Explaining the Use of Keeping a Notebook in Joan Didions Essay "On Keeping a Notebook"

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Joan Didion explains to us in the essay “On Keeping a Notebook” that her point of “keeping a notebook has never been, nor is it now, to have an accurate factual record of what I have been doing or thinking” (77). Throughout “On Keeping,” Didion tells us her reasoning for keeping a notebook is to see the types of expressions of how a person is feeling at a point in time, rather than keeping a diary which is just a record of dated events. Didion tells us that keepers of private notebooks are lonely and nervous children who were afflicted at birth (76). At such a young age, Didion could not stop whining, so her mother decided to give her a notebook in which she could amuse herself by writing down the thoughts that came to her mind. Her first entry at the age of five is about a woman trapped in two different worlds waiting for death to come get her. Somehow Didion has been afflicted at such a young age that she sometimes envies reality but does not possess it, thus causing her to keep a notebook based upon lies.

Didion states that “we are brought up in the ethic that others, any others, all others, are by definition more interesting than ourselves […]” (78). As we grow older we tend to be shy and modest about our achievements, that only a certain type of people may ponder about oneself, while the rest of us are here to absorb their affections. This is why our notebooks are not used for the general public to understand our writing but instead they are for ourselves to keep an open mind of our private thoughts. Only to keep what some would call lies, entries about our lives at a point that we never wanted to end. Keeping notes about only certain memories of someone so we never think wrong about them, or never forget how great that time was. Didion thinks that “we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be whether we find them attractive company or not” (81). She uses her notebook to keep in touch with the people who she once used to be,...
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