Today and tomorrrow, doing research for the novel, I'm going to the Dublin Seminar in Deerfield to hear about old diaries. Sewing diaries. Commonplace books. Slave ship captain logs. A diary written in code by a Maine minister who was trying to develop something he called a "Philosophical Alphabet" to, the abstract says, "be used in creating a writing system for Native American indigenous languages" -- along with his own sixty coded diaries, he also kept word lists in "Penobscot Indian and a dictionary of Hebrew." Spiritual diaries. A midwife's journal. Travel diaries. Soldiers' diaries. Not unlike livejournal, it's dizzying to think about, but will, I hope, give off glints of what some people's lives were actually like.