When we are too tired of keeping updated with the current affairs about coronavirus and the death toll numbers, the Internet whose day is commemorated on October 29th every year offers solace and temporary escape.
So instead of judging how silly our government is at handling the pandemic situation, I try to be more positive by having a good time watching these videos of Joanna Borns (Instagram handle: @jbornz) invading other people’s privacy through their diaries and love letters.
If you’re not familiar with her, she used to work for BuzzFeed. The video above was released in February 2018 when she was working for the news outlet.
I fell in love with her style of privacy invasion. That’s because she got an access to the past through love letters and old diaries sold on eBay. So what she was doing was actually legit. And I appreciate that she never mentioned real names and published diary owners’ real faces. She focuses more on the interactions, the psychological conflicts, the language (outdated slang), and basically how ordinary people in the past lived their everyday lives. This is awesome.
What struck me most is the fact that no matter how boring and monotonous someone’s life seemed to be, their lives could store some surprises and shocking events. No matter how mundane they looked.
One of the diaries was kept by a household mother who raised two children. The day never went by without the records of her kids’ misconduct, acts of rebel, or simply acts of cuteness.
But when things were under control, she sat down to scribble a poem or two in the diary. They could be about her husband, her kids, or her neighborhood. You can take a look at the poems in the video below.
And this diary is one kept by a male college student. He was undergoing a lengthy breakup process with his girlfriend. What was most exciting is that the breakup wasn’t conclusive until the last entry. It’s like reading a novel with an open ending. Neither bad nor good ending offered by the author. Readers are left with a great deal of curiosity as to what would happen at the end.
What I love most is the cursive handwriting these people of the past used. I must confess I am one of very few people in 2020 who still write in cursive because it feels easier and smoother. I wrote in block letters back then at school and college but then I switched to cursive mode ever since because I realize I am a real old soul.
Thanks for the work you do for the old souls like me, Joanna.
(Sealed With A Kiss — Just learned this acronym which was popular back in the 1930s when exchanging love letters was so cool)
UPDATE: MAY 8th, 2022
YouTube notified me that Joanna just released a new video after a hiatus. Can’t miss it!
Here she dissects a girl’s diary written in 1908, more than a century ago.