In Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, writer Sarah Manguso meditates on her decades-long obsession with keeping a minutiae-filled diary of her daily life, a practice she has decided is a vice. She discusses being the envy of others who covet her dedication and focus on the project, how her memory of actual events has been effected by the way she records her life, and how the act of journaling affects her choices about love, motherhood, and work, and not always for the better. An austere and powerful book, Ongoingness is full of white space, which encourages the reader to ponder over our own ways we remember and record life:
It was a failure of my of my imagination that made me keep leaving people. All I could see in the world were beginnings and endings: moments to survive, record, and once recored, safely forget.
I knew I was getting somewhere when I began losing interest in the beginnings and the ends of things.
Short tragic love stories that had once interested me no longer did.
What interested me was the kind of love to which the person dedicates herself for so long, she no longer remembers quite how it began.