As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “He that writes to himself writes to an eternal public.” At the time I bought the old diary, I had no idea it would inspire me to write a book and share its secrets.
For over 40 years, my passion for antiques has driven me to search and collect treasures from the past. Addicted to old paper, letters, books and artwork, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, researching each item and finding them a home.
When I discovered the diary, I was aware of buying someoneâ€™s secrets and pondered if I had the right to read it. However, I found the intriguing inscription irresistible and eagerly read every page: “In this book are recorded my evil deeds, but only for one year. C.S. Brown, 1899, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine.”
The tantalizing journal, written over 100 years ago, was a challenge to decipher, as every page was filled with cryptic fountain pen script, jerky slashes and dramatic squiggles. I wondered if the author ever considered the possibility someone might read his personal thoughts; how many people would hold the diary over the years and if anyone would take time to read it.
Charles Stanley Brownâ€™s unforgettable journal is filled with academic struggle, college mischief and the pursuit of love. A junior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Charles hopes to write a best-selling novel, graduate from Harvard and find a wife.
A highly intellectual, dramatic and emotional poet, Charles falls in love frequently and reveals his pain.
He boasts of being intellectually superior, but admits he is cynical, humorless and egotistical.
“Charlesâ€™ Tell-Tale Diary of 1899” was published just in time to celebrate my 70th birthday. Discover how a diary from Maine ended up at a swap meet in Packwood, Wash.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jan Rich, who
also wrote this article, lives in Lakewood with her husband, David, a retired high school principal. Her work experience includes four years as a legal assistant, 16 years in healthcare and eight years in telecommunications. She enjoys writing (her short stories and articles have been published in newsletters, newspapers and magazines in the Pacific Northwest), photography and genealogy. She is active at Lakewood Community Center, where she participates in aerobics and a writing class. “Charles’ Tell-Tale Diary of 1899” is available on Amazon.