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FAQ: Why are you doing the Diary Project?

by Jennifer Heller on September 3, 2010

Well, you know, I don’t really know. Or maybe I do.

Each year I have an annual festival of my birth (Jenfest) and last year (2009), the theme was an Anti-Roast (because my boyfriend was NOT cool with having people roast me 🙂 ). I didn’t know what an Anti-Roast was or what it was going to look like. I thought that maybe people could make fun of me, but it was in a large venue and I knew most people wouldn’t participate.

One day I thought, let’s read from my journals. I don’t remember how the thought came about, but it perfectly fit the theme.  Instead of people roasting me, I was going to roast myself by allowing people to read from them and completely humiliate me! And, I knew, it would be hilarious!

I had some friends go through my journals with me to find the good parts, which we marked (I wound up photocopying them to ensure that my journals wouldn’t get stolen…it’s sad, but sometimes you just don’t trust people. They’re assholes sometimes). While we were going through them, they were reading lines aloud and laughing uproariously. It was REALLY hard to stomach. Friends laughing over my lack of boobs over the years! Over my obsession with my handwriting!  I couldn’t believe I’d thought of this, and it was too late to turn back.  But after awhile of listening to them talk about it, I really just was like, this is so real, it’s so raw. And funny. Very funny. I think ultimately the web version isn’t as funny; it’s more monotonous and slow-moving — like a soap opera.  But that’s what brings the reality, I think.  You gotta earn the good parts–ha!

But back to why; one of my missions is to bring more joy and hilarity (and beauty!) to the internet, so it was kind of a natural decision to release them. My boyfriend wasn’t too cool with it, but I convinced him that the person I was 18 years ago isn’t the me now. Rather, it’s this hilarious version of me that was boy crazy and ridiculous. I love it. He came around, though now that I write out the argument I realize that I must have been more convincing in person.

We’re only three and a half months in, and I have 13 journals total that believe they span 5th through 12th grade!  This project is kinda like a pet–a LOT of commitment. I do get some vacations; for instance, right now, I have a four month window where 6th grade Jen didn’t write at all–despite starting Middle School on Monday!

So what about you?  Will you share a diary or journal entry with the followers of the Diary Project during this four month window?  We’d love it if you would!

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