated my 12th birthday yesterday and it was awful (the school bit). My classmates threatened to report me to the teacher for wearing a micro-mini skirt when I wasn’t even wearing a micro-mini skirt (it came up to my KNEES!).I think they don’t even know what a micro-mini skirt is. Plus our science teacher was absent so they played a game of UNO and they didn’t even let me join because I win every time. And I hate Ayesha-she laughs every time I speak in a very stuck-up way. She’s ALWAYS SO STUCK-UP. Except a week before the exams, because she needs my notes to get through. This time, I’m not gonna help her. Let her fail, and I’ll get the last laugh for once. Haha.

She even spread this horrible story about me having a crush on Dan and it’s not true. I only like him a bit, and I barely ever talk to him. And I’m pretty sure she’s the one who inscribed our initials on the desk with a LOVE sign. Ewww!

I hate school so much, well except may be the English classes. You know, when I found out that Pluto wasn’t a planet anymore, I felt so sad. I swear I never felt so sad in my life. It must suck to belong somewhere, only to realize you were never one of them to begin with, and never will. You’ll never belong.

Anyway, I need to go. The latest season of Hannah Montana is out and I don’t want to miss a single episode! I wish I could be like her and live this wacky cool double life- be a normal student with friends by day and a sassy rockstar by night! And get to do cool things with your hair! I play ‘Best Of Both Worlds’ at least five times a day. It really is the best song ever.
Okay the show is starting. I gotta go. XOXO.

iii. livin’on a prayer on the boulevard of broken dreams

items of interest found in a teenager’s diary

  • A fan letter to Billie Joe Armstrong (presumably unsent)
  • A list of books to buy, which includes biographies of the Sex Pistols and The Clash
  • Lyrics of Linkin Park’s Numb and Green Day’s 21 Guns written in beautiful calligraphy
  • A birthday present wish list, where ‘eyeliner’ and ‘rock concert’ are the repeated  keywords
  • Tickets to a rock concert by a local band
  • An unfinished love letter to an unidentified guitarist of said rock band
  • Autograph of unidentified guitarist of said rock band
  • CD sleeves of Green Day’s American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown
  • Really awful emo poetry
  • The prologue of a novel that opens with a women finding herself in a graveyard (discontinued after four chapters)
  • A lengthy fan fiction one-shot wherein the protagonist about to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff is miraculously and unrealistically saved by her favourite rock singer with whom she later collaborates for a duet, stars in all his videos and with his support, becomes an award-winning singer and a multimillionaire with a penthouse on the Upper East Side
  • A list of rare swear words, in different languages, carefully compiled
  • A doodle that has a vague semblance to Jon Bon Jovi
  • Quotes about anarchy, rebellion and existential crisis
  • An emergency email address:
  • Newspaper clippings detailing the Grammy Awards, symptoms of clinical depression and bipolar disorder, and a suicide help line
  • Suicide notes, crumpled
  • An enormous list of celebrity phone numbers, all crossed-out (presumably tested)

iv. Interview With A Vampire

So how would you best describe yourself as?

I’m the average 16 year old teenager. Random, funny and somewhat cynical.

What book are you reading right now?

Just revising Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles series. Currently on The Tale of the Body Thief. Have a soft spot for Lestat. I adore anything dark fantasy, really. Oh, and I’ve also recently discovered Sylvia Plath and I’m sure she’s my soul sister.

What’s your all-time favourite movie?

Edward Scissorhands, hands down.

What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

Basically rock n roll. I had this whole Green Day phase when I was younger, but now I listen to anything and everything from The Beatles to Florence and the Machine.

Are you into fashion?

Costume is a safer word. I love fashion that mixes Romantic Goth and vintage, stress on the ‘goth’part. Colours like black and crimson and royal purple and a dash of emerald or sapphire. Fabrics like satin and velvet and lace. Like a combo of Helena Bonham Carter and Lana del Rey and Amy Lee.  But then again, I have to be careful. Can’t always look like I’ve walked out of a Tim Burton movie set.

So ideally your best day would be Halloween?

In a way, yes.

Have you always been drawn towards the macabre and the dark?

Edgar Allan Poe traumatized me as a kid, so no. I guess you can blame that on my introverted self-conscious nature and the cultural circumstances on which I grew up.

Who is the one fictional character you identify the most with?

That’s easy. Luna Lovegood. Ravenclaw love!

v. The Fortune Teller

I’ve lived here for nineteen winters and I’ve been writing in my journals for almost a decade.
Somewhere in between being victimized and finding salvation, stories are written. Coming-of-age stories where the character finally grows up. To write her own epilogue. An epilogue that is final and immutable.
Needs are outgrown. I definitely do not want to be a NASA Scientist anymore.
Self-actualization is achieved. A new high score is set. The final and toughest level is unlocked. I have grown up. I have won the game. According to the rules of the story, anyway.

(But what if, after all this time, you didn’t really grow up at all? At least, not in the ways that matter?)

The point is, whoever made the rules was an idiot. Epilogues can’t be final and characters cannot always grow up, cannot always change, at least not in the ways that matter. Not all stories can be written.

Do the unfilled pages of a diary ever long for love, to be written all over? Do the stories lingering in the air ever lust for pages to confine them?
What happens to burnt diaries?
Previously published in Quail Bell Magazine


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