The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Journaling,
Keeping Diaries, Lists, & Scrapbooks


I recommend keeping a diary. Diaries are cool. ~Danny Wallace, Yes Man, 2005,

Emerson's best sentences are often to be found in those journals in which he jotted down his thoughts and intuitions — the deposit, drop by drop, and day by day, of the lifelong soliloquy of his mind. ~Logan Pearsall Smith, A Treasury of English Aphorisms, 1928  [a little altered —tg]

It seems to me that the problem with diaries, and the reason that most of them are so boring, is that every day we vacillate between examining our hangnails and speculating on cosmic order. ~Ann Beattie, Picturing Will, 1989

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train. ~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895

One of the deepest impulses in man is the impulse to record, — to scratch a drawing on a tusk or keep a diary, to collect sagas and heap cairns. This instinct as to the enduring value of the past is, one might say, the very basis of civilization. It is a good sign then when young men keep journals and old gentlemen take to publishing reminiscences. It helps the general atmosphere of thought and enriches everyone a little. ~John Jay Chapman, Memories and Milestones, 1915

I have always liked the notion of keeping a written account of my thoughts and feelings, especially of my feelings, for they are usually all jumbled up in my mind, like ribbons on a remnant counter, but after I have set them down in black and white where I can stand off and look at them they are no more complicated than sardines in a box. Another reason is that in the diaries, correspondence and love-letters of interesting people (great people, I mean) which I have read, I have found there is a sort of interest which is lacking in their stiff-standing-collar and high-heeled-shoes productions. ~Kate Trimble Sharber, At the Age of Eve, 1911

DIARY.  An honest autobiography. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

Journal:  fitting your heart and soul into ruled lines. ~Terri Guillemets, "Inside the lines, outside the box," 1998

CECILY:  I keep a diary in order to enter the wonderful secrets of my life. If I didn't write them down, I should probably forget all about them.
MISS PRISM:  Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary that we all carry about with us.
CECILY:  Yes, but it usually chronicles the things that have never happened...
~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895

To write a diary is to make a series of choices about what to omit, what to forget. ~Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, 2015,

Lists are the butterfly nets that catch my fleeting thoughts... ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, 2009,

When Gavin came to Thrums he was as I am now, for the pages lay before him on which he was to write his life. Yet he was not quite as I am. The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it. ~J. M. Barrie, The Little Minister, 1891

Do you notice that I call it a record, and not a diary? This is because I expect to write in it only occasionally — skim the cream of events, as it were, instead of boring you with the details of the daily milking. ~Kate Trimble Sharber, At the Age of Eve, 1911

A journal is a journey — our own personal passages of self. ~Terri Guillemets, "Voyages," 1993

Happy lovers keep no diary. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

I don't like diaries. I particularly dis like a ruled page for every day — and besides, how can one ever write about a thing till it is finished? An episode never strikes one as an episode till it is over. One sees the whole purport of the things that were said and left unsaid, afterwards... But at the time it is impossible — it would be superhuman — omniscient. ~Jittie Martin Horlick, A String of Beads, 1911

To journal is a present of the past to your future self. ~Terri Guillemets, "Nights not standing," 1996

I wrote so I could say I was truly paying attention. Experience in itself wasn't enough. The diary was my defense against waking up at the end of my life and realizing I'd missed it... I couldn't think of any other way to avoid getting lost in time. ~Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, 2015,

It's funny, writing a diary. We assume that all the experiences are our own. That we're unique, and they're unique to us. But every thought we've ever had, everything we've ever said, every time we've surprised ourselves with a new experience or idea, every memory we've made, every story we've heard or told or been part of… it's already happened before. Somewhere and somehow and sometime, someone has shared our experience without us even knowing. ~Danny Wallace, Yes Man, 2005,

I like to jot down thoughts and ideas as I tread life's garden, for then sometimes when I am weary I can turn a leaf and find what my mood was on a certain day and that changes a train of thought and brings back sunshine. ~Helen Rose Anne Milman Crofton, My Kalendar of Country Delights, 1903

Did you read what this writer dug up in George Washington's diary? I was so ashamed I sat up all night reading it. This should be a lesson to Presidents to either behave themselves or not to keep a diary. ~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

Keep a diary even if you rip it up every night. ~Terri Guillemets, "Meridian ink," 1995  [so that your heart may write to you —tg]

One may become wiser and better by several Methods of employing one's Self in Secrecy and Silence... I would... recommend to every one of my Readers, the keeping of a Journal of their Lives for one Week, and setting down punctually their whole Series of Employments during that Space of Time. The Kind of Self-Examination would give them a true State of themselves, and incline them to consider seriously what they are about. One Day would rectify the Omissions of another, and make a Man weigh all those indifferent Actions, which, though they are easily forgotten, must certainly be accounted for. ~Joseph Addison, 1712

I keep a journal, because as I paint and glue and collect and sift, I hear whether in this moment, I am warrior or care giver. The pages help me clarify whether or not today is a day for No or Yes. ~Betsy Cañas Garmon, 2013,

I'm going to keep this diary anyhow, and just hand it down to my grandchildren... Maybe some rainy day, a hundred years from now, a little girl will find this book in the attic, all covered with dust, and will sit down and read it, while the rain sounds soft and pattery on the outside, and her mother calls and calls without getting an answer. ~Kate Trimble Sharber, The Annals of Ann, 1910

The sky
is that beautiful old parchment
in which the sun
and the moon
keep their diary...
~Alfred Kreymborg

But what did come back to me was an Internet we only see when we look for it. The personal side of the Web. The people's side... There were blogs and diaries and entries in guestbooks and the odd celebrity interview. But the blogs were the most revealing. The innermost thoughts. The diaries tucked away in Tulsa or Peckham or Moscow, by people who have something personal to say and want to say it to an unseen world. A diary to be read by people they'll never meet. A way of being brave, sharing every aspect of their daily lives — the dull, the meaningless, and the meaningful. ~Danny Wallace, Yes Man, 2005,

Sometimes I imagine a get-together where I introduce my family to my blogger friends and my blogger friends introduce my family to me. ~Robert Brault, 2011,

Journal. — Kinda like a blog, but on this thing called paper. ~Terri Guillemets, "Audience of one," 2015

That's the thing with a diary, though. In order to record your life, you sort of need to live it. Not at your desk, but beyond it. Out in the world where it's so beautiful and complex and painful that sometimes you just need to sit down and write about it. ~David Sedaris, Theft by Finding:  Diaries 1977–2002, 2017,

A journal is not nearly so much a book in which you tell what you do as one in which you tell what you would like to do. ~Kate Trimble Sharber, At the Age of Eve, 1911

Cousin Eunice says nearly all famous people keep a diary for folks to read after they're dead. ~Kate Trimble Sharber, The Annals of Ann, 1910

Keep a diary, my dear, and later on, perhaps, the diary will keep you. ~Margot Asquith, 1922  []

Fat later developed a theory that the universe is made out of information. He started keeping a journal — had been, in fact, secretly doing so for some time:  the furtive act of a deranged person. His encounter with God was all there on the pages in his — Fat's, not God's — handwriting. ~Philip K. Dick, VALIS, 1981

Twenty-five years later the practice [of diary writing] is an essential component of my daily hygiene. I'd sooner go unbathed. ~Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, 2015,

These were the archives of the history of his own heart. ~Max Nordau (1849–1923), "The Art of Growing Old," How Women Love and Other Tales (Soul Analysis), translated from the German by an unnamed translator, 1896  [drawers of photos, letters, and other memories —tg]

Time flies... scrapbook it. ~Vivian Perez-Espinosa, owner of Let’s Scrap!, a scrapbooking store in Florida, 2007

A true scrapbook addict is one who stages photographs to match paper she likes. ~Author unknown

Just as pieces of material stitched together in a quilt warm our bodies, scrapbooks bind together memories to warm our hearts. ~Author unknown

Scrapbooking is cheaper than a therapist. ~Author unknown

A scar is a memory from the scrapbook your body is keeping about you. ~Terri Guillemets

Health is a journal your body keeps about you. ~Terri Guillemets

This page is mine. ~Rowland C. Sheldon, 1926

In making out your garden plan this year you will probably find yourself handicapped by the lack of accurate knowledge about your plants of last year — how much of each thing you used, the dates of the last frost in the spring and the first killing frost in autumn, when the various insect pests appeared, when you made your last sowing for winter vegetables, how long after planting it took the different varieties of vegetables to mature, and a score of other things, all of which you have had to guess at with no degree of certainty. Provide now against next spring. Get a cheap diary and leave it in the pocket of your work clothes or hang it up in the tool shed. In it jot down from time to time the things you particularly want to keep track of. ~Frederick Frye Rockwell, Around the Year in the Garden: A Seasonable Guide and Reminder for Work with Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers, and Under Glass, "February: First Week, Make a Plan Now — And Follow It This Summer: Keep a Garden Diary," 1913

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published 2002 Sep 5
revised 2023 Oct 25
last saved 2024 Apr 17