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On diaries February 19, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Breaking the fourth wall, Bwargh, Small things.

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

‘Not Waving but Drowning’, by Stevie Smith.  Copied from my diary while I was doing my A-levels, Tuesday 13th November 2007.

I wrote a diary from shortly after my thirteenth birthday all the way through to just before I went to university.  At that point, I was thinking too much and didn’t have time to go and write it all down and think about it.  I tried again last year, and lasted about a month – the style that I used to use didn’t really suit any more.  I used to write the date at the top, and set it out like a letter, and write down the time I started writing whenever I did, and sign off with my full name.  I’d like to go back to writing again, because it helped, and it helped me keep things to myself, and I think it made me a bit of a better person or at least a more self-aware one.

Other things have happened, and they’re great and I’ve really enjoyed them – and I’ll try and post about them soon, but I just needed to get this one out.

So what do you do, when you feel a bit like you’re not waving right now?



1. ukmikel - February 19, 2011

superb poem, thanks for reminding me of it, first did that as part of my English classes at school. Brings back memories Ted Hughes – Pike, Auden and so many many more./
Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage, by stonewall jackson – another good poem.
I remember reading shakespear in class, Othello, Midsummer nights dream, contrasting them with more modern plays such as chips with everything. happy days 🙂

ukmikel - February 22, 2011

Apologies – the poem is by Richard Lovelace, although you probably already knew that 🙂
The whole thing:-
Stone walls do not a prison make,

Nor iron bars a cage;

Minds innocent and quiet take

That for an hermitage;

If I have freedom in my love,

And in my soul am free,

Angels alone that soar above

Enjoy such liberty.

Richard Lovelace 1618 – 1657

Fiona - March 8, 2011

I rather like that. I might print out out and stick it on my wall, actually. Thank you for posting it, I’d not come across it before.

2. Aimee - February 19, 2011

I complain. “Everyone needs a hobby,” as my husbeau says!

3. Jenny - February 20, 2011

I still write a diary, but not as regularly as I used to write. Sometimes it’ll be just a few words recording mood, or a series of bullet points about what is happening or has happened and the spectacularly expressive ‘bleh’ at the end, or whatever.

These days though, documenting my emotions seems to help less than it did. So either I go for sad and angry music as I stomp around the city, or, conversely, happy, dancey music; I keep busy and embrace any kind of social or work engagement anyone might throw at me; or I knit, read, and listen to radio four or find something absorbing and light-hearted on telly. When I feel like I’m drowning, after years of experimenting, I find that the best way for me is to pretend that I’m not, even when it’s frankly unrealistic to try to pretend.

Or I ring up my mother and cry at her. That works too.

4. Flix - February 22, 2011

Maybe if every one who is drowning holds hands, we can all make it back to the shore.

I make cake and dance around a bit. Sometimes it helps.

5. Not Waving But Drowning | A Year Full of Books - February 26, 2011

[…] to Fi for so blatantly copying her blog-post […]

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