Thursday, February 09, 2006
Boreham on Journal Writing: Part One
"An honest and conscientiously kept diary is an instrument by means of which a man preserves his own personality for his future delectation and instruction."
F.W. Boreham, The Last Milestone, London: The Epworth Press, 1961, p.42.
While considerable attention has been given to F.W. Boreham's prolific output of books and sermons, less attention has been paid to the personal diaries that he kept and the significance that he attached to this habit. Beyond his "inordinate passion for scribbling" Frank Boreham recognised that there were many important reasons for the keeping of a diary.
Talking To Oneself
He once wrote that, "the keeping of a diary is a species of self-communing; the self of Today talking to the same self of Tomorrow." This 'talking to oneself' as the daily events and thoughts are recorded can be a catharsis, a means of pouring out one's soul and crystallising what is happening deep within. Boreham stated that the value of a diary goes beyond the recording of times and events to become the means by which a person might engage their self, relive the conversations and so milk more joy out of life. This idea is reminiscent of Oscar Wilde whose character once commented, "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." Boreham often remarked on the way that a certain book would take him back to the moors or the paths of Tunbridge Wells, so in this way his diaries became the avenues by which he entered again into earlier experiences and enjoyed communion with his former self.
Boreham believed that the writing and reading of a diary can have educational value- "an honest and conscientiously kept diary is an instrument by means of which a man preserves his own personality for his future delectation and instruction." He believed that diaries can preserve the important things- "Like bees in amber, the thoughts, feelings and impressions of Today are made available to the eyes of Tomorrow." Boreham loved Emerson's image of a diary being like a savings bank in which precious experiences could be heaped up and hoarded in order that they might be drawn upon for future guidance. Implicit in this is the thought that a diary can not only amass but accrue value to life's experiences, for the maturity of age and the wisdom of hindsight enables one to reap further dividends from the events of the past.
 F.W. Boreham, A Witch's Brewing, London: The Epworth Press, 1932, p.106
 F.W. Boreham, The Last Milestone, London: The Epworth Press, 1961, p.42
 O. Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest in Plays, London: Penguin Books, 1895, p.292
 Ibid., p.42
 Ibid., p.42
Posted by Geoff Pound at 10:58 AM