Beginning in 1808, a young man begins keeping a secret, ciphered journal of his life with terse detail of his days. Astronomical observations, interpersonal relationships (to put it mildly), weather notes, and the minutiae of a planter's life in 19th Century North Carolina were collected into these volumes that were nearly lost, decoded in 1979 and mostly forgotten again. The Coded Life of William Thomas Prestwood.
Recumbent cyclist David Cambon shares with us a breathtaking, scary and wry photo diary of his 3224 km (~2000 mile) bike trip from Vancouver, BC to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, with portions along the famous Dempster Highway. [more inside]
YOB: George Orwell's Blog, brought to you by The Orwell Prize.
"August 9, 1938: Caught a large snake in the herbaceous border beside the drive..." [more inside]
Alex Ramsey's journal gives an account of his journey westward to join the 1849 Gold Rush, a laborious trek of no more than twenty-five miles a day which ended in illness and disappointment. "I am now convinced that I done very wrong in coming here with the hope of bettering my pecuniary condition alone and I now declare and humbly ask God to enable me to perform my promise that if I am again permitted to return to a land of peace and quietude, that I will strive to be content." From the Wyoming State Archives' Document Photo Gallery.
17 Million Words / 155 Volumes / One bedridden hypochondriac (?) : Arthur Crew Inman wrote one of the strangest diaries of the 20th century. Listen to his voice (WMA), or see an excerpt from the documentary being made about him (WMV) by the man who wrote a play based on his life.
To live in a pristine land ... to roam the wilderness ... to choose a site, cut trees, and build a home ... Thousands have had such dreams, but Richard Proenneke lived them. In 1968, at 51 years of age, Richard Proenneke retired to Upper Twin Lakes, Alaska and using nothing but hand tools, built a cabin where he lived for the next 30 or so years. He filmed the cabin's construction (as well as much of nature's wonder) and kept meticulous notes on the back of wall calendars. In 1973, Sam_Keith produced a book (One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey) based on Proenneke's journal entries and photography. In 1999, at the age of 82, Proenneke could no longer endure the harsh winters of Alaska and moved to California to be with his family. He died there on Easter Sunday, 2003.
Bob Graham, Florida senator and Democratic presidential aspirant, burned 246 calories on his exercise bike on Feb. 7, 1999. Good thing, because he weighed in that morning at 187, up one pound from the previous day. How do we know this? Because over the past 26 years, Graham has filled box after box with journals capturing an incredible, some say obsessive, level of detail about his daily life. Quirky, sure; parody friendly, no doubt; but will the GOP be successful in using it to paint him as crazy? (Salon daypass req. for last link)
"You were not responsive, lying on a bed of sheets covered with blood." A young woman crashes her car, is airlifted to the hospital, and goes on life support. Her parents continue her 10-year-old diary during her stay in intensive care. Years later it's all posted to the web.