“Ongoingness” Is an Investigation Into the Art of Diary-Keeping

“Ongoingness” Is an Investigation Into the Art of Diary-Keeping

Too often, we look back at the past and beat ourselves up over events that can no longer be changed, but in Sarah Manguso’s memoir Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, she learns how to stay in the present instead of fretting about situations that have already occurred.

Ongoingness revolves around Manguso going back and re-reading a diary that she had kept for 25 years after she had recently become pregnant and given birth to a child. Before becoming a mother, she was obsessive about keeping a journal to make sure she didn’t forget the events that had happened to her over the years. However, after the birth of her child, Manguso realizes that our memories and their impact appear to us differently after we’ve hit a different period in our lives. Memories that once seemed so traumatic now appear insignificant in hindsight, and the author learns the value of living in the present and keeping yourself focused on the here and now.

With engaging prose, Manguso manages to capture just how fickle the nature of time can be and points out that, despite our best efforts at capturing them for posterity, the very nature of our memories are malleable and it is far better to live in the present rather then stress over the past.

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