Heidi Julavits and the Democracy of the Diary

It just wasn’t that interesting to read the entries in chronological order, so I started to play around with different ways to arrange them, like dividing them up into categories like “Friends” and “Children” and “Weather” and … I don’t know, “Sweaters.” But all of those categories kept collapsing back into themselves. “Friends” and “Sweaters” belonged together, and so on. Eventually I had one big pile of entries again. The metaphor I’ve been using to describe my eventual assembly process is the “mix tape metaphor.”

— Heidi Julavits kept a meticulous diary as a child. In preparation for a new project, she returned to journaling, only to discover that the journal itself would be her project. LARB interviews Julavits about her book, The Folded Clock, the result of two years’ diary entries, “when my life counted as my job.”

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