Time Machine to the Recent Past
An art assignment
I’ve been keeping a 5 year diary since January 1, 2018. It was a gift from my sister-in-law, Maile. Each page is a day of the year with enough space to write a few sentences each year for five years. I think there are lots of them out there but mine was designed by Tamara Shopsin.
The pandemic began nearly halfway through my 5 year diary so there is a real before times / after times vibe to much of it. I’m glad I documented daily the panic and chaos of 2020. It’s easy to forget how deeply and abruptly our lived were upended, but it’s all in this little book for me to revisit whenever I want to. (I generally don’t. But still.) I’m also glad I documented this big piece of my kids’ childhood. I’m evangelical about keeping a 5 year diary now (even though I’m currently a month behind on my own). I think we all should do it. I buy them for everyone I love. Sometimes twice because my memory is kind of shot.
Slowpoke is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Last year I started illustrating excerpts from this diary and posting them on instagram at @carsons5yeardiary. I think it may be a little confusing. I’m not illustrating them in real time; I’m illustrating them a couple of years later. People see the diary entries and understandably assume these are things that just happened. But no matter! It’s an ongoing project - one I haven’t worked on in a while but one I will, like so many other ongoing projects, eventually probably return to and slowly plug away at forever.
Here’s an art assignment for those of you who keep - or have at any point kept - a diary or journal:
Find an entry that you like - one that inspires illustration - and illustrate it. If you’d like to share your art, post it on Instagram and tag it #slowpokeillustrateddiary.
I look forward to seeing what you choose to share from this literary form that is, by its nature, super private and not meant for sharing. That’s been an interesting exercise for me - figuring out where my own boundaries lie. I was surprised to discover that, when I don’t think anyone is listening, I’m pretty emo. Go forth!
Et cetera, et cetera. You can see them all here.