2003-01-29 - 7:42 p.m.
"Why do YOU need a diary?" a friend asked the other day. Well, I'm not sure that I do need one. But I've always been fascinated by handmade books and the concept of writing that was somehow secret -- not meant for the marketplace or indeed for anyone except the writer. What's strange about it is that I have seen very few handmade books in my lifetime, and I have collected all sorts of information about creating handmade books but have never actually started one. I will start one soon (I think!) but it will not be anything mysterious like a portal into another plane of being or realm of fantasy or what have you. It will quite likely be a vacation/photo record of interest only to myself and perhaps my immediate circle, should I choose to subject my immediate circle to such a thing.
The example of hypergraphia I'm most familiar with is the Exegesis by Philip K. Dick, the 2 million words of speculation never intended for publication that he wrote for himself after the events of February/March 1974. After his death, Lawrence Sutin, his biographer, edited this mound of paperwork to produce In Pursuit of Valis: Selections from the Exegesis. I've also read most of Dick's prolific fiction output. BF once compared the human mind to the frog's eye -- just as a frog cannot see stillness, we as humans cannot see randomness. So when the truly bizarre occurs, the human mind struggles for an explanation. Dick avoids the error of falling in love with an explanation for what has happened to him, so he doesn't make the mistake of thinking he has ever discovered the answer. But since he doesn't have the answer, he can never stop pondering the mysteries either. Perhaps being able to seize on an answer, however false, is a survival skill.
"On the 27 December 1918, Arthur Crew Inman, a young Bostonian with literary aspirations, began to keep a diary. It was not the first time he had promised to keep one, but this time he was as good as his word. Over the next 45 years, Inman produced over 155 volumes, over 17 million words of progressively more illegible testimony to his bizarre life and character."
17 million words! This diary writing may become a bit addictive at times, but somehow I doubt that my case will progress that far.
All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2002-2017 by Elaine Radford